by: Kate Norman
Thursday, 20 December 2018 | After meeting Wednesday to discuss the attack tunnels dug from southern Lebanon into Israel, two of which crossed the border, the United Nations Security Council adjourned without taking any definitive action on the conflict.
Though several members of the council condemned the tunnels and their violation of UN Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War and established rules for both Israel and Lebanon in order to avoid further conflict, the council did not take any concrete steps or schedule further votes or meetings.
“It is important to understand what Hezbollah is doing here,” Netanyahu said in a speech before the meeting convened. “It is committing a double war crime. It’s targeting Israeli civilians, while jeopardizing, while hiding behind Lebanese civilians.”
The Israeli prime minister answered a reporter’s question about whether the Lebanese army knew about the tunnels before they were publicly exposed this month. Netanyahu said Israel believes the Lebanese army did not know about the tunnels then—few people did—but they know now and aren’t joining in the efforts to disable the tunnels on their side of the border.
“The fact that the Lebanese army is doing nothing means that they are either unable or unwilling, or both, to do anything about this, but it doesn’t absolve Lebanon’s culpability,” Netanyahu said. “Their territory is being used to attack our territory.”
The prime minister implored the international community to hold Iran, Hezbollah and Lebanon accountable and to act accordingly.
“I call on all the members of the Security Council to condemn Hezbollah’s wanton acts of aggression, to condemn Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization, to press for heightened sanctions against Hezbollah, to demand that Lebanon stop allowing its territory to be used as an act of aggression and its citizens to be used as pawns, to support Israel’s right to defend itself against Iranian-inspired and Iranian-conducted aggression,” the Israeli leader admonished.
Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, accused the Lebanese army of passing Israeli intel to Hezbollah, who used the information to “conceal the tunnel’s operations and thwart Israel’s defensive actions.”
“Israel even revealed to UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) that a high ranking member of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) actively operates with Hezbollah,” Danon charged. “When UNIFIL forces told the Lebanese army about the tunnels, the Lebanese army sent the information straight to Hezbollah immediately, which then sealed the tunnels to destroy the evidence.”
UNIFIL has been able to independently verify the existence of the four tunnels that the IDF has exposed so far and has also confirmed that two of them entered into Israeli territory in violation of UN Resolution 1701. However, after UNIFIL was given precise information about the location of the tunnel by Israel, the UN force was unable to investigate it on the Lebanese side after the LAF passed the intel on to Hezbollah, Danon asserted.
Netanyahu referred to this in his speech before the meeting.
“I call on the Security Council to demand that UNIFIL fully meet its mandate and deepen its operations. This includes ensuring that UNIFIL has unrestrained access to any area in southern Lebanon, including private and public lands,” Netanyahu said, referring to a private compound that UNIFIL forces were prevented from entering in their investigation on the Lebanese side of the border.
“The Lebanese government, which should be the first to challenge this and to protest this, is doing nothing at best and colluding at worst,” the Netanyahu said.
Danon pointed out that some of the tunnels that have already been discovered trailed only meters away from UNIFIL observation points.
“On UNIFIL’s watch, Hezbollah has been digging tunnels from Lebanese villages, such as Kafr Kila, and using its own people as human shields.”
Both the prime minister and the ambassador strongly asserted that Israel will do whatever it needs to in order to protect itself and defend its citizens and territory.
“What you are seeing is Hezbollah’s Conquest of the Galilee battle plan in action,” Danon said. “This is just the ground component of an offensive that will use Hezbollah’s arsenal of over 100,000 rockets and missiles to strike all of Israel.”
Posted on December 20, 2018
Source: (Bridges for Peace, December 20, 2018)
Photo Credit: PM of Israel@IsraeliPM/twitter.com
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