The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Lebanon has strongly protested to Israel over the significant number of over-flights in Lebanese airspace during the last few days in violation of a Security Council resolution ending the 34-day war between Israel and Hizbollah militants in 2006.
Such violations of Lebanese sovereignty tend to exacerbate local apprehensions and are in contravention of the mission’s objectives and efforts to reduce tensions and establish a stable security environment in south Lebanon, the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) said, adding it had reported the incidents to the Council through the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO).
Since it was enlarged following the 2006 war, the 13,000-strong UNIFIL has continually protested the alleged repeated Israeli over-flights.
On Friday, it announced that, in close coordination with the Lebanese army, it was investigating a significant cache of explosives found in southern Lebanon near Israel, the latest such incident in the area where Israel and Hizbollah militants fought.
Last October there were two series of explosions in the area and other incidents included the firing of rockets into Israel, as well as repeated Israeli over-flights, all in violation of Council resolution 1701, which calls for an end to hostilities between Israel and Hizbollah, respect for the so-called Blue Line separating the Israeli and Lebanese sides, disarming of militias and an end to arms smuggling.
In an October report, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called disbanding militias in Lebanon “of vital importance” to the country’s democracy. “The threats posed by the existence of militias outside the control of the State, especially Hizbollah’s vast paramilitary infrastructure, cannot be overstated,” he said.