Lebanon files complaint to UN Security Council as Israeli warplanes roam airspace

UNIFIL has recorded a number of flights over Lebanese airspace in recent days by Israeli unmanned and fighter aircraft. (Shutterstock)
UNIFIL has recorded a number of flights over Lebanese airspace in recent days by Israeli unmanned and fighter aircraft. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 12 January 2021

Lebanon files complaint to UN Security Council as Israeli warplanes roam airspace

Lebanon files complaint to UN Security Council as Israeli warplanes roam airspace
  • The army command stressed that “the issue of the violations is being discussed with the UN Interim Force In Lebanon (UNIFIL).”

BEIRUT: Lebanon filed a complaint to the UN Security Council against Israel on Tuesday, over the latter’s continued violation of Lebanese airspace.

The Lebanese Armed Forces command said that at least eight air violations were recorded by Israeli warplanes, which carried out low-altitude flights over the south and Mount Lebanon, in one day alone.

It added: “The air violations are accompanied by sea violations. An Israeli gunboat violated on Monday Lebanese territorial waters off Ras Al-Naqoura in four stages and for a maximum distance of about 314 meters.”

The army command stressed that “the issue of the violations is being discussed with the UN Interim Force In Lebanon (UNIFIL).”

MP Walid Sukkarieh, a retired Lebanese army officer, told Arab News: “There are two types of Israeli aircraft that violate the Lebanese airspace: Drones, which aim to monitor the movements on the ground, especially Hezbollah’s movements, and F-16 and F-17 warplanes, which are flying over Lebanon these days to show off.

“Israel was betting on US President Donald Trump launching a war on Iran, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cannot perform this mission alone without the US. However, what happened in the US Congress made Trump back off on this adventure, and when the factors of war crumble, Israel resorts to show off its strength in this manner.”

He added that he believed that “neither Iran nor Hezbollah wants any war, nor do they have an interest in it.”

UNIFIL has recorded a number of flights over Lebanese airspace in recent days by Israeli unmanned and fighter aircraft, said its spokesman Andrea Tenenti, who stressed that these are violations of Resolution 1701 and Lebanese sovereignty.

“We have once again called on the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) Command to cease the overflights,” he said. “The continued violations increase fear among the local population and undermine our efforts to reduce tensions and establish a stable security environment in southern Lebanon.”

Tenenti said: “In this tense period in the region, UNIFIL’s efforts are to maintain a calm and stable situation along the Blue Line. To this end, UNIFIL strongly cautions the parties against any activities that could trigger incidents and endanger the cessation of hostilities between Lebanon and Israel.”

Based on the directives of President Michel Aoun, caretaker Foreign Minister Charbel Wehbe filed a complaint to the UN Security Council and UN Secretary-General António Guterres against Israel’s violation of Lebanon’s sovereignty, through Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Lebanon to the UN Amal Mudallali.

The complaint, which was distributed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, referred to “the persistent and serious air violations carried out for a few days,” describing them as “a flagrant violation of Security Council Resolution 1701,” and highlighting that “this requires the Security Council to condemn Israel for these attacks and put an end to them immediately in order to preserve stability, security, and peace in the region.”

The army command had spoken of an Israeli sea violation on Jan. 8. The violation was carried out by an Israeli gunboat that entered Lebanese territorial waters off Ras Al-Naqoura in four stages, reaching a maximum distance of about 370 meters, and the gunboat’s personnel threw three flare shells over the aforementioned sea spot. The army command highlighted that another violation took place opposite Ras Al-Naqoura at a distance of about 444 meters, which lasted three minutes.

Many Lebanese recalled previous fears of possible Israeli attacks on Lebanon, similar to what happened in 2016. Many activists expressed this on social media, and “warplanes in the airspace” trended on Twitter and elsewhere. Others took pictures of the Israeli warplanes, complaining of the noise they made, with one person noting: “It seems that we will get used to the sound of the enemy aircraft, just as we got used to the collapse of the Lebanese pound.”

Another activist asked: “The lockdown in Lebanon saw (the imposition of) an odd and even car license plate rule on alternating days. I hope this reaches the Israelis, so that (their) F-16 and F-17 jets fly on alternating days.”