UN report ignores Hizbullah violations

Paper reportedly doesn't mention group rearming; sources: Prisoner swap expected within a week.

Ban Ki Moon 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Ban Ki Moon 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
The quarterly report on UNSC resolution 1701 submitted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Tuesday does not accuse Hizbullah of violating the terms of the cease-fire, despite Israeli allegations that the Shi'ite militia has retaken its border positions and continues to amass rockets and other arms banned under the resolution. "Israel maintains that Hizbullah is continuing to build its military presence and capacity [not only] north of the Litani River but also in [the] UNIFIL area of operations, in both open and urban areas, including private houses," the report states. "To date, it [UNIFIL] has found no evidence of new military infrastructure in the area of operations." However, the report goes on to list a number of incidents, including one involving "armed elements," though it stops short of mentioning Hizbullah by name. The report states that UNIFIL did encounter "unauthorized armed personnel" on one occasion during the night of March 30-31. According to the report, when UNIFIL began following a suspicious truck towing a trailer near the village of Jubal al-Butum, "two cars with five armed elements arrived at the scene and blocked the road." Though "the armed elements" left three minutes later, the truck managed to escape. In the report, the Secretary General says he "continues to believe that the disarmament of Hizbullah and other militias should take place through a Lebanese-led political process." Deputy Permanent Representative of Israel to the UN Dani Carmon said "We attach great importance to the implementation of 1701, and these reports are an important instrument of the international community which could improve even more the implementation of the resolution." "As long as this UN report will paint a clear and comprehensive picture of the situation in South Lebanon where Hizbullah is redeploying and where the embargo is being violated, the better, because it will be apparent where implementation should be improved." Pieced together, the incidents mentioned in the report paint a picture of the situation South of the Litani River, but the UN Secretary General remains hesitant when it comes to drawing any conclusions. Diplomatic sources quoted by Army Radio assessed that the conciliatory tone of the report stemmed from the UN's desire to maintain political stability in Lebanon. There has been no significant change in the border security arrangement along the Eastern frontier of Lebanon with Syria, the report states. Due to deterioration of security in Lebanon in early May and the resignation of the government later that month the UN was unable to dispatch a team of experts to carry out a border assessment, but suggests that the team will sent out as soon as possible. According to the report, UNIFIL recorded and protested an "unprecedented number" of violations by Israel of Lebanese airspace. The report said violation occurred at an average rate of more than 20 times a day in March and April. The report also mentions that IDF remained in control of part of the village of Ghajar and a small adjacent area north of the Blue Line. "This is a continuous source of tension which could easily escalate," the report states. Ki-Moon also notes that there has been no progress on the issue of Lebanese border delineation. On the issue of Mount Dov (Shaba Farms) the Secretary general said he had received a letter from Prime Minister Saniora welcoming the completion of the cartographic work to define the area. Niether Syria nor Israel have responded to requests by the Secretary General to reply to his previous report on the matter.