Lebanese envoy to UN condemns Israeli violations

Lebanon's representative to the United Nations Amal Mudallali speaks at a meeting of the Security Council on Aug. 20, 2019. (The Daily Star/HO)

 Ahead of the renewal of the mandate for the United Nations peacekeeping force in south Lebanon, Lebanon’s envoy to the U.N. condemned continued violations of Lebanese territory.

During a speech at a Security Council debate in New York Tuesday evening, Lebanon’s Permanent Representative to the U.N. Amal Mudallali contrasted “daily violations of Lebanese sovereignty” by the Israeli military with what she said was Lebanon’s "total commitment" to the UNSC Resolution 1701, which ended the one-month 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah.

Israeli forces regularly violate Lebanese airspace, land and waters. Just last month, nine Israeli jets breached Lebanese airspace to launch an attack on Syria.

Lebanon is prepared to progress from the current state of affairs, in which the two countries are technically at war, to a full ceasefire, Mudallali said, insisting that for this to happen, Israel must play its part.

By the end of August, the Security Council is set to renew the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force In Lebanon, which is tasked with patrolling the Blue Line, the de facto Lebanese-Israeli border, and registering violations of sovereignty by either side.

Mudallali addressed council members Tuesday, citing a letter sent to them by Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil expressing Lebanon’s “strong support to the existing UNIFIL mandate and its full commitment to ... UNSC 1701.”

However, Bassil insisted in his letter that, in order for the resolution to be implemented it its entirety, Israeli forces must withdraw from the occupied Kfar Shouba Hills, Shebaa Farms and the northern Ghajar village, which Lebanon considers its territory.

Mudallali ended her speech by saying that Lebanon “applauds the dedication and professionalism of UNIFIL’s peacekeepers” and is grateful to the nations that contribute troops to the force.

She concluded with the hope that the Security Council will renew its mandate “in a spirit of understanding of the important role of this peacekeeping mission and of the challenges in the area.”