Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon said on Wednesday that major changes need to be made in the operations of the UNIFIL peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon.
“We have seen that slowly there [are fewer] places that the troops in the peacekeeping operation can actually travel in southern Lebanon. So we want them to have full freedom of movement,” said Danon according to an AP report.
“I have discussed it with the commander of the force, and we tell them, ‘You are there, you cannot move, and you can’t inspect, so why you are there?’ ” posed Danon. “ ‘You have to be more active, you have to move freely and you have to inspect all sites.’ ”
The Israeli ambassador insisted that any time the peacekeepers are blocked, the U.N. Security Council must be immediately informed.
The mandate for the UNIFIL mission near the Lebanese-Israeli border is set to be renewed in the coming months. The peacekeeping force is meant to maintain peace between the terrorist group Hezbollah and Israel, but its effectiveness has long been questioned because Hezbollah is limiting its activities.
According to the report, Danon added that “we proved in the past that Hezbollah are digging tunnels, they are bringing weapons to the border, and in the last few weeks, we have had a few incidents on the border.”
“We are not calling to shut down the mission tomorrow morning, but we are saying if they cannot change, if they cannot function, why you are spending so much money?” said Danon.