The Jewish state’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, hailed “an important victory for Israel” at the Security Council on Thursday.
Following the annual renewal of its mandate, the UN’s peacekeeping force in Lebanon — UNIFIL — is now responsible for preventing terrorist activity by Hezbollah and other Islamist groups on the Lebanese side of the border with Israel. UNIFIL will be required to expand its reports to the Security Council and take deliberate action against Hezbollah’s violations. UNIFIL’s presence on the ground will increase significantly, and troops will be required to tour the Hezbollah-controlled areas of southern Lebanon. UNIFIL must also report all instances of Hezbollah’s violations and attempts to deny access immediately.
Danon commented, “This is a significant diplomatic achievement that could change the situation in southern Lebanon and expose the terror infrastructure that Hezbollah set up on the border with Israel. The resolution requires UNIFIL to open its eyes, and forces it to act against Hezbollah’s terror buildup in the area. We will continue the fight against Hezbollah and ensure that UNIFIL fulfills its duties on the ground.”
The new resolution comes amid growing determination in Israel to counter Iran’s attempts to create a Shia controlled land corridor between itself and the Mediterranean coast.
It comes after months of intensive diplomatic activity by Danon, who accompanied US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley to the Lebanese border this past June in a special security briefing, together with IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi. Since that visit the two ambassadors together insisted to other UNSC members on upgrading the UNIFIL mandate.
As part of that effort, Israel revealed classified materials to representatives of the various member states, and senior IDF intelligence officials delivered security briefings to UN ambassadors.
“I thank the United States for leading this important effort, and for standing up for Israel’s security interests,” Danon said.
“I also thank France for facilitating the negotiations along with the passing of the resolution,” he added. “The United Nations Secretary-General and Security Council members have made the right decision to serve the most fundamental principle of the United Nations: combating terrorism and maintaining stability and tranquility.”