Jerusalem – Israel intends to launch an international public relations campaign to publicize what it sees as the ineffectiveness of the United Nations’ commitment to stop alleged arms smuggling in Lebanon. The Jewish state plans to demand that the United Nations Interim Force In Lebanon, which is supposed to prevent Hezbollah from arming and from taking hold in southern Lebanon, receive expanded powers.

Two years after the Second Lebanon War, U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended that war has been ineffectively implemented in practice, and Hezbollah continues to build up its military strength.

These were the conclusions presented by senior Israeli intelligence officials to the prime minister and other Israel security cabinet members in a special meeting on Thursday. The amount of ammunition held by Hezbollah has increased threefold, and it has surface-to-surface missiles capable of reaching central Israel.

In addition, the security establishment has identified ongoing transfers of weaponry from Syria to Lebanon. Hezbollah is also gaining strength in the political sphere in Lebanon.

A few feet from the homes of the residents in Metulla, Lebanon, Hezbollah flags still fly next to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s picture. “The last war made us face the truth,” Eitan Davidi, a resident of Moshav Margaliot, Israel said on Wednesday. “Now we live with the knowledge that it is just another temporary cease-fire.”

Hezbollah guerrillas are not seen openly in the area. Their posts along the border have remained empty, and UNIFIL has taken their place. Sometimes, a shepherd appears, equipped with binoculars, approaching the fence. But this is not the same Hezbollah fighter who, until two years ago, walked around with threatening weapons. Although it is clear to everyone that Hezbollah is fortifying in the nearby villages, something has changed nonetheless. They are not seen, whereas the Israel Defense Forces now reach every corner and shows its presence.

This reality has increased the sense of security in northern Israel. It is what enables Adi Amitai to drive along the fence in Metulla with his tractor every day on the way to cultivating his land.

But he is not really calm. “In the meantime, it is quiet and good, but we know that they aren’t sitting quietly,” he said. “It is only a matter of time before the area flares up again.”

Two years after the war, Hezbollah is preparing anew, but south of the border it appears that the lessons have not been learned. In Kiryat Shmona, Israel where about 1,000 Katyusha rockets fell two years ago, municipal situation room still doesn’t exist, and its renovation will not be completed within the coming months. “The city is still not ready, and it could be a disaster,” said a source in the municipality. “We won’t have a place to run things from.” The municipality stated last night: “In a few weeks we will receive the keys.”

Iran’s Strategic Arm

Iran has only several dozen Shahab-3 and improved Shahab-3 missiles that can reach Israel. This is in contrast to Syria, which holds an arsenal of several hundred missiles that can target all of Israel’s territory.

Israel’s Arrow anti-missile missiles have been adapted to give a response to the Shahab missiles as well. However, the United States and Israel are monitoring, with concern, the continued development of the missile industry in Iran. They contend Iran has no need for such long-range missiles unless it is developing nuclear weapons that could be delivered on these missiles.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guards carried out a combined test of long-range missiles and advanced rockets. The missiles fired were of the improved Shahab-3 model-a missile with a range of up to 1,243 miles, armed with a warhead weighing about 1,433 lbs.

In addition, the Iranians fired local versions of Scud B and Scud C missiles, and accurate rockets of the Zelzal 2 and Fateh 110 varieties, with ranges of 130 miles.

The last two rockets are currently held by Hezbollah in greater quantities than it had prior to the 2006 war.

If Iran should be attacked, there is a serious concern that it will also choose to respond by means of the rocket arsenal it has transferred to Hezbollah.

The Iranians are investing great effort in developing missiles. Along with improving the Shahab missile, Iran is continuing to develop the Ashura missile. This is a two-stage missile with a range of 1,243 miles that will be powered by solid fuel – making it possible to fuel it a long time in advance and store it ready for launching. Missiles powered by liquid fuel (such as the Shahab) have to be fueled shortly before the time of launching, exposing the preparations to enemy eyes.

Israeli Bedouin Residents Accused Of Joining Al-Qaida

On Wednesday, the gag order was lifted on a report that Israeli intelligence had arrested two residents of the Israeli Bedouin village of Rahat who allegedly belong to the Islamic Movement, for allegedly having operated on behalf of al-Qaida, which was responsible, among other things, for the attack on the Twin Towers in New York in 2001.

Two months ago, Israeli intelligence, together with Border Police and the Israel Police, arrested Taher and Omar Abu-Sakkot, residents of the Bedouin city of Rahat in southern Israel, for allegedly joining al-Qaida.

The two hooked up to al-Qaida on the Internet, and have admitted to this.

The indictment charges them with serious offenses: membership in a terror organization, aiding an enemy in war and handing over information to an enemy with the purpose of harming state security.

Israeli intelligence officials have revealed the path that led them to join the terror organization.

In 2006, Taher Abu-Sakkot the main suspect, began surfing internet sites identified with al-Qaida and global jihad, which call, among other things, for the destruction of the State of Israel.

Taher agreed to become involved in al-Qaida activity, and even relayed information on IDF vases, various strategic Israeli installations and crowded sites, in order to make it easier for al-Qaida to plan possible terror attacks. Among other places, the accused pointed out the Azrieli center in Tel Aviv, The Ben-Gurion International Airport in Lod, and areas where it would be possible to infiltrate from Judea and Samaria into Israel.

At some stages, Taher even asked the global jihad people to connect him with fighters from Iraq and Saudi Arabia, in order to carry out a terror attack in Israel against Jews.

The indictments against the two Rahat residents describe ongoing contact with global jihad members, based on their ideological identification with extremist Islamic ideas.

The families of the accused refused to believe the accusations against them. The families claim that the two were not at fault and that it was a mistake. “My son is just a kid who surfed the Internet. He did not harm state security and did not join al-Qaida,” said the father of one of the accused. “He did not mean to harm the country. You will see in the end that it is a mistake.” The brother of one of the accused added: “I don’t know what the fuss is about. All they did was surf the internet, and the whole truth will come out in court.”

David Bedein can be reached at dbedein@israelbehindthenews.com. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com

©The Bulletin 2008

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.