Israeli Arabs charged with smuggling explosives for Hezbollah

Israel has charged eight Israeli-Arab citizens were charged with smuggling explosives into the country for Hezbollah.

The residents of Nazareth and Ghajar, which is located half in Israel and half in Lebanon, were charged Wednesday in Nazareth District Court with smuggling nearly 45 pounds of explosives into Israel in June. They were arrested in July.

Israel’s Shin Bet security service said the explosives could have set off “a wave of serious terrorist attacks in Israel,” Reuters reported.

The operation would have needed approval from Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, the Shin Bet said, according to The Jerusalem Post.

Israel to withdraw from Lebanese town

Israel will unilaterally withdraw from Ghajar, a town on its border with Lebanon, Israel’s Security Cabinet decided.

The withdrawal from Ghajar, which is situated half in Lebanon and half in Israel’s Golan Heights, will take place in coordination with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon within the next 30 days following the Security Cabinet’s vote on Wednesday. The final agreement, including the date of the withdrawal, will be brought to the Israeli Cabinet for a vote to redeploy Israeli troops.

The withdrawal satisfies the terms of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 passed after the second Lebanon war in 2006. The resolution also calls for the disarming of Hezbollah.

Israel took over Ghajar, which had been a Syrian village, in 1967 when Israel captured the Golan Heights. The residents voted to take on dual Syrian-Israeli citizenship.

Following Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, Ghajar remained in the northern part of the village, which extended into Lebanon. Part of Resolution 1701 required Israel to withdraw from all of Lebanon, including the northern half of Ghajar.

Ghajar residents oppose the withdrawal, saying it will split the village. They say, according to reports, that they prefer the status quo, ultimately returning to Syria.