Hizbullah: Israel is alone in violating 1701
Israel is alone in violating UN Security Council Resolution 1701, a spokesperson for Hizbullah said Sunday in response to Israel’s claim that the continued captivity of two captured Israeli soldiers and alleged arms shipments to the resistance are endangering the implementation of the resolution.
“Israeli officials are continuing to make these incorrect statements about Lebanon, but they are the ones [violating] Resolution 1701, especially with their overflights,” Hussein Rahal told The Daily Star.
Rahal was responding to comments made by Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz Saturday to Ban Ki-moon during the UN chief’s first visit to Israel.
Peretz, greeting Ban at Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv, said a main subject of talks would be the status of Resolution 1701.
The resolution authorized the deployment of a 15,000-strong UN peacekeeping force in South Lebanon to help the government here patrol the South and establish a weapons-free buffer zone between Lebanon and Israel.
It also calls for a halt in arms shipments to Hizbullah and the “unconditional release” of the two Israeli soldiers captured in the cross-border raid that preceded the summer 2006 war.
“This is an unequivocal demand by the state of Israel,” said Peretz. “We see it as the key to continuing the precise implementation of Resolution 1701.”
Peretz added that a failure to enforce the arms embargo “could cause the gravest damage, to the possibility of implementing the resolution and upset the stability existing today in South Lebanon.”
Ban has criticized Israel and Lebanon for violating the resolution, noting an increase of Israeli military overflights of its northern neighbor in February and early March. The former commander of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon, Major General Alain Pellegrini, said in February that overflights occurred “on a daily basis.”
Ban, who is expected to visit Lebanon on March 30, suggested an independent mission examine the monitoring of the border amid Israeli allegations of Syrian arms smuggling to Hizbullah. The Syrian government has threatened to close its border with Lebanon if such a force is deployed there.
Also Sunday, the Israeli government officially named last summer’s war in Lebanon “The Second Lebanon War,” after intense lobbying from relatives of those killed in the conflict who wanted the inscription of the word “war” on their loved ones’ headstones. – With agencies