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IDF chief meets head of UNIFIL, decries Hezbollah violations on Lebanon border

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi meets with the head of the United Nations peacekeeping force in Lebanon UNIFIL to discuss the Hezbollah terror group and its presence in southern Lebanon in violation of the UN Security Council resolution that ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War, the military says.

“During the meeting, they discussed the security situation of southern Lebanon and UNIFIL’s missions in the area, against the backdrop of Hezbollah’s ongoing violations of UN Security Council resolution 1701 and the Lebanese military’s lack of enforcement as the sovereign,” the Israel Defense Forces says in a statement.

The UN peacekeeping force is tasked with ensuring the resolution is maintained, though its limited mandate prevents it from being able to enforce the provisions of the order that require all armed groups besides the Lebanese military to remain north of the country’s Litani River. Israel also violates Lebanese airspace by flying missions over the country in violation of the resolution, something that is regularly denounced by Beirut. Israel maintains that such operations are necessary in light of Hezbollah’s illicit terrorist activities in the country.

Though UNIFIL is generally seen as ineffectual in preventing violations of UN Resolution 1701, it is seen by Israel as a crucial intermediary with Lebanon, which does not maintain regular relations with the Jewish state. UNIFIL is also responsible for regularly updating the UN Security Council on the situation along the border, which keeps the threat posed by Hezbollah on the international community’s radar.

“The IDF sees UNIFIL as an important and significant force in preserving regional stability and expects it to transmit detailed, honest and rapid reports and investigations. In addition, UNIFIL is expected to carry out to rigorously enforce the violations of an international resolution that are being carried out by the terror army Hezbollah,” the IDF says.

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