(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said Tuesday that there appeared to be a lull in the recent wave of terror attacks in the West Bank and Jerusalem, but added that it was far from certain that the calm would continue.
"There is pressure from outside Islamist groups, particularly Hamas, to inflame the region,and we are working to thwart terror cells directed from Turkey and Gaza," Ya'alon told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. "The wave of lone wolf terror attacks has also settled down, but we are not certain if this is truly the case," he added.
The defense minister cautioned that the security threats and challenges posed to Israel by its enemies remain in full force despite the coalition falling apart and the Knesset voting to dissolve itself on Monday.
Ya'alon warned that, despite ongoing negotiations with the West, Iran was still striving to gain nuclear weapons capability.
"Iran is also continuing to support terror and to arm our enemies - both Hezbollah and terror groups in Gaza. The Middle East has not stabilized and, in fact, suffers from chronic instability," Ya'alon said. He warned that the threat of Hezbollah, which is currently deterred from attacking Israel, but still heavily armed, must not be forgotten.
Possibly hinting that Israel was indeed behind Sunday's airstrikes in Syria
attributed to the Jewish state in the foreign media, Ya'alon told the committee: "We have set red lines before the various actors in Syria."
He said that Israel should not take for granted that the current quiet on the border with Syria in the Golan Heights or at the Egyptian border would continue.
"The Egyptian army is operating against terrorists, including Islamic State, and we have occasionally suffered terror attacks coming from there. There as well, we are not relaxing our preparedness because a terror attack can still come from there," he said.
Committee chairman Ze'ev Elkin (Likud) said that despite the Knesset's dispersal for new elections, the FADC would continue its work. He expressed concern that the IDF had not received funds to cover the costs of Operation Protective Edge and the costs of rearming.