UNIFIL Misrepresenting the Facts

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CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Senior Israeli Defense Ministry and Israel Defense Forces (IDF) officials accuse UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) of intentionally misrepresenting information on Hezbollah to the UN Security Council.

Israeli officials said Major General Claudio Graziano, commander of the peacekeeping forces, is "presenting half-truths so as to avoid embarrassment and conflict with Hezbollah."

According to the officials, the provisions of Resolution 1701, issued with the UN-brokered cease-fire that ended the Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006, are being ignored.

"There is an attempt by various factors in the UN to mislead the Security Council and whitewash everything having to do with the strengthening of Hezbollah in southern Lebanon," an unnamed senior government official told the Israeli daily Haaretz.

"The policy of cover-ups and whitewashing will not last long and, hopefully, now that the concealing of information has been revealed, things will change," he said.

The recent release of UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon's latest report, which excluded relevant details of an encounter between UNIFIL forces and Hezbollah gunmen, highlighted the extent of the problem.

According to Haaretz, senior officials in UNIFIL and the UN Secretariat exerted their influence to delete or at least dilute the incident from Ban's report. In the end it was briefly mentioned, with armed Hezbollah gunmen referred to as "unidentified armed men."

By publicizing the incident, UNIFIL officials were forced to admit what actually happened, which was described in a second, updated report, though it was represented as a first-time occurrence.

Israeli security officials called that claim a 100 percent misrepresentation, as many similar encounters between UNIFIL peacekeeping forces and Hezbollah operatives occurred in the past two years.

UNIFIL officials had no comment on Israel's claims.

Source: Haaretz

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