Head of Military Intelligence: Hezbollah is tightening grip on Lebanon

Herzi Halevi told UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres that the organization should do more to prevent the next war.

Head of the IDF Intelligence Directorate Major General Herzi Halevi meets with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in Jerusalem (photo credit: COURTESY IDF SPOKESMAN'S OFFICE)
Head of the IDF Intelligence Directorate Major General Herzi Halevi meets with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in Jerusalem
The head of the IDF Intelligence Directorate, Maj.- Gen. Herzi Halevi, told UN head Antonio Guterres in Jerusalem this week that Hezbollah is tightening its hold on Lebanon, citing serious and prolonged violations of Security Council Resolution 1701 by the terrorist group.
The IDF has accused the Shi’ite terrorist organization numerous times of violating the resolution that set the terms for ending the 34-day Second Lebanon War fought between Israel and Hezbollah in the summer of 2006.
According to IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, while UNIFIL is helping maintain calm in southern Lebanon, its leadership does not do enough when Hezbollah violates the resolution. Eisenkot has accused Hezbollah of continuing to prepare themselves for war in villages, cities and towns south of the Litani River “arming itself with more lethal and accurate weapons to harm the Israeli home front.”
During their meeting in Jerusalem Monday evening, Halevi told the UN secretary-general that UNIFIL holds an important role with Hezbollah and could exert more pressure to hinder the group’s effort to strengthen its position in Lebanon. He also stressed that more could and should be done on the UN’s part, not only to preserve peace but to prevent the next war.
The head of Military Intelligence also briefed Guterres on the intelligence situation in various sectors.
Iran’s desire to produce precision weapons for Hezbollah on Lebanese soil and in the Syrian military industry is a serious development that Israel cannot be indifferent to, he stressed.
In early July, Halevi confirmed reports of that Hezbollah has operated and managed two underground weapons factories set up by the IRGC in response to alleged Israeli strikes against weapons convoys in Syria.
According to the report, the factories can produce missiles, such as Fateh-110 surface-to-surface missiles with a range of up to 300 km. and the capability to carry a 400-kg. warhead, as well as surface-to-air and antitank missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles that can carry explosives.
According to Halevi, the strengthening of Hezbollah in Lebanon, as well as the entrenchment of Iran in Syria and its desire to produce precise weapons for the group, could lead to problems for Israel.
“The consolidation of Iran and the Shi’ite axis in Syria and the strengthening of Hezbollah in Lebanon are two processes that could lead to an undesirable escalation in the northern front,” he said.
The meeting also was attended by UN Deputy Secretary- General Jeffrey David Feltman, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nikolay Mladenov and Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon.
“Iran is developing a terrorist incubator in Syria and Lebanon and is trying to ignite a fire in the entire region,” Danon told Guterres. “The United Nations must act to uproot the roots of Iranian terrorism and UNIFIL must cleanse southern Lebanon of all of Hezbollah’s terrorist activities.”
On Friday, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley harshly criticized the commander of UNIFIL, Maj.- Gen. Michael Beary, accusing him of turning a blind eye to Iran’s covert arming of Hezbollah.
“General Beary says there are no Hezbollah weapons,” she said. ”That’s an embarrassing lack of understanding on what’s going on around him.”
Jerusalem has repeatedly said it would not allow Iran to set up a permanent presence in Syria, and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman has warned that while there is no interest by Israel to enter into Syria’s seven-year civil war, there are redlines that Jerusalem has set including the smuggling of sophisticated weaponry to Hezbollah and an Iranian presence on its borders.
Since the war in 2006, hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah have been limited to occasional firing across the border and reported air strikes by Israel against Hezbollah leaders and military equipment in Syria where the group is fighting in support of President Bashar Assad.