by Israel Hayom Staff
Military Intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Herzl Halevi says Iranian operations in Syria are sabotaging Syrian interests, while in Lebanon, Hezbollah is continuing to acquire weapons with Iran's help
Military Intelligence Director Maj. Gen. Herzl HaleviPhoto: Dudi Vaaknin
The 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers has rendered Iran stronger and more brazen, Military Intelligence Director Maj. Gen. Herzl Halevi warned Sunday.
Iran is "growing bolder in its missile [development] and the support it gives terrorism in our region," Halevi told a conference in Tel Aviv.
He said that effecting change would require action, not just dialogue, and that the current momentum from U.S. moves to revise the nuclear agreement "poses the best chance for actual change."
Halevi said the objective of the nuclear agreement – to get Iran to change its conduct – cannot be achieved only by way of negotiations, and "only an economic, political, or some other kind of crisis" will lead to change.
"The more the world can project a united front, the greater the chance of a change," he said.
Commenting on the possibility of a security escalation on Israel's northern border, Halevi said, "With Iran's assistance, Hezbollah continues to acquire strategic weapons. The key to avoiding war in Lebanon is in the hands of the Lebanese government. The Lebanese leadership claims it is defending Lebanon from Israeli aggression, but Israel has no intention of attacking Lebanon.
"The differences between us are small and they can be bridged. Lebanon must prioritize its economy, which is one of the largest in the region, and not the interests of Iran and Hezbollah."
On the Iranian presence in Syria, Halevi said Iran is "exploiting Syria to target Israel, in stark contrast to Syrian interests."
He continued, "Not everyone recognizes Iran's clandestine plans for Middle East dominance. We share intelligence to inform people.
"Not everyone who knows has internalized what it means and not everyone who has internalized it has taken action. Israel has warned against it and is taking actions. Our neighbors understand this well."
As for tensions with the Palestinians, he warned of a likely "volatile" month ahead.
"The Palestinian public is frustrated and there's a sense that they have lost their way," he said.
"This period will obligate us to engage in even more determined counterterrorism efforts, and we will have to work closely with the Palestinian security forces to preserve the relationship for the day after Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, now 83].
He said Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, "has been struggling for years. It is in distress, it is flustered, it is facing a severe civilian and infrastructure crisis in Gaza, and recruitment is low. This has prompted Hamas to seek Iran's assistance, and it is exploiting Gazans, sending them to the border fence to clash with Israeli troops."
Israel "will not allow any violation of its sovereignty," he stressed.
Israel Hayom Staff
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