“If Hezbollah dares to attack Israel, it will bring ruin to Lebanon,” Danon warned.
By: United with Israel Staff
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Wednesday held a special session to discuss Hezbollah’s violation of Resolution 1701, most recently manifest in the IDF’s exposure of its cross-border tunnels.
The discussion took place at the request of Israel and the US and in wake of the IDF’s Operation Northern Shield to discover and neutralize Hezbollah’s tunnels running from Lebanon into Israel. So far, the IDF has exposed four such tunnels, while its operation is expected to last several more weeks. The UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) had confirmed four tunnels, including two that cross the frontier into Israel.
During the session, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon revealed to the Security Council members an aerial photograph of a “private compound” in the southern part of Kfar Kila, about 80 meters from the Blue Line, from which an underground attack tunnel crossed the border into Israel, passing close to a UNIFIL observation post.
Danon said that “Israel gave UNIFIL precise information about the location of the tunnel. After UNIFIL told the Lebanese army, it was then stopped when it tried to reach the area. Sources within the Lebanese army informed Hezbollah about the information, which enabled the terrorist organization to conceal the tunnel’s operations and thwart Israel’s defensive actions.”
‘Lebanese Army Officials Working for Hezbollah’
“Lebanese army officials are working for Hezbollah, while UNIFIL is not working to fulfill its mandate in the region in the necessary manner,” Danon charged.
Danon shared another aerial photograph of Kfar Kila, in which he showed documentation of Hezbollah’s terrorist infrastructure, including two tunnels that penetrated the border into Israel, along with observation posts and information gathering and weapons storage areas.
“Hezbollah has built a terror base inside a civilian population, with its end on the Israeli side of the border, all financed by Iran. This not only a clear violation of Resolution 1701, but Hezbollah also uses Lebanese civilians as human shields. If Hezbollah dares to attack Israel, it will bring ruin to Lebanon,” he warned.
The UN’s peacekeeping chief, Jean-Pierre Lacroix called the tunnels a “serious violation” of the 2006 cease-fire resolution and asserted that UNIFIL is “acting judiciously” to complete its investigation and to work with both sides to disable all tunnels that cross the border.
“This is a matter of serious concern,” he said.
Lebanon’s ambassador Amal Mudallali claimed her country took the matter seriously and remains committed to the cease-fire resolution.
“This commitment is not rhetoric, and these are not mere words, because this commitment is in the interest of my country and my people,” she said, adding that the Lebanese army is “deployed heavily” in the south to make sure the cease-fire is honored.
Hezbollah’s ‘Wanton Acts of Aggression’
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday issued a statement ahead of the UNSC meeting, in which he underscored that Hezbollah’s tunnels are “not merely an act of aggression; it’s an act of war. It is part of a war plan I would say.”
He further noted that “Hezbollah is doing all this because Iran supports it in every way, including with money, money that it got from the flawed Iranian [nuclear deal] deal. And this is part of the Iranian web of aggression.
Netanyahu explained that Hezbollah was committing a “double war crime” by “targeting Israeli civilians, while hiding behind Lebanese civilians.”
“The people of Lebanon have to understand that Hezbollah is putting them in jeopardy. And we expect Lebanon to take action against this, to protest against this, not to give in to this,” he stated.
The fact that the Lebanese army is doing nothing against Hezbollah military expansionism “means that they are either unable or unwilling or both to do anything about this. But it doesn’t absolve Lebanon’s culpability. Their territory is being used to attack our territory. Their territory is being used to dig terror tunnels, to terrorize, kidnap and murder our citizens. Therefore, we hold Lebanon accountable,” Netanyahu underscored.
Israel thinks the international community should hold Iran, Hezbollah and Lebanon accountable “and it should act accordingly,” Netanyahu demanded, “because what you’re seeing is not merely a grave violation of our sovereignty and our security, but a grave violation of any nation’s security.”
Hezbollah is “using every third house in villages in southern Lebanon for these aggressive purposes,” and the UN knows this, he asserted.
World Does Nothing
Netanyahu called on all the members of the Security Council to condemn Hezbollah’s “wanton acts of aggression; to designate 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 for acts of aggression and its citizens to be used as pawns; and to support Israel’s right to defend itself against Iranian-inspired and Iranian-conducted aggression.”
He also called 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. That UNIFIL has the ability to get to any area quickly, before they cover-up and destroy the evidence. That UNIFIL is not restricted by Hezbollah or the Lebanese army in any way and reports on any obstructions. And that UNIFIL provides detailed reports of any violations to the UN and to Israel in a timely manner.”
In conclusion, he expressed hope that the UNSC “will stand up for the truth and for peace and security. I hope that it takes the necessary action, the correct action, the moral action. And in the meantime Israel will continue to take all the necessary action to protect our people and to defend our borders.”
However, after a stormy session, the council took no action on the Israeli request, and there was no move to circulate a draft resolution on the tunnels.
Yet, several council members joined Israel in condemning the tunnels. Sweden said Hezbollah’s military capabilities pose a “clear risk” to regional stability. The Netherlands also strongly condemned the tunnel activities as a “flagrant violation” of Israeli sovereignty and international law.
AP contributed to this report.
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