Israel Begins Constructing Controversial Wall on Lebanon Border
Israel on Wednesday started constructing a controversial wall along its border with Lebanon, a barrier that Lebanon says would encroach on its territory.
Andrea Tenenti, spokesperson for the United Nations peacekeeping force in Lebanon known as UNIFIL, confirmed the beginning of works in the Naqoura area and said the force is "fully engaged with both parties in order to find common solutions."
"Any work that is conducted along the Blue Line should be predictable and also coordinated with UNIFIL in order to prevent misunderstanding and decrease tension," he told The Associated Press in an interview at the UNIFIL base in Naqoura.
Lebanese and Israeli military officials had on Monday attended regular U.N.-sponsored talks on the border. Tenenti said both parties demonstrated their commitment to preserve stability.
Israel has in recent days escalated its threats against Lebanon over Lebanon's invitation for offshore gas exploration bids on the maritime border between Lebanon and Israel. Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has described as "very provocative" Lebanon's exploration tender and suggested that Lebanon had put out invitations for bids from international groups for a gas field "which is by all accounts ours."
His comments drew sharp condemnation from Hizbullah and Lebanese officials, including Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who described Lieberman's comments as a "blatant provocation that Lebanon rejects."
Israel and Hizbullah fought a devastating month-long war in 2006.
Earlier on Wednesday, Lebanon's Higher Defense Council instructed the country's military to confront Israel if it goes ahead with plans to build the controversial border wall, labeling it as an "aggression" against Lebanese sovereignty.