by Daled Amos
The IDF provides an aerial photo showing the path of the tunnel that necessitated Israel’s Operation Northern Shield:
And where was UNIFIL all this time?
In the image below, the UNIFIL watchtower is indicated by the white circle, just hundreds of meters from where the tunnel ended.
Clearly, Hezbollah is not afraid of UNIFIL.
And why should they be?
On August 30, 2018 the UN Security Council passed Resolution 2433 extending the mandate of UNIFIL in southern Lebanon:
Reaffirming its commitment to the full implementation of all provisions of resolution 1701 (2006), and aware of its responsibilities to help secure a permanent ceasefire and a long-term solution as envisioned in the resolution
And it goes further, explicitly calling on Israel to support the ceasefire:
4. Reiterates its call for Israel and Lebanon to support a permanent ceasefire and a long-term solution based on the principles and elements set out in paragraph 8 of resolution 1701 (2006);
Oddly enough, though, Resolution 2433 which renews the mandate does name Lebanon, but does not mention Hizbollah (UN’s spelling).
Not this year, nor last.
That might seem a bit odd, considering the fact that the Hezbollah attack in 2006 is what made this expanded mandate for the already existing UNIFIL necessary.
Thankfully, Hizbollah is mentioned in Resolution 1701 which created this mandate:
Expressing its utmost concern at the continuing escalation of hostilities in Lebanon and in Israel since Hizbollah’s attack on Israel on 12 July 2006, which has already caused hundreds of deaths and injuries on both sides, extensive damage to civilian infrastructure and hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons, [emphasis added]
In his article, Hezbollah Ritually Humiliates the UN, Tony Badran describes just how little Hezbollah terrorists think of UNIFIL, and the UN:
On August 4, following a well-established modus operandi, Hezbollah orchestrated an attack on a UNIFIL patrol in the town of Majdal Zoun, north of Naqoura. “The locals”—a Hezbollah tongue-in-cheek euphemism—spotted the Slovak unit taking pictures and surrounded it and obstructed its path. When the patrol tried to escape, the Hezbollah “locals” attacked it, damaging its vehicles. As the patrol moved on, Hezbollah operatives in nearby villages cut it off again, attacked it, confiscated some of its weapons, its cameras and equipment and set fire to their vehicle near the headquarters of the Italian contingent. Later on, Hezbollah “negotiated” the return of the equipment through the LAF, clarifying precisely the role the LAF plays in Lebanon, that of Hezbollah errand boys.
Still, you would have thought that Hezbollah would have had more respect for UNIFIL.
After all, in the past UNIFIL has a history of being helpful to Hezbollah in their fight against Israel.
During that war in 2006, the “neutral” UNIFIL played a decidedly one-sided game
throughout the recent war, it posted on its website for all to see precise information about the movements of Israeli Defense Forces soldiers and the nature of their weaponry and materiel, even specifying the placement of IDF safety structures within hours of their construction. New information was sometimes only 30 minutes old when it was posted, and never more than 24 hours old.
Meanwhile, UNIFIL posted not a single item of specific intelligence regarding Hezbollah forces. Statements on the order of Hezbollah “fired rockets in large numbers from various locations” and Hezbollah’s rockets “were fired in significantly larger numbers from various locations” are as precise as its coverage of the other side ever got.
On October 7, 2000, Hezbollah forces illegally crossed the Israeli border with Lebanon through a UN patrolled area and kidnapped three Israel Defense Force soldiers, Adi Avitan, Binyamin Avraham, and Omar Souad. UNIFIL peacekeepers videotaped the incident; however, the United Nations denied possessing any such videotape for almost nine months. On July 6, 2001, The UN admitted, contrary to their earlier denials, that they had possession of the tape as of 18 hours after the incident occurred.
At the time, David Kopel of The Volokh Conspiracy noted how the UN coverup of the gross negligence by UNIFIL went a long way:
One soldiers (sic) said that the brigade should arrest the Hezbollah, but the brigade did nothing.
According to the Indian soldier, the UNFIL brigade in the area “could have prevented the kidnapping.”
“I’m very sorry about what happened, because we saw what happened,” he said. Hezbollah “were wearing our uniforms and it was too bad we didnâ€™t stop them.”
It appears that at least four of the UNIFIL “peacekeepers,” all from India, has received bribes from Hezbollah in order to assist the kidnapping by helping them get to the kidnapping spot and find the Israeli soldiers. Some of the bribery involved alcohol and Lebanese women.
The Indian brigade later had a bitter internal argument, as some members complained that the brigade had betrayed its peacekeeping mandate. An Indian government investigation sternly criticized the brigade’s conduct.
There is evidence of far greater payments by Hezbollah to the UNIFIL Indian brigade, including hundreds of thousands of dollars for assistance in the kidnapping and cover-up.
The UN cover-up began almost immediately.
Kopel continues with a full description of how the UN not only withheld evidence from Israel, it also destroyed evidence as well.
And it’s not as if fear of Hezbollah is the only motivator for UNIFIL to betray their neutrality. Wikipedia reports on an incident in 1992 based on an article in YNet News how UNIFIL helped 2 Lebanese terrorists who escaped from an Israeli prison:
A 2010 book published by Norwegian journalist Odd Karsten Tveit revealed that the Norwegian Army was complicit in the escape of two Lebanese men who were arrested by the Israeli Army and being held in Khiam prison. According to the book, in 1992, two detained Lebanese men escaped from Khiam prison [in Southern Lebanon]. Fearing that they would face torture or execution if caught by the Israel Defense Forces or South Lebanon Army, the soldiers dressed the detainees in UN uniforms, and placed them in a UNIFIL convoy which left Southern Lebanon through Israeli roadblocks. Shortly afterward, Israeli Army commander Moshe Tamir visited the Norwegian battalion’s camp, and accused Norwegian commander Hagrup Haukland of “sheltering terrorists”. Immediately after the confrontation, the Lebanese men were smuggled onto a bus used by Norwegian peacekeepers on leave, which took them to Beirut.
The long history of UNIFIL incompetence in enforcing its mandate to keep southern Lebanon clear of weapons and Hezbollah terrorists is not surprising, considering its lack of the most basic integrity and failure to fulfill its obligations and neutrality.
The fact that Hezbollah was able to tunnel into Israel without UNIFIL being tipped off by any tremors from just a few hundred meters away speaks for itself.
Badran writes that unlike last year, this year US Ambassador Haley did not even bother attending the UN vote to extend the UNIFIL mandate and did not issue a statement afterward either.
Clearly, there are no words to describe the failure of one more organization of the UN.
We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.