Israel pleased with UN report on Lebanon

Report reportedly said Hizbullah had rearmed itself and obtained missiles with a range of 250 km.

hizbullah 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
hizbullah 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Israeli officials Wednesday termed as "balanced" and "important" a report by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which put an end to the Second Lebanon War. The report, which was expected to be released in New York later in the day, reportedly said Hizbullah had rearmed itself and obtained missiles with a range of 250 km. that would be able to hit areas south of Tel Aviv. Ban also reportedly wrote in the report that the weapons smuggling from Syria into Lebanon, in violation of 1701, was continuing, a fact that he called "grave." Ban presents a report on implementation of 1701 to the Security Council every four months. The report also noted that according to information provided by Israel, Hizbullah was rearming itself south of the Litani River, and that given this development, UNIFIL forces and the Lebanese army were increasing their efforts to patrol the area. Further, Israeli intelligence passed on to the UN stated that the number of land-to-sea missiles in Hizbullah's stockpile has tripled. The report criticized Israel for not relaying details of its cluster bombing campaign during the Second Lebanon War, and for continuing overflights of Lebanon. A Senior Foreign Ministry official said that while Israel was pleased that the report mentioned Hizbullah's arms buildup, "it is one thing to point to a problem, and another to find answers." The official said Israel was satisfied that the report called for the immediate release of kidnapped soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, and that their continued captivity cast a heavy cloud over 1701. Regarding criticism of Israel for the overflights, something the IDF says is essential for security reasons, the official said, "Unfortunately, Hizbullah's military activity requires Israel to take precautions." As for the cluster bomb issue, the official said Israel would "continue cooperating with the UN on this." They did not elaborate. •