Israeli ambassador urges UN to disarm ‘powder keg’ Hezbollah

Syrian chemical weapons could fall into the hands of Lebanese group, Ron Prosor warns

Adiv Sterman is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

UN peacekeepers monitor the Syrian side of the Golan Heights in July 2012 (Tsafrir Abayov/Flash90)
UN peacekeepers monitor the Syrian side of the Golan Heights in July 2012 (Tsafrir Abayov/Flash90)

In the wake of a mysterious explosion in a Hezbollah weapons warehouse in southern Lebanon last week, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, on Thursday called on the UN Security Council to enforce Resolution 1701, which calls for the disarmament of Hezbollah and forbids any bearing of arms near the Israeli border.

“Hezbollah is expanding its munitions stockpile by unprecedented proportions,” Proser said. “Over 50,000 of the organization’s rockets threaten Israel and the entire region, in stark contravention to the Security Council’s resolution. This is a powder keg that the UN must deal with.”

Prosor also attacked the Lebanese group for concealing weapons in populated areas.

“Not only does Hezbollah continue to accumulate missiles and weapons, but it also uses civilians as human shields,” he said. “It’s no coincidence that the explosion in the storehouse took place only 300 meters from a school.”

The ambassador warned of the dangers of nonconventional weapons from Syria falling into Hezbollah hands and added that the international community could not afford to ignore the issue.

“The first step should come from the European countries,” Proser said. “It is time they recognized Hezbollah for what it really is — an international terrorist organization.”

UN Security Council Resolution 1701 effectively ended the Second Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah in August 2006.

On Wednesday, Israeli Air Force chief Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel predicted that Hezbollah would increase its attempts to infiltrate Israeli airspace with airborne drones carrying explosives. Ever since the IAF’s interception of a Hezbollah drone two and a half months ago, the military was treating the new threat very seriously, he noted.

Eshel warned that any future conflict with Hezbollah would have a significant impact on the Israeli homefront. “Rockets may fall in central Israel,” he said. “The main [Israeli] effort will be to achieve victory, and quickly.”

Eshel said Israel was ready to confront any threat stemming from Syrian chemical weapons. Israel has said it would intervene militarily if such weaponry fell into unstable hands.

The air force commander also commented on the explosion in the weapons storage facility in southern Lebanon. “Someone who goes to sleep with rockets should realize that is a very unsafe place to be in,” he mused.

A Kuwaiti newspaper claimed Wednesday that the explosion — near the border on Monday — was the result of a planned attack and that the facility housed Syrian-made missiles with biological and chemical warheads. Though the report didn’t finger Israel for carrying out the strike, it said the IAF had carried out attacks on weapons caches in the past.

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