'Talks Won't Stop Iran's Nuclear Plans'
Herb Keinon, The Jerusalem Post:
Despite the fact that continued diplomatic initiatives will "not foil Iran's nuclear ambitions," OC Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Aharon Ze'evi (Farkash) told the cabinet on Sunday that "it is important to pursue [them]."
In his final cabinet briefing before leaving his post, Ze'evi said the critical date regarding Iran's nuclear capability "is not when they will be able to actually build a bomb, but when they will possess the technological know-how independently. This point will be reached six months after they start enriching uranium, which they will be able to do in March." READ MORE
In his assessment of the Palestinian situation, Ze'evi warned that "a situation is evolving in which there are two separate regional entities, a Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip - 'Hamastan' - and a Fatah-controlled West Bank - 'Fatahstan.' If Hamas is in control of Gaza, Israel will have no say with regards to anything happening in the Gaza Strip." He added that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was running out of maneuvering room in his power struggle with Hamas.
Ze'evi also cautioned the cabinet, saying, "The Arab states are amassing weapons capable of striking the Israeli heartland. Iran, Syria, Hizbullah and Hamas are all amassing such missiles, from Kassams to the Shihab 3."
The intelligence chief added he was concerned over the rise of Muslim political forces in Arab countries through the exploitation of the democratization process in these countries to gain power. As examples, he cited the Hamas in the West Bank, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the Shi'ites in Lebanon, Syrian Sunnis and the Istiklal organization in Morocco.
Recent international pressure on Syria, Ze'evi concluded, would possibly lead to a deliberate rise in violence along Israel's northern border in the coming months.