UNIFIL peacekeepers patrol the border with Israel near the Lebanese village of Kfar Kila, Dec. 4, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Ali Hashisho.
Israel welcomed a United Nations Security Council vote on Thursday afternoon that renewed and strengthened the mandate of UNIFIL, the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon.
The new provisions in the mandate include a clear call on the Lebanese government to allow access to UNIFIL forces and increased reporting on the transfer of weapons to terrorist groups in Lebanon such as Hezbollah, a political and military proxy of the Iranian regime.
Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, commented in a statement that the “updated mandate sends a clear message to the Lebanese government: restrain Hezbollah.”
Danon asserted that Hezbollah’s “grip on southern Lebanon is intended to only harm the State of Israel and endanger the entire region.”
He continued: “Israel will not accept such a reality, and calls on the international community to act resolutely against the Iranian proxy in Lebanon.”
The strengthened mandate of UNIFIL — a force of more than 10,000 UN peacekeepers from countries including India, France, Ireland, Nepal and Ghana — was a result of diplomatic efforts by Israel and the United States to strengthen the peacekeeping force following revelations of Hezbollah attacks on UNIFIL personnel.
Danon made clear that while UNIFIL was “required to take responsibility and act according to its mandate, Israel holds the Lebanese government solely responsible for Hezbollah’s activities on its territory.”