The UN’s immorality and UNIFIL’s counter-productivity.

I have written countless times about the UN and its various institutions and their depraved, insufferable bias against Israel.

Last week we saw it all in action once again as the UN found it impossible to condemn Hezbollah – Hezbollah! One of the world’s most violent and vicious terrorist organizations – despite the ample evidence provided by Israel of attack tunnels leading from Lebanese territory into Israel itself, and despite Israel’s asking for help from the UN in destroying the tunnels on Lebanese territory. From the ToI link above:

The United Nations failed to take action during a special Security Council session Wednesday against cross-border attack tunnels that Israel says were dug by Lebanon’s Hezbollah terror group.

IDF soldiers around the opening of a hole that leads to a tunnel that dug by the Hezbollah terror group across the Israel-Lebanon border, near Metulla, on December 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner). credit: Times of Israel.

Ahead of the meeting, Israel had urged the council to condemn the Iran-backed Hezbollah and designate it a terrorist organization.

Though the council took no action on the Israeli request, several members sided with Israel and expressed concerns over Hezbollah’s violation of a UN Security Council resolution that ended a 2006 war between the bitter enemies.

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon displays a map showing the location of Hezbollah tunnels. credit: Times of Israel.

Israel has previously urged the UN’s most powerful body to condemn Hezbollah, but has never succeeded because of divisions in the council, and there was no move Wednesday to circulate a draft resolution on the tunnels. A key reason for the lack of council action is that some members would insist that alleged Israeli violations of the 2006 resolution also be included in a resolution.

Here is the IDF spokesman talking about the tunnels, and PM Binyamin Netanyahu’s press conference before the UN debate:

Hillel Neuer, the remarkable head of UN Watch, posed an awkward but obviously rhetorical question to the UN:

Vivian Bercovici, the former Canadian Ambassador to Israel, took the UN’s peacekeeping force UNIFIL to task for looking away from Hezbollah’s aggression:

Since August 2006, UNIFIL has been mandated, pursuant to UNSC Resolution 1701, to ensure that all militia forces are kept behind the Litani River in south Lebanon, which flows four kilometres north of the border with Israel at its closest point. In other words, 1701 intends for a reasonable buffer to be maintained separating Hezbollah and IDF forces.

The Lebanese villages of Kafr Kila and Ramya are a literal stone’s throw from the Israeli border. A small, ordinary structure in Kafr Kila, said to be a “cement block factory” turned out to be anything but. There was significant and unusual activity for an agricultural village of 10,000.

With airborne devices, the IDF noticed an awful lot of heavy truck traffic going to and from the little factory. They all arrived empty and left loaded with dirt. Israel knew what it was looking at — the site of a major tunnelling operation.

All this busy work seems to have gone unnoticed by the approximately 10,500 UNIFIL soldiers working in the area. To suggest that this strains credulity is putting it mildly. What it also clearly does is raise the issue of the neutrality of the UN force.

This particular tunnel had reached 600 meters from Kafr Kila, burrowing very close to the northernmost Israeli town of Metulla. A beautiful village where 2,000 Israelis reside, Metulla is perched at the tip of a narrow jut of land, “the finger,” it is sometimes called, and surrounded on three sides by Lebanon. (It is also home to the only indoor regulation-size hockey arena in Israel, named Canada Centre.)

The view inside a Hezbollah tunnel. credit: Twitter.

Israel’s northern reaches have experienced horrific incidents too often. Among the more surreal were two brutal terrorist operations that infiltrated Israel through the Lebanese border and targeted civilians: in 1974, terrorists from the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine took hostage more than 115 schoolchildren and murdered 25; and in 1980, when Kibbutz Misgav Am was attacked by commandos from a radical splinter group under the Palestine Liberation Organization umbrella, who took hostage infants and babies with their caregivers, murdering two. An IDF soldier died in their ultimate rescue.

The 2018 version of Misgav Am and Ma’alot is far more sophisticated, engineered and financed by Iran and its proxy, Hezbollah. Apparently, the plan was to have hundreds of fighters emerge from numerous tunnels (to date three have been exposed but the IDF states that there are more), ambush and encircle Metulla and distract IDF attention and response from the regular Hizballah forces that would then, according to Nasrallah, surge the border and conquer northern Israel.

