In occasion of the 20 years anniversaryof Israel withdraw from southern Lebanon,Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah has mocked Israel’s new Defense Minister Benny Gantz.On Tuesday, the Lebanese Shiite terror group Hezbollah leader rejected a US request to authorize a United Nations peacekeeping force watching the border with Israel.
Hezbollah’s head Hassan Nasrallah commented a Security Council (UNSC) vote to renew the mandate of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). “The Americans, as the result of Israeli demands, are raising the issue of changing the nature of UNIFIL’s mission,” Nasrallah affirmed in a radio interview.“Lebanon has refused to change UNIFIL’s mission, but Israel wants it to have the right to raid and search private properties, and the Americans are pressuring Lebanon on this matter,” Nasrallah added.
The UN Resolution 1701, which finished the 2006 Second Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah,prohibits all armed militias from operating besides the Lebanese military in southern Lebanon, particularly in the area of Litani River.
Israel has repeatedly accused Hezbollah, occasionally aided by the Lebanese Armed Forces, of maintain an active presence in the region of both fighters and artillery despite this ban. UNIFIL, which is tasked with guaranteeing Resolution 1701’s implementation, has remarked that the constraints of its mandate prevent it from being able to fully investigate Israel’s claims, specifically because of the peacekeepers’ incapacity to enter private property.
In the UN’s 2015 report on the matter, it states that: the situation in the area of operations of UNIFILand along the Blue Line remained generally calm, despite the tense regional context and following the serious breach of the cessation of hostilities between Lebanon and Israel on 28 January. Overall, despite escalatory rhetoric on both sides, the Lebanese and Israeli authorities displayed resolve to maintain calm along the Blue Line, continued to engage constructively with UNIFIL through the established liaison and coordination arrangements and reaffirmed their commitment to the implementation of resolution 1701 (2006). There was no progress, however, on their outstanding obligations under the resolution and no movement towards a permanent ceasefire.
The Lebanese government demanded that Palestinians in refugee camps in the Litani area disarm in accordance with the resolution, senior Fatah operative in Lebanon, Monir Al-Makdah, said on 28 August 2006. Reportedly, Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora made the request to Fatah representative in Lebanon, Abbas Za’aki. Al-Makdah rejected the demand in an interview with Jordanian newspaper Al-Dostur, saying that the Security Council resolution was illegal since it did not include the right of return for Palestinian refugees.
In August last year, the UNSC voted to renew UNIFIL’s mandate for a year.But the resolution included a requirement for the UN secretary general to perform an evaluation on the UNIFIL mission and its staff before June 1, 2020.“We are not against UNIFIL staying,” Nasrallah pointed out.But “the time of deeming Lebanon to be weak is over, and Israel cannot impose conditions on Lebanon, even behind an American mask.”In early May, the US envoy to the UN, Kelly Craft, claimed UNIFIL was being prevented from fulfilling its mandate and Hezbollah had been able to arm itself and expand operations, putting the Lebanese people at direct risk.The Security Council must either pursue serious change to empower UNIFIL or realign its staffing and resources with tasks it can actually accomplish, Craftsaid in a tweet last week.
Hizballah is operating contrary to #UNSC resolutions. This Council must do more to implement the arms embargo provision and ensure @UNIFIL_ has unimpeded, timely access to sites of concern. We strongly urge Lebanese civilian leadership to facilitate that access.— Ambassador Kelly Craft (@USAmbUN) May 13, 2020
Nasrallah’s comments follow a dispute broke out late Monday in the southern village of Blida between Finnish peacekeepers and residents, after a UNIFIL military vehicle hit two cars and motorbike, according to the National News Agency.Young men cut off the road in remonstration, and the Finnish peacekeepers had to be escorted out by the Lebanese army, it said.On Tuesday, surrounding villages in a joint statement accused the patrol of “entering and searching people’s vineyards and private properties”, describing these actions as unacceptable.
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