The United Nations Security Council convened on Wednesday to discuss the Hezbollah cross-border tunnels which Israel has been uncovering and charging that they were intended for use in future attacks on its territory. Israel has demanded that Lebanon and UNIFIL take action to destroy all the tunnels.
UNIFIL has verified the Israeli allegations, but some Security Council members are expected to resist any resolution of condemnation.
Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said the tunnels extending into northern Israel represent a “serious violation” of Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War.
Lacroix says both sides have been warned against escalating the situation. He also commends the Israeli army for its conduct.
The United States, Britain and the Czech Republic have so far expressed condemnation of the tunnels during the UNSC session.
Rodney Hunter, Minister Counselor for Political Affairs, declared U.S. support for Israeli action to eliminate the tunnels penetrating its territory. He says it is both “regrettable and incomprehensible” that other countries have not yet recognized the gravity of the threat posed by the Iran-backed terrorist group.
Karen Pierce, the British representative at the Security Council, said that Hezbollah has shown “blatant disregard for U.N. resolutions” with its military activities, calling it “deeply alarming.”
Kuwait’s ambassador Mansour Ayyad Al-Otaibi maintained that the tunnels do not pose a threat to regional security and blamed Israel for more serious violations of Lebanon’s sovereignty.
He also denied that Hezbollah activities are of a terrorist nature. “This resistance is not considered a terrorist act,” he said.
Swedish Ambassador Olof Skoog opted for moral equivalency: “We are deeply concerned with the discovery of tunnels on Israeli territory…. We condemn all violations of Resolution 1701 by both sides, including the almost daily Israeli violations of Lebanese airspace.”