The IDF is keeping a watchful eye on Iranian attempts to manufacture precise weaponry in Lebanon and Syria, Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Wednesday.
Eisenkot said that Iranian capabilities were so far limited and that IDF was employing a “number of measures” to keep abreast of developments and avoid a deterioration in the security situation. Eisenkot told the Committee that rolling back Iran’s influence in the Middle East was no less a challenge than defeating the Islamic State.
Israel was reported at the end of June to have sent messages to Iran via European diplomats that it would not tolerate Iran setting up weapons factories to manufacture arms for Hezbollah. Maj. Gen Herzi Halevi said at the Herzliya Conference earlier in June that Hezbollah was setting up military industries on Lebanese soil with Iranian know-how.
Eisenkot added that 11 years on from the Second Lebanon War, the IDF’s capabilities have improved exponentially, including in the field of intelligence, both in terms of quality and quantity. The Chief of Staff added that Hezbollah routinely violates United Nations Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 conflict.
Despite that, Eisenkot said he does not believe Hezbollah or any other of Israel’s enemies are planning to launch an attack at the moment. However he added the “war between wars” was continuing all the time and had the potential to deteriorate as a result of what he called a tactical event on any front.
With regard to the southern front against Gaza, Eisenkot said that Hamas finds itself in a bind of being a terror organization and a ruling party, and between the desire to receive support from Iran balanced against the need for good relations with Egypt. Referring to the Gaza electricity crisis, Eisenkot said a positive dynamic in the Strip would be an Israeli interest, but he added that Israel must not pay for damages resulting from internal Palestinian disputes while Hamas continues to invest money in its terror infrastructure.
He added that as a result of successful risk management on Israel’s part, Hamas had taken responsibility and found the resources needed to pay for electricity.