Amos Yadlin 224.88.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Yadlin said that Israeli military deterrence against Syria and Iran has returned to the level that it was at before the Second Lebanon War, and is now having a major impact on the region, Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin, head of Military Intelligence, told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Sunday.
"[Israeli deterrence] is having an effect on the whole region, including on Iran and Syria," Yadlin said during his intelligence briefing to the committee.
Yadlin devoted much of his briefing to the topic of Iran, saying that senior Iranian officials are for the first time hinting about the strategic and military nature of their nuclear program. Further, Yadlin said that officials in Teheran have already started considering themselves part of the world's list of nuclear nations, adding that they think "they belong to the club."
"The Iranians are giving multiple messages to the world," the general continued. "One, that we've crossed the point of no return - we are already in the club of those who know how to produce nuclear power. Two, the sanctions will not help to stop that, and we are continuing. Three, the price of a confrontation with us will be too great."
According to Yadlin, the Iranians are unhappy with the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) monitoring their nuclear program, and are hoping to have the monitoring process returned to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
"The Iranians want their case returned to the IAEA, because if that happens, the Iranians will be able to control the time schedule," Yadlin said. "They will be able to provide only partial answers, and to delay the process."
Commenting on the affect that the UNSC sanctions are having on Iran, Yadlin said that they are not having much of an impact. Further, Yadlin said that the Iranian people still stand behind their country's nuclear program. He added, however, that Iranians are critical about one thing: "The economic policies of [Iranian President] Ahmadinejad."
Later during his briefing, Yadlin said that Hamas is planning a major terror attack in Israel in an attempt to derail the Mideast summit which is set to take place in Washington in November.
The MI chief also predicted that the Islamic group is capable of taking control of the West Bank, but has so far failed to do so due to Israel's military presence in the area.
During his assessment on the state of Palestinian affairs, Yadlin added that he does not believe Fatah will regain control of the Gaza Strip. Further, the general said that while the economic sanctions imposed on Gaza are having an effect on Hamas, the organization is still managing to stay afloat with the help of a constant influx of money. The money, he said, is coming from many sources, including funds that were earmarked for humanitarian aid in Gaza.