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UN denies environmental group in Lebanon spying on Israel

Israel’s envoy to the United Nations Danny Danon complained to the president of the UN Security Council that Green Without Borders, a supposed environmental group operating in South Lebanon, is actually Hezbollah operatives spying on Israel.

Damon’s letter resulted in a swift refutation. The UN group monitoring South Lebanon, UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon), denied last week that the towers built by Green Without Borders are for the purpose of spying. This despite an incident in April when the UN themselves were refused access to a tower, and despite Israeli footage and photographs which appear to clearly indicate otherwise.

The UN denial, via a spokeswoman, came just one day after the footage was released and merely quoted local staff’s claim to the integrity of the operation, that they had not “observed any unauthorized armed persons at the locations or found any basis to report a violation of resolution 1701.”

No report of a thorough UN investigation was produced.

“It is unfortunate that UNIFIL has chosen to look the other way as Hezbollah continues to operate in the region,” said Danon. “It is time for UNIFIL to fulfill its mandate and ensure that UN Security Council resolutions are implemented.”

According to the UN, UNIFIL was established in March 1978 to “confirm Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, restore international peace and security and assist the Lebanese Government in restoring its effective authority in the area.”

Following the end of the 2006 Lebanon War, UNIFIL was additionally tasked with “monitoring the cessation of hostilities” via UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which Danon accuses the UNSC of failing to uphold, demanding the immediate dismantling of spy towers.

The UN has a force of 15,000 peace keepers in South Lebanon, giving them the ability to uphold their mandate.

The terrorist group Hezbollah has dramatically increased its military capability since the 2006 war with an unprecedented 150,000 missiles pointed at Israel and access to increasingly advanced weaponry.

Lebanon’s recently installed president, Michel Aoun, has allied himself with Hezbollah and threatened Israel regarding certain territories near Mount Hermon which Lebanon claims as its own.

The tension between Israel and Lebanon is compounded by the civil war in Syria. Both countries and Hezbollah are proxies of Iran. Israel is concerned with any attempt to open new fronts against it and with the Iranians attempting to create a military land bridge from Iran to the Mediterranean via its proxies.

Danon’s letter was also copied to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

The failure so far to properly investigate such a serious allegation by a sovereign state and UN member appears to violate even the most basic principles of professionalism, transparency and accountability applicable to even the smallest public or private body or organization.

“If you say, ‘But we knew nothing about this,’
    does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who guards your life know it?
    Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?”
Proverbs 24:12

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Joni has worked in education and management and has been a writer for Kehila News Israel since 2016. He holds an MBA, as well as teaching qualifications. He lives in the north of Israel with his family.

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