UNIFIL ignored Hezbullah weapons cacheLast Tuesday, I reported on a series of massive explosions at an abandoned building in southern Lebanon that turned out to be a Hezbullah weapons cache. On Sunday, an Israeli 'government source' disclosed that Israel had complained to UNIFIL about the weapons cache 'months ago,' but UNIFIL did nothing about it.
The source said UNIFIL had precise information about the cache and a number of other installations where Hezbollah is storing rockets, but that UNIFIL had done nothing.In all fairness, part of the problem is that UNIFIL doesn't control southern Lebanon: Hezbullah does.
A discussion is scheduled in the UN Security Council for late August on renewing UNIFIL's mandate in southern Lebanon; Israel hopes last week's explosion will show the need to strengthen UNIFIL. Israel believes that UNIFIL could sharpen its rules of engagement and act more forcefully with the Lebanese army in southern Lebanese villages.
Government officials dealing with the Lebanon issue say UNIFIL soldiers encounter armed Hezbollah fighters or are detained by them, but the incidents do not appear in the reports submitted to the Security Council.
On Saturday it was reported that that area residents prevented UNIFIL soldiers from searching an abandoned building near the building that blew up last week, in which it is believed Hezbollah stored weapons, against UN Security Council resolution 1701. A Lebanese security official said dozens of civilians surrounded UNIFIL vehicles and blocked the road leading to the building. The UNIFIL forces retreated with the assistance of the Lebanese army.Ah yes, UNIFIL and Resolution 1701, the great 'achievements' of opposition leader Tzipi Livni (remember her?) as foreign minister during the Second Lebanon War.
It's a shame that with Obama in power, Netanyahu is unlikely to get the opportunity in southern Lebanon that Olmert, Livni and Peretz squandered.