- Israel believes that Syrian President Bashar Assad has
been ignoring Jerusalem's warnings concerning the ongoing activities of
Hezbollah on the northern border.
- Well-informed sources claim that Assad - who, they say,
is also disregarding U.S. warnings on the matter - seems to have changed
his attitude toward Hezbollah's operations against Israel, presumably on
the assumption that Israel is not interested in opening a second front
along the northern border, and is in no hurry to intervene in the activities
of the Shi'ite Muslim organization in Lebanon.
- The assessments of the Israeli sources are based on recently-accumulated
information and are causing concern with regard to a possible escalation
on the Israel-Lebanon border.
- Following the events of September 11, Israel confirmed
that Assad was taking steps to rein in Hezbollah in an effort to ward off
U.S. action against Syria in the framework of the war against terror. Recently,
sources in the know said Assad had taken action to put an end to arms shipments
from Tehran to Lebanon, via Damascus, and that Hezbollah had taken to using
- The sources say Hezbollah wants to drag Israel into a
confrontation along the northern border and that the organization intends
to respond harshly in the event that Israel carries out strikes against
Syrian or Lebanese targets.
- Amos Harel adds: At this stage, all the Israel Defense
Forces reserve units that have been called up recently have been slated
for operations in the territories. The IDF is, however, readying for the
possibility of a flare-up along the northern border.
- Senior reserve officers were called in yesterday to the
Northern Command to discuss and make preparations for a scenario in which
Hezbollah would try to cause a deterioration in the situation along the
border with Lebanon. The command is preparing for a massive Hezbollah attack
on Israel within the next day or two.
- "Israel is close to the moment at which it will
say `enough is enough' with regard to the north," a security source
said yesterday. "We are very concerned about the preparations being
made there in anticipation of attacks against us. Syria is chiefly responsible
for this and Israel is likely to respond with a strong strike against Syrian
interests in Lebanon if it is attacked again."