Netanyahu: UNIFIL failing to report weapons smuggling

PM tells UN chief Resolution 1701 not being implemented, accuses international community of ignoring Iranian terrorism

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon shakes hands with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a joint news conference in Jerusalem on October 13, 2012. (Photo credit: Emil Salman/POOL/Flash90)
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon shakes hands with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a joint news conference in Jerusalem on October 13, 2012. (Photo credit: Emil Salman/POOL/Flash90)

In a conversation with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu charged Sunday that the United Nations was failing to implement Security Council Resolution 1701 and that soldiers from the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) were “not reporting on the smuggling of weapons into southern Lebanon.”

Passed unanimously by the Security Council in August 2006, Resolution 1701 effectively ended 34 days of fighting between Israel and Hezbollah, known as the Second Lebanon War. The document called for the disarmament of all groups, including Hezbollah, and the ban on all armed forces except UNIFIL and the Lebanese Army in southern Lebanon, two stipulations that were never implemented. Israel believes Hezbollah’s weapons stock has been replenished and significantly upgraded since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011. According to foreign reports, Israel has launched several preemptive airstrikes over the past few years aimed at preventing advanced weaponry from reaching the terror group.

Netanyahu also told Ban the international community was ignoring Iran’s efforts to “export terrorism around the world,” accusing Tehran of being behind the Hezbollah attack on the Israel-Lebanon border that killed two IDF soldiers last week and of trying to establish a new front against Israel in the Golan Heights with its involvement in Syria.

Netanyahu thanked the UN chief for his condolences over the deaths of Yohai Kalangel and Dor Chaim Nini who were killed Wednesday when their convoy was attacked by a Hezbollah unit with anti-tank missiles.The Lebanese terror group and Iran have indicated the assault was in response to a January 18 airstrike — attributed to Israel — on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights that killed 12 Hezbollah and Iranian operatives, including a general.

Following last week attack on the IDF convoy, Israeli ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor demanded the Security Council “unequivocally and publicly condemn Hezbollah,” charging that the international community was “ignoring our numerous alerts on the escalating threat” posed by the terror group.

“Israel will not stand by as Hezbollah targets Israelis and will not accept any attacks on its territory. Israel will exercise its right to self-defense and take all necessary measures to protect its population,” said Prosor.

Israel responded to the attack with airstrikes and artillery fire in an exchange that claimed the life of a 36-year-old Spanish UNIFIL soldier when one of the shells reportedly hit a UN compound.

Expressing his regret to Ban over the death of Lance Corporal Francisco Javier Toledo amid accusations he was killed by Israeli fire, Netanyahu noted that Jerusalem and Madrid were set to launch a joint investigation into the incident.

On Friday, footage emerged claiming to show the Israeli strike that killed the UN peacekeeper.

In the conversation with Ban, Netanyahu also charged that the Palestinians’ appeal to the International Criminal Court could “undermine regional stability” and was a “dangerous step.”

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