Itongadol.- All five papers discuss events in Syria and/or Lebanon:
Ma\’ariv says that "The assessment in Israel is that Iran and Hezbollah are currently using the Damascus area as a kind of \’home field\’ in every respect," and adds: "To a large extent, the Assad regime is surviving on the bayonets of the Hezbollah fighters who are assisting it and thanks to the massive aid that it is receiving from Iran without respite." The author said that Syrian President Assad is on the horns of a dilemma: "He cannot prevent the transfer of strategic weapons from Iran to Hezbollah in Lebanon, but Israel has apparently decided to give him a choice – stop the weapons transfers or risk attacks in the heart of your capital." The paper cites intelligence estimates that neither Syria nor Hezbollah will respond to the attacks because the former will not want to risk opening another front and the former is guarding its arsenal in order to use it in response to any attack on Iran but cautions that Israel must be p repared for the possibility that "Syria and Hezbollah may not operate according to the intelligence assessments."
Yediot Aharonot asks: "Will Assad heat up the border?" and replies: "Assad has a difficult problem: On the one hand, it is true that Israeli activity is capable of uniting the Syrian people (except for the rebels) and Assad has already sent his spokespeople to play the well-worn tune about links between Israel and \’the terrorist gangs that have invaded Syria\’. On the other hand, Assad has no intention of starring in a war movie the end of which cannot be foreseen."
Yisrael Hayom suggests that "It is likely that instead of aggressive response plans, in Syria and Lebanon yesterday they were engaged in learning lessons. For the second time within 48 hours, and for the third time in three-and-a-half months, the most secret weapons systems on the Tehran-Damascus-Beirut axis were penetrated and classified war materiel, the production and transportation of which from Iran to Lebanon (via Syria) cost millions, were destroyed. In Hezbollah and Syria they must be wracking their brains now wondering what else Israel knows and when the next attack is to be expected." The author doubts that it will be any time soon, especially given Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu\’s trip to China, unless there is concrete information about another weapons transfer.
The Jerusalem Post believes that Israel’s decision to strike “was a calculated risk that was both justified and essential for maintaining deterrence and security,” and comments that Israel has made it clear to both Syria and Iran that it will not tolerate the crossing of red lines.
Haaretz asserts: “Force must be used with discretion. The Israeli government must make sure that its military operations will not spark an escalation that could set the whole region aflame.”
[Amir Rappaport, Semadar Peri and Yoav Limor wrote today’s articles in Ma\’ariv, Yediot Aharonot and Yisrael Hayom, respectively.]