Operating within Israeli borders, the IDF has neutralized tunnels exposed thus far with explosives, but clearly intends further action. Residents in the villages hosting Hezbollah operatives have received repeated warnings from the IDF since Sunday urging them evacuate their homes, clearly signalling an imminent intention to destroy the structures used as bases for tunnel construction.

In his meeting with Maj. Gen. Del Col, IDF Chief Eisenkot made it very clear that Israel considers the tunnels to be a blatant violation of UN Resolution 1701. Based on official statements, UNIFIL’s response seems to have been a flurry of meetings with Lebanese and other officials. What UNIFIL has yet to do is explain, at all, how such significant Hezbollah military activity could continue, presumably for years, unnoticed, right under more than 10,500 noses.

Incredibly, UNIFIL seems to be questioning the obvious — whether Hezbollah is responsible for the tunnels. Following a meeting yesterday with Lebanese President Michel Aoun and Speaker Nabih Berri, Maj. Gen. Del Col issued a statement regarding the seriousness of the tunnel situation, but tempering it with a peculiar warning: “At the same time rumours and speculations should be avoided.” Presumably, this somewhat cryptic admonishment invokes the Israeli claim that Hezbollah operatives dug the tunnels.

For the UN, it would appear, Hezbollah’s culpability is anything but certain. It’s an absurdist denial and, regrettably, exactly why Hezbollah has become so entrenched in south Lebanon in spite of Resolution 1701.

This is no whodunnit. It will be interesting to see what alternate theory of reality UNIFIL suggests as to who, other than Hezbollah, might have the resources, motivation and tenacity to burrow through hard rock from Lebanon into Israel.

UNIFIL, far from being a neutral player and peacekeeper between Israel and Lebanon/Hezbollah, has shown itself to be at best cowardly and acquiescent towards the terrorists and at worst an active party to the terrorists’ activities.

The blogger “Daled Amos” at the Elder of Ziyon provides us with a detailed description of UNIFIL’s mandate, saying that UNIFIL has forgotten its mandate:

So, according to Tenenti:

UNIFIL’s job is limited to monitoring;

UNIFIL has no mandate to disarm Hezbollah;

UNIFIL is not allowed to search private property

That was on September 3.Three weeks later, Pellegrini gave an exclusive interview to The Jerusalem Post:

In his first interview to an Israeli paper since the war in Lebanon, Pellegrini revealed that last week a Syrian weapons convoy on its way to Hizbullah was intercepted by the Lebanese army near the Lebanese-Syrian border. While the new rules of engagement set by the UN allowed the new UNIFIL force to open fire in order to implement resolution 1701, Pellegrini said he would not automatically order his troops to open fire on Hizbullah guerrillas if they werespotted on their way to the Blue Line to attack Israel. The job of the new multinational force, he said, was to assist the Lebanese army and not to disarm or engage Hizbullah or even to prevent its attacks.

Pellegrini’s admission that UNIFIL is allowed to use force to implement Resolution 1701 contradicts Tenenti’s claim that UNIFIL’s role is just to monitor. That Pellegrini goes on to turn around and then claim that their role is to assist the Lebanese army and not to disarm, engage or prevent attacks is puzzling.It also contradicts the text of Resolution 1701, which:

authorizes UNIFIL to take all necessary action in areas of deployment of its
forces and as it deems within its capabilities, to ensure that its area of operations is not utilized for hostile activities of any kind,
to resist attempts by forceful means to prevent it from discharging its duties under the mandate of the Security Council, and to protect United Nations personnel, facilities, installations and equipment, ensure the security and freedom of movement of United Nations personnel, humanitarian workers and, without prejudice to the responsibility of the Government of Lebanon, to protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence;

Again, this assigns to UNIFIL more than just a monitoring role.Now, what about a mandate to disarm Hezbollah?Back to the text of Resolution 1701, which:

Requests the Secretary-General to develop, in liaison with relevant international actors and the concerned parties, proposals to implement the relevant provisions of the Taif Accords, and resolutions 1559 (2004) and 1680 (2006), including disarmament

