Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Thursday ordered IDF forces on the northern border to prepare for a possible escalation following Israel’s rejection of the amendments the Lebanese government is demanding to the US-proposed maritime agreement with Israel.
In the wake of Israel’s announcement, Gantz held a situational assessment with IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi and other senior defense officials.
Mossad head Dovid Barnea warned the cabinet on Thursday that Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah may attack Israel if a deal isn’t reached.
“Nasrallah has publicly vowed to prevent Israel from producing gas at Karish if there is no deal,” he said. “There’s a chance that he will have to display that he’s fulfilling his promise and carry out even a symbolic action.”
However, according to former National Security Council head Brig. Gen. (res) Yaakov Nagel, Nasrallah is not eager to start up with Israel.
“In contrast to Nassrallah’s boasting, a conflict is the last thing he wants,” Nagel told Yisrael Hayom. “He is very interested in a deal that he’ll take the credit for, but not in military conflicts with Israel at this stage.”
Former U.S. assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker said in a recent interview that chances of conflict between Israel and Hezbollah “remain very high” even if a maritime deal is reached.
He added that Hezbollah is entrenching itself along the UN-observed Blue Line demarcation line between Israel and Lebanon.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)