Syria is slowly but surely lowering its readiness for war after a military beef up along the border with Israel, head of Military Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin told the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday.
Yadlin, however, painted a dim picture of the situation in Lebanon, telling committee members that Syria and Iran continue to rearm Hizbullah and that the United Nations peacekeeping force is doing nothing to disarm the guerilla group.
Knesset Member Yossi Beilin (Meretz) said as he left the meeting that "if the prime minister listened to what we heard today, he should know that it would be national lawlessness not to quickly launch a dialogue with Syria in a bid to reach peace."
According to Beilin, "I believe Syria is very serious regarding negotiations and it's not serious not to open negotiations with them."
His remarks contradicted an assessment by Mossad Chief Meir Dagan who rejected Assad's declarations as attempts to gain international legitimacy.
Yadlin said however that the Shiite group is preoccupied with internal politics and war with Israel is not its priority.
"Hizbullah is rehabilitating the tens of thousands of Shiites and focusing on the political struggle for the Lebanese presidency. However, we need to be wary, because there will be a second round but it is not clear when," committee member and Likud MK Silvan Shalom said.
MK Eitam: Syria deeply committed to axis of evil
Likud MK Yuval Steinitz told committee members: "My impression … is that the clouds are black and are assembling above the Middle East and Israel. Hizbullah is gaining strength in the north and in the south Hamas is becoming stronger with clear Egyptian assistance and to the east we have Iran."
MK Zvi Hendel (National Union-National Religious Party) said as he left the meeting that "the agreements the government reached with Lebanon and the multinational force are absolutely nothing. If it wasn’t so sad it would be funny that Hizbullah continues to arm itself."
Referring to Hamas, Hendel said that "Hamas and Haniyeh feel that they have won. The ceasefire and the weakness in Sderot are a victory for them."
MK Effie Eitam (National Union-National Religious Party) said that "it is clear Syria is deeply committed to the axis of evil, to Iran, to arming Hizbullah in Lebanon and to the attempts to bring down Siniora."
Eitam added, "I understood that the Syrian president would be very happy if a process would take place to free him of the international isolation. I have no doubt that the voices Assad is making are aimed at serving Syria. I was not convinced that he wants real peace."