Again, instead of maintaining just a monitoring mode, UNIFIL does have a mandate to search homes when there is evidence of violations. More than that, the text clearly states that when the illegal presence of weapons is detected, UNIFIL not only has the authority to search but also to act “with all means available” — meaning that it can disarm.There is, in fact, a documented case of UNIFIL doing a search of private homes in 2010, using sniffer dogs and resulting in villagers retaliating by grabbing the weapons of a UNIFIL patrol, throwing stones at them and blocking the road.In this case, it was UNIFIL that was disarmed.The bottom line is that clearly, the role of UNIFIL was not intended to be as
passive as Tenenti claims, limited to monitoring.

UNIFIL is allowed to use force
The issue of disarming Hezbollah is a hot potato everyone is trying to avoid, but there is no clear indication that UNIFIL cannot disarm Hezbollah in specific circumstances “to prevent hostile activities”
UNIFIL is allowed to do searches when there is evidence of a violation

The fact that Hezbollah was able to dig multiple tunnels into Israel is just one more reminder of UNIFIL’s failure to do its job.

UNIFIL not only fails to do its job, as detailed above, but Evelyn Gordon argues that it interferes in the political domain as UNIFIL deters the EU from banning Hezbollah:

It’s no secret that UNIFIL, the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon, has never done the job it’s supposedly there to do. But this week, we learned that UNIFIL isn’t merely useless; it’s counterproductive. By the very fact of its existence, the organization deters the European Union from listing Hezbollah as a terrorist organization—something which, unlike UNIFIL, would genuinely impede Hezbollah’s operations.

This dirty little secret came out after Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini called Hezbollah “Islamic terrorists” during a visit to Israel on Tuesday. The Italian Defense Ministry promptly issued a press statement blasting Salvini for “embarrassing” Rome by calling a spade a spade. “These statements obviously put in a very difficult position our men who are deployed on that southern border,” the statement warned, referring to the Italian contingent of UNIFIL deployed along Lebanon’s border with Israel.

UNIFIL and the Hezbollah tunnels – credit: AIJAC

The EU and its other member states blacklist only the military wing, not the political wing. And that’s fine by Hezbollah because, as the organization itself admits, any distinction between its political and military wings is purely fictitious. Thus as long as the political wing is legal, Hezbollah can still fundraise and recruit freely in Europe.

The conclusions from all the above are obvious:

But I’m not holding my breath waiting for the world to come to its senses.

First published at Anne’s Opinions

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  1. I can only conclude that UNIFIL built the tunnels in order to increase the fitness levels of its couchpotato conscripts.

  2. Otto Waldmann

    All we see and hear in regards with the condemnations of the UN and go through the massive evidence of a Hezbollah being what it is, makes for good to excellent reading.
    On the ground, meaning Israel proper, everything we see functions in spite of the evinced correct comments/criticism of all and sundry totally indifferent to Israel’s proper concerns.
    UN and the anti Israel agenda pedleded there seemingly without any chance of a decent turn, do their job, Israel does hers.
    If I were to be a tad more cynical than necessary (!!), I’d say that the apparent absence of support for Israel and respective sympathy, may well work in favour of Jewish State.
    As Iran has been rightly isolated from the good graces of the civilised world, her terrorist extension, Hezbollah, is allowed to function in as much as bringing onto surface its structure and, indeed, minute by minute activities. I, for one, regards it as a great advantage to Israel’s necessary sources/data in adjusting her ways of tackling the same Hezbollah and, must say with glee, that Israel is doing a sterling job in counteracting this menace and, implicitly, the bigger one, Iran itself.
    Far from saying that I enjoy seeing my Israel constantly under siege, having our soldiers under constant threat, the mere fact that Israel’s real enemies can be identified at the ready, offers me a degree of comfort and the same must be for those right in the heart of the action.
    This is also to say that, of late ( last 20 years or so ) , Israel has managed, with a bit of help from the rest of the World, to “marginalised” at least quite a few from the “good old ” list of mortal enemies.
    Israel today is in a much better, safer place than,say, back in the days of REAL wars of ’67 and ’73.
    Those who may think that I am happy with the UN, think again !!!