Ze’ev Schiff—left-of-center, not a hawk, and considered by many to be Israel’s foremost military analyst—cites security sources as saying those Qassams that Islamic Jihad has been raining on Gaza-bordering communities during the “ceasefire” with Hamas are in fact supplied by Hamas.
Hamas, the sources said, while “maintaining a front of abiding by the ceasefire,” is actually “emerging as the lynchpin of Palestinian terrorist activities against Israel.” That is believed to include providing Islamic Jihad with Russian-made 16-kilometer-range Grad rockets, already used last year to target the town of Ashkelon with its strategic facilities.
An analysis last month already warned that Hamas is “improving its rocket capabilities” while “seeking to build anti-tank and anti-aircraft systems that will neutralize Israel’s current ability to easily penetrate Gaza.”
The deteriorating situation in the south led Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Tzvika Fogel, formerly chief of staff for Southern Command, to warn on Israel’s Channel 10 that Israel faces two choices: to “continue its ostrich-like stance” until the Gaza terror forces mount a surprise attack, or to launch a full-scale preemptive attack of its own.
Meanwhile, shifting the lens to the north, last week the head of Israeli Military Intelligence, Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin, reported to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Syria is “purchasing massive amounts of ground-to-ground and anti-tank missiles from Russia”—a country whose name tends to turn up in these contexts—and that, while “there is a low probability that Syria will initiate a war against Israel,” Syria could launch attacks in the Golan Heights even though it could lead to war.
Another report gave an even more ominous picture of an “unprecedented military buildup in Syria,” including the deployment of 300 home-manufactured Scud missiles just north of the Golan Heights, the establishment of new commando units, and a spike in training for urban and guerrilla warfare.