(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) Maj.-Gen. Claudio Graziano on Thursday accused Israel of violating UN Security Council Resolution 1701 that brought an end to the Second Lebanon War.
During a press conference at the United Nations headquarters in New York, Graziano cited the IAF forays over Lebanon and the village of Ghajar, which he called "a permanent violation of 1701" and "a permanent area under occupation."
A further violation, according to Graziano, was Israel's failure to provide maps of all the locations where it dropped cluster bombs during the 2006 war.
In contrast, he said that the UN enjoyed excellent cooperation with Hizbullah and with the local Lebanese people.
"At this moment Hizbullah is one of [the] parties that agrees with 1701," he stressed.
Graziano asserted that apart from UN troops, Lebanese soldiers and hunters, no one was armed south of the Litani River.
"We have seen hunters, we saw somebody moving with one weapon and he was arrested, but we never met anybody [else] moving with weapons," he said.
He conceded that his soldiers were not trying to prevent weapons smuggling from Syria as demanded by the UNSC because the Lebanese government had not requested such action.
The UNIFIL commander emphasized that Israel's numerous allegations regarding violations of the UN resolution were being investigated.