Top Israeli Diplomat: UNIFIL ‘Must Do More’ to Thwart Hezbollah’s Armament Efforts in Southern Lebanon
The UN peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon “must do more” to thwart Hezbollah’s armament efforts, a top Israeli diplomat told The Algemeiner on Thursday.
Referring to UNIFIL — which marked this week the 40th anniversary of its establishment following Operation Litani — Israeli UN Ambassador Danny Danon said, “All too often they do not report on the full extent of the dangerous buildup of missiles and rockets in southern Lebanon. The fact is that despite the presence of UNIFIL, Hezbollah today is stronger than ever.”
“Israel will always do all that it is necessary to protects the safety of its citizens, but for sake of tranquility in southern Lebanon, the UN Security Council must ensure that UNIFIL fully fulfill its mandate,” Danon declared.
At a ceremony in the southern Lebanese city of Naqoura on Monday, the commander of UNIFIL, Irish Maj. Gen. Michael Beary, said, “We have a collective responsibility to learn from our shared history and to remain on a path to peace. UNIFIL works tirelessly to preempt a return to conflict; a return to turmoil and loss of life; a return to some of the dark days of the past.”
“On this day of reflection,” Beary continued, “we recognize that UNIFIL’s peacekeeping operations have provided the space for the parties to the conflict to begin a move toward a permanent ceasefire.”
The Israel-Lebanon border has remained largely quiet since the summer of 2006, when the Israel Defense Forces fought a 33-day-long war against Iran-backed Hezbollah — a conflict which resulted in the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 1701.