Lebanon, Hezbollah Ties Threaten Mideast Peace

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METULLA, Israel -- Metulla is a small Israeli town on the country's northern border. Bounded by Lebanon on three sides, its agricultural fields extend right up to the border.

"The residents here feel secure, but this security doesn't really exist because when we're dealing with Lebanon and Hezbollah that in fact does what it wants to do in the Lebanese government, everything is fragile," said Metulla Mayor Hertzel Boker.

Although it's been relatively quiet near the border between Israel and Lebanon since the end of the Israel-Hezbollah war in 2006, some fear that could change in a hurry.

During the 2006 war, Hezbollah launched nearly 4,000 rockets at Israel. Since then, Hezbollah has increased its stockpile to an estimated 40,000 rockets and moved most of them south towards the Israeli border.

"Over 150 Shiite villages and others in south Lebanon are being turned slowly, gradually but surely into Hezbollah military camps," Israeli Defense Forces Spokeswoman Avital Leibovich said.

Leibovich said Hezbollah has changed its tactics and gone underground.

"They have inside warehouses, a very big number of warehouses filled with rockets, Katyushas, missiles of all sort of ranges," she said.

El-Khiam is a Lebanese town and Hezbollah stronghold. Recently, the army released a 3D animated clip illustrating how Hezbollah is using civilian areas with schools in el-Khiam to store weapons.

"Hezbollah is aware of the fact that civilians can be easily used as human shields," Leibovich added.

The United Nations resolution ending the 2006 war was supposed to keep weapons out of Hezbollah's hands and keep the terror group out of the south.

Now, Hezbollah bars U.N. peacekeepers patrolling the southern area from entering the villages.

Boker, a retired Israeli army lieutenant colonel who served five years in Lebanon, said Hezbollah is under the control of Iran.

"What Hezbollah did in 2006 was without the permission of Iran," Boker said. "If it does something here it be with Iran's permission and serve Iran's purposes."

Israel said it holds the government of Lebanon responsible for the actions of Hezbollah.

Following the August 1 ambush of an Israeli maintenance crew by the Lebanese snipers along the border, Israeli officials said there is a growing connection between Hezbollah and the Lebanese army.

For now, it's quiet but the recent border incident was a stark reminder of just how fast the situation can change.

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Julie Stahl

Julie Stahl

CBN News Jerusalem Reporter

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