Israel says Hezbollah set up Lebanon post under NGO guise

UN Resolution 1701 prohibits Hezbollah to conduct military activity in south Lebanon near the Israel border. (File/AFP)
Updated 22 October 2018
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Israel says Hezbollah set up Lebanon post under NGO guise

  • Israel has relayed its concerns to the UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon, and asked them to visit the positions

JERUSALEM: The Israeli military on Monday said it uncovered a militant outpost on the Lebanese border that Hezbollah guerrillas have set up under the guise of an environmental advocacy group.
A senior officer from the military’s Northern Command told reporters that the new observation post in the village of Al-Adisa violates the United Nations resolution that ended the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war and bars militant activity in southern Lebanon. He said Hezbollah is using a tree-planting campaign by the “Green Without Borders” association as a cover for its activity along the border to gather intelligence on Israeli troops.
The Lebanese non-governmental organization has acknowledged its affiliation with the militant group but claims its purpose on the border is purely environmental.
The Israeli officer, speaking on condition of anonymity under military guidelines, said the army discovered five other Hezbollah posts in 2017, in breach of the UN agreement.
“We haven’t seen any Hezbollah arms yet, but we can see military infrastructure and it’s clear this is part of extensive activity in south Lebanon and in Lebanon in general that is a threat to the IDF and to Israel,” the officer said, referring to the Israeli Defense Forces. “This is of course a buildup that we cannot tolerate.”
The Israeli military on Monday released photos of what it said were the Hezbollah observation posts. One photo showed a uniformed man peering through a window with high-tech binoculars.
Andrea Tenenti, a spokesman for the UN peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon, said UNIFIL has “not observed any unauthorized armed persons” at the position and “continues to monitor activities closely,” including those of the environmental group.
The Israeli-Lebanon border, though tense, has been mostly quiet in recent years under UN supervision.
Israel and Hezbollah fought a devastating monthlong war in 2006, which ended in a stalemate.
Since then, Hezbollah has amassed an arsenal that is believed to include well over 100,000 missiles and rockets aimed at Israel.


UN Security Council meets on Gaza violence

A photo taken on November 12, 2018 shows a ball of fire above the building housing the Hamas-run television station al-Aqsa TV in Gaza City during an Israeli air strike. (AFP)
Updated 14 November 2018
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UN Security Council meets on Gaza violence

  • Seven Palestinians were killed in Gaza as Israeli strikes targeted militants and flattened buildings
  • Palestinian militant groups including Hamas, which rules Gaza, issued a joint statement earlier announcing an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire with Israel

UNITED NATIONS, United States: The UN Security Council met behind closed doors Tuesday to discuss the escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip but there was no agreement on how to address the crisis, diplomats said.
Kuwait, which represents Arab countries at the council, and Bolivia requested the meeting following the worst flareup in Gaza since the 2014 war between Hamas and Israel.
Addressing reporters after the 50-minute meeting, Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour said the council was “paralyzed” and had “failed to shoulder its responsibility” to take action to end the violence.
“There is one country that is not allowing discussion at the council,” Mansour told reporters, in a reference to the United States, which has taken a pro-Israeli stance under President Donald Trump.
There was no statement from the council on the crisis. Such statements are agreed by consensus by all 15 council members.
Kuwait’s Ambassador Mansour Al-Otaibi said the majority of council members were of the view that the top UN body “should do something” and some suggested a visit to the region, but no decision was taken.
Palestinian militant groups including Hamas, which rules Gaza, issued a joint statement earlier announcing an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire with Israel.
The groups said they would abide by the truce as long as Israel did the same, but there was no immediate comment from the Israeli side.
Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon earlier said “we will not accept a call for both sides to exercise restraint” and laid the blame for the violence squarely on the Palestinians.
Seven Palestinians were killed in Gaza as Israeli strikes targeted militants and flattened buildings in the worst escalation of violence since the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas.
The latest round of violence began on Sunday with a botched Israeli special forces operation inside the Gaza Strip that turned deadly and prompted Hamas to vow revenge.
Palestinian militants responded with rocket and mortar fire. An anti-tank missile hit a bus that Hamas says was being used by Israeli soldiers. A soldier was severely wounded in the attack.
Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza have fought three wars since 2008, and protests and clashes along the Gaza border since March 30 have repeatedly raised fears of a fourth.