Hezbollah members near an outpost one kilometer from the Israeli border, released by the army October 22, 2018.
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
News that Hezbollah has captured a bird of prey and is holding it as a suspected Israeli spy is periodically creating local headlines and raising smirks. But what happened this week might shed some light on the Hezbollah way of thinking – and it is no laughing matter.
On Monday, the IDF announced that it had uncovered an observation post used by the terrorist group about a kilometer from Israel’s northern border. It was the sixth such post discovered in the past couple of years.
The Lebanese Shi’ite terrorist organization had sinisterly tried to conceal the intelligence gathering post as a birdwatching station for a non-existent environmental NGO called “Green Without Borders.”
Like the Hamas terror tunnels spreading from Gaza toward and into Israeli territory, there is nothing innocent about the activity. Hezbollah, like Hamas, is funded and supported by Iran; both terrorist organizations have a history of kidnapping and murdering Israeli soldiers and citizens.
The hidden Hezbollah post was located in the village of al-Adisa, just across the border from Kibbutz Misgav Am. Nobody in the kibbutz needs a reminder of the cost of terrorism. In 1980, five Palestinian terrorists crossed the nearby border and penetrated the community and held hostage a group of toddlers sleeping in the then-typical kibbutz “children house.” A two-year-old and an adult kibbutz member were killed in the attack, along with an Israeli soldier who was participating in the rescue.
Hezbollah’s cynical use of a fictitious environmental group as a guise for intelligence gathering is yet another flagrant violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which set the terms to end the month-long Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006. The resolution bans any military presence south of the Litani River except for the Lebanese Army and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).
A senior official in the Northern Command was reported as saying, “Hezbollah is building military infrastructure along the border with armed men moving there when they are watching the Israeli border. This is military infrastructure in civilian guise... The objective is to gather intelligence on the border.”
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As the Jerusalem Post’s military correspondent Anna Ahronheim noted on Tuesday, the phenomenon is well known. In February, the Post reported that UNIFIL peacekeepers accused Hezbollah and the Lebanese Army of hampering their work. The UNIFIL forces were denied access to a location in a southern Lebanese village by three men wearing military-style outfits who had left a mosque bearing a Green Without Borders flag.
Such actions make a mockery not only of Resolution 1701, but also bring into question the role of UN peace keepers in the area in general. UNIFIL publications stress that its main focus has been on “restoring international peace and security” with the functions of an observer and monitoring mission.
According to UNIFIL’s own website, under the terms of Resolution 1701, the UN Security Council authorized UNIFIL to “take all necessary action in areas of deployment of its forces and as it deems within its capabilities, to ensure that its area of operations is not utilized for hostile activities of any kind. It should also resist attempts by forceful means to prevent it from discharging its duties under the mandate of the Security Council.”
What is the point of observing and monitoring without taking any action? That UNIFIL is watching Hezbollah but not acting on what is sees, or not capable of acting, only encourages the terrorist organization.
It also gives the wrong message elsewhere in the North, where United Nations Disengagement Observer Force peacekeepers are meant to be safekeeping the border between Israel and Syria. UNDOF only recently resumed its full activities there – having fled, with the help of Israel, following a series on kidnappings and attacks on its members by Islamist terrorist groups that took over the area in 2014 during the ongoing Syrian civil war.
The time has come for the international community to ensure that UN forces carry out the job they were sent to do: preventing hostile activity. Hezbollah is clearly gathering intelligence and waiting for the opportunity to attack Israelis. The United Nations cannot say it didn’t know; if it doesn’t take real action to prevent an attack, the UN will be complicit in it.
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