New York – A high-ranking Israel Defense Forces (IDF) officer has disclosed that the Israeli government has tied the IDFs hands and is preventing military operations that could stop Hizballah from rearming and gaining strength ahead of a possible new round of violence this summer. The officer said that, This is not up to the IDF … The government is responsible for making these decisions, and for now they are holding us back. He explained that, despite the fact that Hizballah is known to be receiving almost daily arms shipments from Syria, the Israeli Cabinet has decided the military should refrain from initiating operations to thwart the smuggling. The IDF also believes that Hizballah has now restored its strength to the same level it had before last years Lebanon war (Jerusalem Post, January 21).
Also, the Director of IDF Strategic Planning, Brig.-Gen. Udi Dekel, has said that Hizballah was busy rearming and receiving nonstop weapons shipments from Syria. This was the first time a high-ranking IDF officer has publicly confirmed that Damascus is shipping weapons to Hizballah. Addressing the Herzaliya Conference, Dekel warned that the Middle East is becoming increasingly unstable and that Iranian involvement in almost every conflict in the region is intensifying. According to Dekel — the highest ranking officer to appear at the conference — the terrorist group Hamas is also smuggling weapons into the Gaza Strip from Egypt, across the Philadelphi Corridor along the Egypt-Gaza border. Dekel said the cabinet and the IDF faced the constant dilemma of whether to act to thwart the terror buildup in Gaza and Lebanon or to prepare for a new war instead. He said the IDF planned to use 2007 to get ready for possible additional conflicts (Jerusalem Post, January 21).