By Anees Barghouti
Lebanon’s Hezbollah group remains the most serious strategic threat to Israel, the Israeli Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) said in its annual strategic assessment for 2017, local media reported Monday.
The head of the INSS, reserve Major-General Amos Yadlin, submitted the annual report to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Monday morning.
According to Hebrew-language daily Yedioth Ahronoth, the report states that Hezbollah will continue to pose the most serious conventional threat to Israel in the year ahead.
The report deems Iran the second most serious threat to Israeli security, while Palestinian resistance movement Hamas was cited as the third.
While the report underlined Hezbollah’s various military capabilities, it did not issue any recommendations as to how best to contain the Shia group’s growing power.
“Hezbollah has rockets of every range, accurate missiles, suicide and attack drones, and the best Russian-made air-defense systems, in addition to ground units trained to occupy Israeli territories,” the report states.
It goes on, however, to describe the potential eruption of armed confrontation between Israel and Hamas as “the apex” of all possible threats facing Israel.
The report calls for the improvement of Israeli intelligence capacities with a view to preventing the smuggling of cutting-edge weapons to Hamas, which has governed the Gaza Strip since 2007.
“Even if neither party wants escalation, the next conflict could erupt as the result of an uncontrollable escalation of incidents, economic hardship or social crises in the Gaza Strip,” the report warns.
Iran, too, will also continue to pose a medium- and long-term threat to the Jewish state, the same report found.
“Although Iran’s nuclear agreement [with the West] gives Israel a short-term window, Tehran continues to develop its conventional [weapons] technology,” the report asserted.
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