The Israeli Foreign Ministry and Israel Defense Forces on Friday escorted a delegation of 12 ambassadors, United Nations Security Council (UNSC) members and representatives from countries contributing to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) on a tour of the northern border.
According to a joint Foreign Ministry-IDF statement, the tour included a visit to one of the Lebanon-based terrorist group Hezbollah’s attack tunnels, exposed and sealed during “Operation Northern Shield” in Dec. 2018-Jan. 2019.
The visit was “part of an Israeli effort to advance the decision to grant UNIFIL the power and tools to effectively implement its mandate in the upcoming mandate renewal” at the end of August.
According to the head of the Foreign Ministry’s International Organizations Division, Avivit Bar-Ilan, “Effective fulfillment of the UNIFIL mandate is necessary in order to ensure regional stability and to prevent Hezbollah from gaining power in Southern Lebanon. We expect the UNSC members to adopt a decision that will grant UNIFIL the power to fulfill its duty without restrictions.”
The Head of the IDF International Cooperation Division, Brig. Gen. Effie Defrin, said, “The IDF is committed to assist UNIFIL in Southern Lebanon in fulfilling UNSC Resolution 1701. In order to preserve the stability in the area, UNIFIL must be able to move freely in southern Lebanon and report to the UNSC all violations perpetrated by the terrorist organization Hezbollah.”
UNIFIL was established in 1978, but its U.N.-NATO “peace-keeping” mandate was enhanced after the 2006 Second War in Lebanon, when it was called upon to accompany and support the deployment of Lebanese Armed Forces throughout the south of Lebanon, and to ensure that Hezbollah would not be able to rearm and threaten Israel.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has in recent weeks increased his verbal threats against Israel by claiming that his precision missiles can hit any target in the Jewish state.