(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) The situation in Gaza is deteriorating to the point where the Hamas-ruled Palestinian coastal enclave could be facing a catastrophe, and Israel is likely to suffer the consequences, the head of the Israel Defense Forces’ Military Intelligence Directorate, Maj. Gen. Herzl Halevi, told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee behind closed doors on Tuesday.
Israeli Knesset members who attended the meeting said Halevi based his assessments on a report published by the United Nations titled “Gaza 2020,” which said that if the situation in Gaza remains unchanged, the territory will become unlivable by 2020. According to one Knesset member, Halevi said, “If there won’t be improvement, Israel will be the first to feel it when things explode.” The intelligence chief also emphasized that at this time, the Hamas terror group does not want to re-open hostilities with Israel and is working to rein in other factions in Gaza to prevent them from firing rockets into Israel.
Addressing the situation along the Jewish state’s northern border, Halevi said Israel and Hezbollah alike have no interest in starting a war, but that one isolated incident is enough to potentially escalate matters.
Regarding Judea and Samaria, Halevi told the committee that Israeli cooperation with Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces is being maintained. Asked by a committee member whether there were concerns that the PA could collapse, Halevi replied that such a scenario can materialize once PA President Mahmoud Abbas is no longer in power, as Hamas would then attempt to seize positions of power within the PA.