'Gaza op would impede Syrian front'

Former NSC head: War in summer not likely but IDF must improve deterrence.

eiland cropped 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
eiland cropped 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
A senior IDF official has said that a ground incursion into Gaza would severely impede IDF efforts if a war with Syria and Hizbullah were to break out over the summer, Army Radio reported Friday. Despite communications between the Israeli and Syrian governments, aimed at calming the situation, the IDF is still preparing itself for the possibility of a resurgent war in the North. The chances for a war breaking out are slim, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Giora Eiland - former head of the National Security Council - told Army Radio Friday. However, he claimed, "in order to forestall [a war], the IDF must bolster its deterrence policy." On May 20, another officer said that the IDF had noticed a military buildup within Syria as well as preparations by Damascus for the possibility of war with Israel. The officer stressed that while Syrian President Bashar Assad's "strategic decision" was to try and make peace with Israel, he was simultaneously preparing for a regional escalation - that could be connected to Iran or Hizbullah - over the summer, which would also lead to war with Israel. "There are preparations in Syria but we do not identify them as meaning that they intend to initiate a war with us," the top officer had said. "We are nevertheless taking actions to de-escalate the situation." Yaakov Katz contributed to this report