IDF Military Intelligence chief, Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin briefed the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Sunday ahead of the upcoming inspection of Syria's nuclear facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Yadlin also discussed the recently renewed indirect peace negotiations between Israel and Syria as well as other political and defense-related developments in the region.
Speaking of the IAEA inspection, Yadlin told the committee that the Syrians were concerned about the inspection and were trying to conceal their actions by prohibiting foreign correspondents to enter the country until the inspection is over.
The UN nuclear watchdog agency inspectors arrived in Damascus on Sunday to conduct a fact-finding mission following allegations of covert nuclear activities on Syrian soil.
Yadlin said he believed that Syrian President Bashar Assad was "in a win-win situation" in regards to the peace talks with Jerusalem.
"Alleviating the tensions (between Israel and Syria) and creating a far calmer atmosphere allows him to, on the one hand, keep building up his military and make it through the summer in peace – all while on the other hand the world looks upon him favorably, even when he doesn't have to give anything in return," said Yadlin.
'Cooler summer than we thought'
"Just a few months ago the Arab states believed the summer of 2008 would be 'hot,' that Israel would carry out aggressive military operations, and so they took measures to prevent the creation of an environment that would be sympathetic to such operations," said Yadlin as he outlined recent regional developments he believes are indicative that Arab nations are attempting to diffuse tensions.
While noting the situation in the Mideast remains volatile, Yadlin extolled an optimistic analysis of what recent developments boded for the months to come
However, he said, the recent ceasefire agreement with Hamas would not result in a change of the Islamist group's policies. “Hamas has not abandoned the path of terror and views it as a legitimate means of struggle, though it has suspended the use of terror attacks for the duration of the truce."
Hamas’ main goals, he said, were breaking the economic blockade on the Gaza Strip and opening the Rafah border crossing into Egypt. “Hamas will continue to build up its military strength and smuggle weapons into Gaza," said Yadlin.