'UN observers failing mandate to track Hezbollah arms'

By REUTERS
April 4, 2013 22:43

 
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UN peacekeepers in southern Lebanon have failed to report on Hezbollah guerrilla armaments as required, a senior Israeli official said on Thursday, arguing that Israel could not rely on foreign intervention for its security.

The remarks underscored the conservative strategies of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as instability rocks Israel's neighbors and world powers urge it to evacuate its West Bank settlements to make way for Palestinian state.

Iranian- and Syrian-backed Hezbollah has been building its arsenal despite the 35-year presence of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in its heartland, Netanyahu's national security adviser Ya'akov Amidror said in a Tel Aviv University speech.

"Has Hezbollah avoided bringing any kind of rocket, missile or other arms into southern Lebanon because UNIFIL is there?" he said. Israel believes Hezbollah has amassed 60,000 rockets, including 5,000 with heavy warheads capable of hitting Tel Aviv.

"Under their (UNIFIL) mandate, they cannot stop Hezbollah and confiscate its arms, but they can write a report. There has been no UNIFIL report about any weapon of any Hezbollah person since UNIFIL has existed," Amidror said.

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