Army and security services have fanned out across the West Bank in search of between five and eight Syria and Hizballah secret agents believed to have slipped across the Syrian-Israeli Golan border under cover of the Palestinian mob incursion of May 15. DEBKAfile's counter-terror sources report that Israel intelligence believes Hamas and Hizballah clandestine West Bank terror cells were standing by to drive the infiltrators straight to hideouts where false identities awaited them. Such cells are mostly held dormant for extreme military situations such as conflagrations on Israel's borders with Syria, Lebanon or the Gaza Strip.
It is assumed that the new infiltrators will be activated when Syrian President Bashar Assad strikes again
in keeping with the threat from Damascus that unless the West backs off from supporting the protest against his regime, "instability in Syria would cause instability in Israel."
Wednesday, the Obama administration intensified its pressure on Assad by sanctioning him for the first time in person along with six heads of his regime. European governments promise to follow.
Syriaand Hizballah are not known to have ever managed a group penetration of secret agents before. Any single operatives sneaking in from Syria in the past have usually taken the Wadi Harmiyeh smuggling route from Golan to the West Bank town of Ramallah. The northern sections of this dry waterway are too narrow, twisting and dark for electronic sensors to pick up suspicious movements.
However, the massive trampling of the Syrian-Israeli Golan border on May 15 gave the Syrian and Hizballah spies the chance to drive comfortably down Israeli highways to their hideouts.
The way the penetration was organized attested to the close collaboration between Syrian military intelligence, Hizballah's special security apparatus and the armed branches of the radical Hamas and Ahmed Jibril's PFLP-General Command. Each had a part to play in the mass assault on Israel's borders: Hizballah arranged a Palestinian demonstration opposite the Lebanese-Israeli frontier, Jibril helped round up hundreds of Palestinians for smashing into Majd al Shams, while Hamas staged a mass march on the Gaza-Israel border.
Catching the IDF unready to cope with extreme pressure on three fronts has encouraged these extremist forces to follow through quickly and exploit the perceived Israeli weakness before the IDF comes up with a cure for defending its borders against mass civilian assault that does not entail shooting hundreds of unarmed people. Western intelligence sources do not think a cure will be easy to find.
Information reaching IDF intelligence indicates that Syria has is preparing its next civilian assault on the Israeli border for June 5, which marks the 44th anniversary of the Six Day War and the delineation of new borders. The Syrians are again working hand in glove with Hizballah and the same Palestinian rejectionists to stage additional offensives for June 7, Israel's Shavuot festival and the anniversary of Jerusalem's liberation and reunification.
The fundamentalist Hamas is not waiting: It has used Facebook to call on thousands of Palestinians to assemble at the Erez crossing Friday, May 20 and smash through the Gaza-Israeli border on the Majd al Shams model.
Our sources say this is a red herring to misdirect Israeli commanders in the same way as the Syrians planted a false lead to Kuneitra and staged their break-in at Majd al-Shams. In fact, the attempts to breach the Gaza fence will occur somewhere else or in several places on the assumption that the IDF has not recovered from the May 15 events and lacks the trained manpower and crowd control gear for breaking up a raging mob. Hamas hopes to present the spectacle as part of the Arab Revolt against tyrannical regimes and so gloss over a hostile act of war against a sovereign state.