Information released this week and comments made by Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu during an address to the Israeli public on Sunday shed new light on the mini-war between the Palestinian terror groups in Gaza and the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) at the beginning of last week and the Israeli decision not to launch a ground offensive.
Netanyahu said during his address to the nation, which was meant to save his coalition after Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman resigned, that as leader of Israel he sometimes had “to hide crucial considerations that must be concealed from the enemy” and hinted that there were plans for a military operation in the future.
"I can not elaborate on our plans for the future but we will determine the right conditions and the right times for the State of Israel, those which are optimal for the security of our citizens,” the Israeli PM earlier told participants in a state memorial service commemorating the 45th anniversary of the passing away of former Israeli PM David Ben Gurion.
Some understood this as a hint to a future ground operation against the terror organizations in Gaza after Netanyahu decided to enter into a ceasefire with them on Tuesday last week.
However, from a briefing to the Knesset Committee for Foreign Affairs and Defense last Monday it became clear Netanyahu’s statement was related to Iran’s continuing preparations for a three-front war with Israel.
The three fronts are Syria, where the IDF has succeeded in preventing Iran from establishing a foothold on the Syrian Golan Heights according to Gaby Eisenkot the Chief of Staff of the IDF, Lebanon and Gaza.
Netanyahu said during the Knesset briefing that Israeli “spy-planes continue to fly and collect information” on the movements of Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria and the Iranian military build-up in Syria.
The Israeli PM and new Defense Minister also revealed he had tried to enlist Russian President Vladimir Putin for the effort to drive Iran out of Syria but acknowledged that this effort would require the help of a third country.
His remarks immediately led to speculation Israel could be this third country.
During his address to the Israeli nation Netanyahu hinted at a very large military operation which would demand “sacrifice”.
The Israeli military and government are very concerned about Iran’s activities in Lebanon where it is helping Hezbollah with converting crude rockets into guided missiles which can reach all of Israel and about the continuing Iranian entrenchment in Syria.
The Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has founded the so-called Golan Liberation Brigade a 80,000 men strong umbrella organization of Shiite militias which fought in Iraq and Syria and which is commanded by Qassem Soleimani the shrewd commander of the Quds Force.
Until recently the Israeli air force (IAF) used to frustrate the Iranian military build-up in Syria by carrying out airstrikes on weapon convoys and military facilities but the delivery of the Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missile shield has limited the operational capabilities of the IAF.
The Iranian-led pro-Assad coalition is currently setting its sights on the Israeli Golan Heights and last week threatened Israel with war over what it calls the ‘illegal Zionist occupation’ of the mountainous plateau.
During a meeting of the fourth committee of the General Assembly of the United Nations Dr Bashar al-Jaafari the Syrian ambassador to the UN said “we will reclaim Golan by peace or by war.”
Al-Jaafari’s statement indicated that Syria and Iran are looking for a casus belli to start the anticipated three-front-war against Israel after the Iranians most likely tested the Israeli military via the mini-missile-war last week in Gaza.
The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center in Israel revealed on Monday that Iran –via Hezbollah - had delivered the Kornet missile which was used to open the offensive against Israel by the Palestinian terror groups on Monday last week.
The anti-tank missile destroyed a bus which had just transferred and unloaded a group of 50 IDF soldiers to the border with Gaza an action which was filmed by Hamas and which was clearly taken out of Hezbollah’s playbook for wars.
Shortly after the Kornet missile was launched Hamas and Islamic Jihad started to pound southern Israel with roughly 460 rockets while the IAF destroyed 150 terror-related targets in Gaza in response.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah openly admitted his organization had supplied the Palestinian terror groups in Gaza with the Kornet missile, according to the Meir Amit Center.
Islamic Jihad, furthermore, reported it had used a new missile with a large warhead to destroy a complete building in the coastal city of Ashkelon in southern Israel.
The short-range missile was a copy of the Iranian Falaq-2 rocket and was assembled in Gaza. The missile onslaught in southern Israel was furthermore conducted in waves an indication the Iranian-backed terrorgroups in Gaza wanted to test the limitations of the Iron Dome anti-missile shield of the IDF.
All this shows that the actions of Hamas and Islamic Jihad last week bore the hallmarks of a Hezbollah operation and that the Palestinian terror groups in the Gaza Strip acted on orders from Iran.
Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar has been very open about who is calling the shots in Gaza.
During an interview with al-Mayadeen TV in Lebanon on May 21, 2018 Sinwar said Hamas and Hezbollah are working in tandem in the war against Israel “almost on a daily basis” and claimed the relationship between the two terror groups is “excellent and evolving” while he also said they are conducting joint operations.
The Hamas leader boasted about the “strong powerful and warm ties” with Soleimani and said Iran had provided the Islamist Sunni terror group with “large amounts of cash, ‘equipment’ and expertise.”
Sinwar told the Lebanese TV station that Hamas had “greatly developed its capabilities” thanks to friends, “first and foremost the Islamic Republic of Iran” and said that with Allah’s help “the resisters will stand on a united front”.
His remarks led to an IDF statement that read “Hamas is Iran, Iran is Hamas”.
This week the radical Hamas leader intended to pay a visit to Tehran but he was barred from flying to Iran by the Egyptian authorities.
PHOTO: Iran's President Hassan Rouhani addresses the 72nd session of United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters. (Amir Levy/Flash90)