Israel Says Hizbullah Set Up S. Lebanon Post under NGO Guise
The Israeli army on Monday accused Hizbullah of setting up a new observation point in south Lebanon near the border under the guise of an environmental NGO.
A senior military officer charged that the position, near the border village of Adaysseh and the Israeli settlement of Misgav Am, was a violation of U.N. Resolution 1701 prohibiting Hizbullah military activity in the area.
The observation post joins five other exposed last year by Israel, the officer said, all allegedly under the cover of "Green Without Borders".
"This NGO isn’t concerned with planting trees, it’s a front" for Hizbullah to monitor the Israeli army and civilians nearby, the officer told reporters in a briefing.
Israel has relayed its concerns to UNIFIL, the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Lebanon, and asked them to visit the positions, but according to the officer, "they haven't done so."
The position contains "military equipment and infrastructure, binoculars, high end cameras," the officer said. "This is a breach of 1701."
UNIFIL spokesman Andrea Tenenti said the U.N. force has "not observed any unauthorized armed persons" at the position and "continues to monitor activities closely," including those of the environmental group.
A month-long war in 2006 between Israel and Hizbullah killed more than 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and more than 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.
Resolution 1701 was adopted to end the war, calling for full respect of the "Blue Line", the U.N.-demarcated frontier between Lebanon and Israel.
Israel has vowed to prevent what it says are efforts by its archfoe Iran to transfer advanced arms to Hizbullah in Lebanon.