Hours after the IDF operation to destroy Hezbollah tunnels began, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon called for a meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the terror group’s violation of previous council resolutions and Israel’s sovereignty.
“It is clear that Hezbollah shows willful disregard towards the Security Council and aggressively violated Resolution 1701,” Danon said of the 2006 resolution that put an end to the Second Lebanon War.
“Israel expects the international community and the Security Council to condemn this activity by Hezbollah and to demand that the Lebanese government implement Security Council resolutions,” he said. “We will do whatever it takes to defend our sovereignty and ensure the security of the residents of Israel”
In addition to taking the issue to the council, the Foreign Ministry instructed its representatives abroad to stress that the digging of these tunnels constitutes an aggressive action, is a clear violation of Israeli sovereignty, and is an additional violation of Security Council resolutions 1559 and 1701.
Resolution 1559, passed in 2004, called for all foreign forces to withdraw from Lebanon and for the “disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias.”
And resolution 1701 called upon the government of Lebanon to assert its authority and control throughout the country, in respect of the international boundary between Israel and Lebanon – and for UNIFIL to do what it must to ensure that southern Lebanon is not utilized for hostile activities.
Israel, meanwhile, is busy on the diplomatic front trying to explain the reason for the IDF’s actions. This includes the rapid distribution of short videos that were prepared in advance explaining Israel’s actions.
One minute-long video, put out by the IDF and placed on the prime minister’s and the Foreign Ministry’s social media channels, begins with the dramatic words “cleared for release,” typed on the screen.
And then, backed by foreboding music, the video explains the rationale for the operation. “Hezbollah has spent years building cross-border attack tunnels between Lebanon and Israel as part of their offensive plan that Hezbollah calls Conquering the Galilee,” the video reads, over clips of Hezbollah propaganda films and images of their fighters saluting and marching.
“Hezbollah is present in southern Lebanon, Hezbollah is armed and stockpiling weapons, Hezbollah is conducting military activities such as digging attack tunnels into Israel,” the video continues. It ends with the following in large, bold, yellow and white lettering: “The IDF won’t let Hezbollah endanger Israeli citizens; the international community shouldn’t either.”
FORMER NATIONAL Security Council head Yaakov Amidror said in a briefing on Tuesday that this operation has three components: the technological component, meaning the technological ability to detect the tunnels; the operative component – how to destroy and neutralize the tunnels; and the international framework, which is to explain why Israel is taking action to gain legitimacy for what might come next.
“The international framework is very important,” he said. “We know that now the ball is in Hezbollah‘s court. They can react, and the reaction to their reaction might be devastating. We have to prepare the world for that.”
This type of video, as well as messages Israel is communicating to capitals around the world, are intended to do just that: prepare the world for what may follow. Israeli diplomats abroad are stressing the following points:
* Israel is conducting defensive actions within its sovereign territory, has the right to defend itself, and is not interested in escalation.
* Hezbollah is a terror organization and an Iranian proxy in the region that has effectively taken control of Lebanon and is pushing an Iranian agenda, which is to undermine regional stability.
* Hezbollah is funded, supported and directed by Tehran, and the funding is made possible by the billions of dollars Iran received as sanctions were lifted as part of the Iranian nuclear deal.
* Hezbollah’s goal in building the tunnels is to attack Israel, take citizens hostage and spread terror.
These messages also include an implied threat: Hezbollah’s actions harm Lebanon and threaten to make the tremendous investments of the international community in the country worthless if Israel is forced to respond inside Lebanon.
In addition, Israeli diplomats are calling for UNIFIL to deepen its operations in Lebanon under the terms of the UN Security Council resolutions, and are also calling on the international community to designate Hezbollah a terrorist organization.
Hezbollah has already been designated a terrorist organization by Israel, the US, Canada, the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council. The EU and Australia have designated only its military wing as a terror group
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