UN under-secretary-general says border breachers ‘innocent'

Reuben, Ayalon send formal protests after breaches of Israeli borders from Lebanon, Syria; call for int'l community to come to Israel's defense.

By JORDANA HORN, JPOST CORRESPONDENT
May 17, 2011 21:01
1 minute read.
The United Nations headquarters in New York.

United Nations 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

NEW YORK – Ambassador to the UN Meron Reuben and Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon both lodged protests in recent days against UN envoys and officials regarding Sunday’s breaches of Israel’s borders.

Reuben sent two letters to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council on Monday, lodging formal complaints regarding the violent intrusions on the Syria and Lebanese borders.

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Syrian and Lebanese representatives made their views known as well.

On Tuesday, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon met with UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos, as well as EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Kristalina Georgieva. During his meeting, Ayalon lodged a protest against Amos, who characterized those who breached Israel’s borders Sunday as “innocent.”

“It is incumbent that a United Nations senior official will denounce the provocative violence against Israel, its citizens and its sovereignty, instead of pointing the finger at a democracy trying to defend itself,” Ayalon said.

“Israel’s territory is not worthless and will not be abandoned. Israel has the right and duty, as does any nation, to defend itself and its borders. It is disappointing that the person in charge of humanitarian affairs at the UN requires explanations on why defensible borders are a fundamental right of Israel’s citizens. Israelis are not second class citizens and they are entailed to all the rights of citizens of other nations.”

Lebanon also filed a complaint with the UN against Israel. Lebanese Ambassador to the UN Nawaf Salam said that IDF troops “opened fire” on unarmed protesters Sunday. He claimed Lebanese troops had taken “tight security measures” to escort the group on the demarcation line between the two countries.

The deaths on Sunday, Salam said, highlight “Israel’s aggressive nature, as it did not hesitate to use excessive force against civilians in blatant contravention of international law and customs.”

Lebanon, which has one of the rotating seats on the 15-nation Security Council, asked the council on Monday to “pressure Israel to renounce its belligerent and provocative policy toward Lebanon and hold it responsible” for the deaths.

UN officials warned on Tuesday that there would be further deaths and instability unless a lasting solution was found to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


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