Israel faces greater danger now that Iran is focused on upgrading Hamas’s capabilities, according to Intelligence Minister Israel Katz.
Katz spoke before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday, saying, “In recent days, while we face the known threat from Gaza, there is a direct Iranian intervention. Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas are involved in operative preparations to upgrade the threat to Israel from the direction of Gaza.”
Iran increased its involvement after Hamas was forced to leave Qatar after mounting pressure from Saudi Arabia, said Katz, noting, “This meeting is under the shadow of a four-letter word: I-R-A-N.”
Katz hopes Iran protests will end in regime change, but says Israel is not involved.
“It’s amazing how everything has to do with Iran,” Katz said. He went on to list the ways in which Iran is consolidating its power in the region. “Whether it’s their nuclear aspirations and the need to prevent them from developing nuclear weapons… the attempt to improve its military preparedness in Syria, training Shi’ite militias [or] actions improving Hezbollah missiles.”
Katz is of the opinion that most of the Iranian threats to Israel will dissipate with regime change. “We want to see the repressive regime removed and replaced with a democracy. We don’t intervene, but we wish luck to the Iranian people in pursuit of freedom and democracy,” he stated.
Iran has invested much in its attacks on Israel and others in the region, he pointed out. “It’s not that they love Zion, it’s a question of whether resources should be used to support terror and aggression in Syria, Lebanon and Gaza. All these developments require Israel to consider them and try to change the situation,” said Katz.
Opportunities exist between Israel, Saudi Arabia, some Sunni states and the US, Katz noted.
He also brought up his proposal to allow a seaport to be built on an island off the coast of Gaza. “When we talk about Gaza, we need to separate civilian matters from security as much as possible, and remove Israeli responsibility for civilians in Gaza as much as possible, giving them an opening to the world with security supervision,” he said.