Hizbullah’s motivation to act is not high these days, senior IDF Northern Command officers told Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi during their routine tour of army bases in the area on Tuesday.
The PM’s Office stressed that the visit had nothing to do with any developments along the northern front, this in order to make certain that it would not lead to any misunderstandings with the Syrians or prompt a military confrontation in the region.
To this end, following their visit to the North, Olmert and Barak issued a reassuring statement saying there was no change in the military deployment on the Syrian side and that Israel had no intention of striking.
Israel would continue to send reassuring messages to Damascus to prevent a “miscalculation”, they said.
The Northern Command officers told Olmert, Barak and Ashkenazi that the Syrian deployment is defensive in nature, apparently for fear of a possible Israeli attack, but added that the IDF is preparing for any scenario.
'Smuggling of arms from Syria continues'As for Hizbullah, the officers said Hizbullah has been limited in its movement after it was forced to retreat north of the Litani River in the Second Lebanon War.
“There were achievements during the war; Hizbullah’s ability to act south of the Litani was hindered, and its gunmen are not allowed to carry arms in that region,” a senior intelligence officer said.
“However, the smuggling of arms from Syria to Hizbullah gunmen in Lebanon is continuing; this includes the transfer of weapons similar to those used by Hizbullah during the war in addition to more advanced apparatus – but Hizbullah’s motivation to act is not at its peak right now.”
The Northern Command officers praised UNIFIL for its implementation of UN Resolution 1701 in south Lebanon, which brought an end to last summer’s conflict.
Olmert said during the tour that “Israel is not interested in a war with Syria, but the IDF is prepared for any scenario. We must stress that we do not want this preparedness to be misconstrued by the other side.”