Gillerman: UNIFIL Failing Israel, World

Ad Feedback - JERUSALEM, Israel - Outgoing Israeli UN Ambassador Dan Gillerman said UNIFIL (United Nations) peacekeeping forces deployed in southern Lebanon are not fulfilling their mandate.

After the Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006, UNIFIL soldiers were tasked with maintaining the cease-fire between Lebanon and Israel under Security Council Resolution 1701.

Some considered the resolution an achievement for Israel because it ended the war diplomatically and sent 15,000 Lebanese forces and 15,000 international forces to prevent the Hezbollah terror group from rearming itself.

"The UNIFIL soldiers were not sent there to give out chocolates to children or write traffic tickets," Gillerman told The Jerusalem Post.

"They were sent there to carry out a mandate that was very clearly defined, and they are not [doing so]," he said.

"By not doing it, they may be laying the groundwork for the next flare-up. So even in their own interest and for their safety, they should be more proactive and go after Hezbollah and find a way to control the Israeli-Syrian border," he said.

Gillerman said that he discussed these "very grave concerns" with UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon.

After numerous intelligence reports revealed that Hezbollah has rearmed itself with a much greater arsenal than it had in 2006, Gillerman and other officials have sought swift action.

Gillerman's complaint is not with the resolution, but with a failure on the part of the UN to fully implement it.

"One of the things I keep telling the secretary general and others is that it is up to them to implement it. It is the Security Council who passed it, and the Security Council cannot afford for it to be just another piece of paper because, in the end, when there is another flare-up in Lebanon, and there very well may be, the UN will be to blame because they sent those forces there, drafted the resolution and at the end nothing came of it," Gillerman said.

Source: The Jerusalem Post

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