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Israel FM threatens ‘regional war’ over tensions in Lebanon

November 23, 2023 at 11:21 am

Foreign Affairs Minister of Israel Eli Cohen addresses the press on the situation in the Middle East at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City on October 24, 2023 [David Dee Delgado/Getty Images]

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen has sent a letter to the UN Security Council containing an “explicit warning” about the possibility of a “regional war” due to the situation in southern Lebanon, Israel’s Channel 12 reported on Tuesday.

Cohen warned in the “extraordinary” letter that if Security Council Resolution 1701 is not fully implemented and the presence of Hezbollah’s Radwan Unit continues on the border, and if the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) does not use all its capabilities to prevent any illegal military presence south of the Litani River, a “regional war” could break out.

“In the interest of regional stability and preventing further escalation – the upcoming UN Security Council discussion must adopt a fundamentally different approach to ending serious violations committed by Hezbollah and other terrorist organisations at the border,” Cohen wrote.

Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 Israeli war on Lebanon, stipulates that Hezbollah should not be allowed to operate in southern Lebanon and that the entire southern Lebanon region must be free of any armed presence and weapons other than those belonging to the Lebanese government.

The mission of UNIFIL, which acts as a buffer between Lebanon and Israel in the border area, is to implement Resolution 1701.

Earlier this month, US envoy, Amos Hochstein, issued a veiled warning to Lebanon about a fate similar to the Gaza war, if the escalation in the border area with Israel continues, and stressed the necessity of implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1701.

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