Defense Minister Yoav Gallant met with United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres at UN headquarters in New York earlier this week. “The potential for a violent escalation on Israel’s northern border is growing as a result of flagrant violations by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah,” Gallant reportedly told Guterres. “The UN must act immediately.”
Hezbollah’s threats have been rising as the terrorist group increasingly conducts provocative activities along the border. UN resolutions were supposed to prevent Hezbollah from increasing its arsenal, but the UN has looked on as Hezbollah expanded its illegal missile stockpiles from several thousand to more than 150,000 today.
This has all taken place since 2006 under UN eyes. Hezbollah has not only stockpiled missiles and rockets, it has also increasingly sought to import and manufacture precision-guided munitions, enabling it to carry out more precise attacks on Israel. The group has set up bunkers and infrastructure throughout towns and villages in southern Lebanon, transforming the region into an armed camp and forcing civilians to live next to its dangerous weapons stockpiles.
Gallant’s office said he and Guterres held a positive and productive discussion that focused on growing threats to Israel’s security and to stability in the Middle East region. The question now is whether the UN will act.
Gallant and Israel are doing their utmost to raise a red flag through diplomatic channels about the dangers posed by Hezbollah. Israel has often been told that it must consult international partners and work within the guidelines of international organizations such as the UN, which frequently criticize Israel for engaging in self-defense.
The UN was warned about Hezbollah. They have managed to stop nothing
Here we see clear evidence that despite Israel’s warnings about the illegal activities of Hezbollah, the UN is failing to do enough to prevent or document the terrorist group’s illegal activities. That Hezbollah operates openly and has so many weapons clearly contravenes international law and UN resolutions.
Hezbollah recently moved a tent into sovereign Israeli territory, and it has established dozens of terrorist outposts along the border. Hezbollah sometimes disguises these outposts as having some kind of environmental or agricultural purpose, but they are fooling no one. Israel has warned about an escalated presence and more patrols along the border by Hezbollah operatives.
The UN must immediately intervene to prevent an escalation. It is in the interests of millions of Lebanese and Israeli civilians that Hezbollah’s terrorist army be prevented from engaging in more provocations that could lead to conflict. The UN must implement the UNIFIL mandate in Lebanon, but it can’t do that unless it has freedom of movement in Lebanon. Hezbollah, for its part, has worked to curtail UN operations and has even attacked the UN and murdered an Irish UN peacekeeper.
Israel will not tolerate increasing threats to the security of its citizens, and Gallant has said the country will act as required to defend itself. The wider threat posed by Hezbollah’s sponsor, Iran, is also a growing problem. Iran has sought to destabilize the West Bank, flooding the territory with weapons and funding and promoting terrorism.
Iran also operates in Syria and Iraq and is a major threat to many other countries in the region and around the world. The Iranian regime’s role continues to be nefarious and must be checked; its pursuit of nuclear weapons is another part of this threat.
Gallant expressed his appreciation to Guterres for his personal contribution and investment in helping with Israeli soldiers and citizens held by Hamas, which is also supported by Iran. It is essential that the UN and others work to apply pressure on the terrorist organization to release the Israelis held in Gaza.
The Hezbollah moves in southern Lebanon illustrate how the group is acting with impunity. It exploits the power vacuum in Lebanon to do as it pleases. It is essential that the international community and all relevant stakeholders act to ensure that Lebanon is not used by Hezbollah to threaten Israel. It is incumbent on the UN and others to closely monitor Hezbollah’s activity and prevent spillover that threatens Israel and directly harms civilians on both sides.