Hezbollah tunnels do not have exit points in Israel the top UN peace keeping official said yesterday during a briefing at Security Council. Speaking during a session held under the request of Israel, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, confirmed the existence of at least two tunnels crossing the “Blue Line” – the border demarcation between Lebanon and Israel – but they “do not appear thus far” to have exit points leading to the surface on Israeli territory.
Lacroix informed the Council that establishing the trajectories and points of origin of the tunnels “is a complex task” explaining that are between 29 and 46 metres below ground, difficult to detect, and near areas sensitive to both parties. However he admitted that “they are a serious violation of UN resolution 1701”; passed in 2006 bringing Israel’s fifth invasion of Lebanon to an end.
On Monday UN peacekeepers in Lebanon said that two of the four tunnels found close to the border with Israel crossed the frontier demarcation between the two countries, violating a UN resolution 1701.
Lacroix went on to warn of the “potential for miscalculation” while reminding all parties “that provocative activities along the Blue Line and heightened rhetoric contribute to an environment of increased risk.”
Lacroix informed representatives that the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) has deployed additional troops and liaison teams to sensitive locations along the Blue Line and that UNIFIL will continue to assist the parties to maintain calm and meet their obligations under Security Council Resolution 1701.
Speaking in the chamber, the Permanent Representative of Lebanon, Amal Mudallali, told Council members that her government was taking the discovery of the tunnels very seriously and assured them that her country was not responsible for any violations. At the same time, she called on Israel not take advantage of the issue to undermine the stability of Lebanon.
Kuwait’s UN Ambassador Mansour Al-Otaibi reaffirmed Lebanon’s right to protect its sovereignty saying “Lebanon has long been living with threats and violations by Israel’s army.”
He urged the international community to force Israel into abiding by Resolution 1701, which it continues to violate mainly through overflights in Lebanon.
Israel’s persistent violation of Lebanese air space was also a main talking point during a speech by Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri at Chatham House earlier this month. Speaking at the London based think tank, Hariri underscored that Israel violates Lebanon’s sovereignty on a daily basis.
“Have you ever heard of how many sorties into Lebanon or its international waters from Israel? Has anyone? Do you think this is fair?” he questioned. He said that Israel conducted 150 incursions into Lebanon last month. “Do you think it’s fair for our international waters to be penetrated ten to 20 times a month?”
Hariri pointed out that Israel still occupies parts of Lebanon, namely the Shebaa Farms. He pointed out that whilst Beirut does not want war, the Tel Aviv regime does not want peace. “[Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu doesn’t want peace. He wants a little piece of Lebanon, a little piece of Jordan and a little of Palestine,” the Lebanese premier insisted.