Syria is preparing for full-scale war with the Jewish state and is setting the stage to justify such a conflagration, Israeli officials warned in meetings with visiting US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates last week.
Jerusalem admitted that no tangible evidence exists regarding Syrian intentions to attack Israel, but officials pointed to intelligence pouring in in recent months suggesting that Damascus may try to create a provocation leading to a military confrontation.
Israeli defense officials believe that Damascus will increase its active support of Hizballah and Islamic Jihad terrorist operations in order to elicit an Israeli military response against Syria, reported Ha'aretz.
A similar scenario played out in 2003, when Israel Air Force jets bombed an Islamic Jihad training camp outside Damascus after the group carried out a suicide bombing at a popular family restaurant in the port city of Haifa, killing 19 people and wounding another 56.
Were Israel to respond in like fashion today, it is believed Syria would retaliate with missile and artillery attacks.
Israeli reserve soldiers say they are being called up for several days of extra training on the Golan Heights for the possibility of war with Syria as early as this summer.