By Mazal Mualem, Haaretz Correspondent , and Reuters
Israel is closely monitoring preparations by Syria, Iran and Hezbollah for a U.S.-led war this summer, Military Intelligence chief Major-General Amos Yadlin said during a cabinet session on Sunday.
According to Yadlin, Iran and Syria believe that a war this summer will be initiated by the U.S. and that Israel will be involved. He said added that the Muslim forces' preparations are defensive, and they are not expected to initiate the war.
"What we are seeing is their preparation for the possibility of war in the summer. My assessment is that they are defensive preparations for war," Yadlin was quoted by a government official as saying, referring to Iran, Syria and Hezbollah.
"We are closely monitoring these preparations because [Iran, Syria and Hezbollah] could misinterpret various moves in the region," Yadlin said, according to the official.
Yadlin noted that, as in the case of the 1967 Six-Day War, military conflict could erupt despite that fact that neither side is interested in war, because of "the involvement of many players."
Regarding Hamas, Yadlin said that Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh has warned that if the international financial embargo on Gaza is not lifted within three months, a third intifada will break out.
Yadlin added that there senior Hamas members that are displeased with the Saudi Arabian initiative, and that the military branch of Hamas has renewed its activity.
In Washington on Thursday, U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said the United States was "convinced diplomacy is the way to proceed" to curb Iran's nuclear program.
Burns told the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee that Washington did not believe conflict with Tehran was inevitable.
The United Nations Security Council widened sanctions against Iran on March 24 after it defied a second deadline to stop enriching uranium, a process Tehran says will yield solely electricity but world powers fear could be used to build atomic weapons.
Washington and London also accuse Iran of supporting insurgents fighting their forces in Iraq.