A credible report has appeared in the Israeli daily newspaper Maariv that cites Palestinian security sources who confirm that terrorist organizations are importing their weapons by sea into Gaza.

These Palestinian security officials say increased activity by the Egyptians and others has made smuggling weapons through the Sinai more difficult. Egyptian efforts intensified, following the discovery of Hezbollah cells on Egyptian soil. Although the arrests were reported only recently, many of the cell’s members were arrested at the beginning of the year.

Weapons-smuggling vessels reportedly anchor in international waters and throw large barrels filled with arms overboard into the sea. Some of the barrels are washed up onto the shore, while others are drawn from the sea by Gazan fishing boats.

“There is no room for chance,” a Palestinian security official told Maariv’s reporter in Gaza. “They know exactly where to jettison the barrels and where they will end up, according to the currents.”

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Hamas had been claiming that Israel Navy vessels are stopping innocent Gazan fishing vessels and interrogating them at sea.

Meanwhile, Mahmoud a-Zahar, the Hamas foreign minister, said during a Friday sermon in a Gaza mosque, “The arms currently in Hamas’ possession are more advanced… Hamas now has better weapons than the ones that were formerly in its possession.”

In light of these revelations, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a meeting yesterday about the Gaza situation with top officials of the Israeli security establishment. The subject of the briefing dealt with the military strength of Hamas in Gaza.

Also on the agenda was Israel’s cooperation with other countries, particularly members of NATO, who assist in locating and stopping arms procurement routes from Iran to Gaza.

David Bedein can be reached at dbedein@israelbehindthenews.com


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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.