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US rejects Israel’s request to sanction Lebanon

December 13, 2018 at 10:10 am

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (L) shakes hands with President of Lebanon Michel Aoun (R) during their meeting at Baabda Presidential Palace in Beirut, Lebanon on 15 February 2018 [Houssam Shbaro/Anadolu Agency]

The United States (US) has rejected an Israeli request to impose sanctions on Lebanon and the Lebanese army to hold it responsible for cross-border tunnels allegedly dug by Hezbollah along the Lebanon-Israel border, Haaretz reported yesterday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to impose sanctions on Lebanon, accusing it of “violating the United Nations’ resolution 1701”. The resolution ended the 2006 Israeli war on Lebanon.

Pompeo was reported to have rejected the Israeli request, yet agreed to draw up harsh sanctions on Hezbollah. Citing the US-Lebanon close military ties, he stressed that the “US has no interest in undermining them [military ties].”

Operation Northern Shield: Israel’s new wars

Israel recently called for a UN Security Council meeting to discuss what it described as “Hezbollah’s tunnels along the Lebanese-Israeli border.” The country’s UN envoy Danny Danon pledged to provide photos of the tunnels and accused Hezbollah and Iran of “committing war crimes”.

“Israel has no intent for military escalation and will aim to protect its borders,” Danon said.

Last week, the Israeli army launched a military operation, dubbed “Operation Northern Shield”, with the aim of thwarting and exposing what it called “Hezbollah tunnels along the border with Lebanon”. Since the announcement, the Israeli army said it had discovered three tunnels “stemming from southern Lebanon and leading into Israel.”