Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations called on the Security Council to condemn Lebanese terror group Hezbollah Wednesday, hours after a deadly cross border attack left 2 Israeli soldiers dead.
The council was scheduled to meet at 11 p.m. Israel time over the flare-up after France requested an urgent meeting.
In a letter to the Security Council president, Ambassador Ron Prosor said he had repeatedly warned of “the escalating threat posed by Hezbollah,” saying it has been stockpiling weapons in southern Lebanon in contravention of UN resolution 1701, which ended hostilities between Israel and the group in 2006.
“The international community cannot ignore the threat any longer. Israel will not stand by as Hezbollah targets Israelis. Israel will not accept any attacks on its territory,” Prosor stated.
Staff Sergeant Dor Nini and and Major Yochai Kalangel were killed Wednesday afternoon when a convoy they were in came under attack by anti-tank missiles shot by Hezbollah operatives across the northern border.
Israel responded by shelling southern Lebanon, apparently killing a Spanish peacekeeper.
The soldier was part of the 10,000-strong United Nations peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon (UNIFIL), which includes 600 Spanish soldiers.
Prosor expressed condolences to the Spanish government for the death of the 36-year-old Spanish UNIFIL corporal, but expressed Israel’s right to self-defense, saying the country will take “all necessary measures” to protect its population.
“The terror organization must be disarmed, and the Lebanese government must stand by its commitment to the international resolutions,” Prosor said.
President Reuven Rivlin, also at the UN to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, said he would cut his trip to the US short to return home in light of the attacks..
“During times like these, a president’s duty is to visit the injured and the bereaved families,” the president said through his spokesperson.
In Israel, the prime minister convened security consultations Wednesday evening in the Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv, attended by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and Shin Bet chief Yoram Cohen.
Reacting to the incidents, Netanyahu vowed to retaliate for the cross-border attack on the Lebanese border, saying that “whoever is behind today’s attack will pay the full price.”
“With the assistance of Hezbollah, Iran has been for some time trying to open another front against Israel on the Golan Heights. We are acting with force and determination against these attempts.”
He added that the sole purpose of any Israeli military action is to protect Israeli civilians.
The Mount Dov area has seen multiple cross-border incidents involving Hezbollah in recent years.
In October, Hezbollah claimed a bomb attack against Israeli troops along the border that wounded two soldiers. Hours later, a second bomb went off along the border in the area, but did not result in any casualties. The clash came two days after a Lebanese soldier was lightly wounded by Israeli forces in the same area.
In 2006, the group killed two soldiers, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, and took their bodies, sparking a bloody, month-long war. The fighting resulted in the deaths of 43 Israeli civilians and 119 IDF soldiers, and over 1,700 dead on the Lebanese side, including 600 to 800 Hezbollah combatants, according to IDF figures.
The bodies of Regev and Goldwasser were returned to Israel in 2008 in exchange for Lebanese terrorist Samir Kuntar, four Hezbollah members and the remains of some 200 Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners.
Jonathan Beck, Lazar Berman and AP contributed to this report.