Israel Makes Case for Stronger UNIFIL Ahead of Security Council Meeting

YERUSHALAYIM -
UNIFIL
Peacekeepers of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) are seen in Kfar Kila village near the Lebanese-Israeli border, southern Lebanon, on November 7. (Reuters/Karamallah Daher)

With the U.N. Security Council due to take up the issue of the Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) on Wednesday, Israeli diplomats were hard at work lobbying council members for a tougher, more effective force, The Jerusalem Post reported on Tuesday.

Just a few days ago, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres admitted that the U.N. was unable to verify Israel’s allegations that Hezbollah has been stockpiling arms while UNIFIL stands idly by, in blatant violation of Resolution 1701.

He said that although there are regular allegations of arms transfers to Hezbollah, the U.N. “is not in a position to substantiate them independently.”

Israel’s Foreign Ministry deputy director general for diplomacy Alon Ushpiz and deputy director general for the United Nations and International Organizations Alon Bar have been briefing ambassadors on Israel’s position, that UNIFIL has to take a more active role in overseeing implementation of 1701 through inspecting sites Hezbollah is suspected of keeping weapons.

As matters stand, Hezbollah terrorists violate 1701 with impunity.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley deplored the situation in August, in remarks singling out the Irish head of UNIFIL, Maj.-Gen. Michael Beary:

“Hezbollah openly brags about their weapons. They parade them before TV cameras. The secretary-general’s reports have confirmed this. For the UNIFIL commander to deny it… shows that we need to have changes in UNIFIL,” Haley said.

The Israelis are hoping to see those changes in the near term.