Wednesday, July 15, 2009

UNIFIL (allegedly) demonstrates grasp of the obvious

A house full of short-range rockets and small arms blew up in southern Lebanon and the UN Interim Force in Lebanon apparently noticed the fireworks.
A day after Israel cried foul over an explosion that uncovered a hidden Hizbullah arms cache in southern Lebanon, the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon said Wednesday that storing the ammunition was a "serious violation" of the UN-brokered ceasefire that ended the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

According to estimates in the IDF's Northern Command, Hizbullah has turned hundreds of homes in southern Lebanese villages into warehouses to store short- and medium-range Katyusha rockets.

The IDF released video footage taken from an Israeli aircraft, showing a home that had exploded on Tuesday in the village of Hirbet Selm - located some 20 kilometers north of the Lebanese border. The roof is seen in the footage with dozens of holes, which IDF ballistic experts said were the size of 122-mm. Katyusha rockets.

Given that a house blowing up is pretty obvious (especially since Israeli surveillance aircraft were watching the area), it would have been difficult for UNIFIL to deny that the incident took place. And since they had to admit that it took place, they also had to admit that it was a blatant violation of Security Council Resolution 1701.

UNIFIL seems to find a lot of blatant violations of UNSC Res. 1701, like the 20 Katyusha rockets set up and ready to fire it discovered last month:
In an effort to prevent a flare-up along the northern border, UNIFIL has increased its operations in southern Lebanon and has begun entering villages in search of Hizbullah weapons caches, according to information obtained recently by Israel.

In one recent successful operation in the eastern sector of southern Lebanon, UNIFIL peacekeepers uncovered close to 20 Katyusha rockets that were ready for launch.

UNIFIL operates under Security Council Resolution 1701, passed following the Second Lebanon War in 2006. Operations in villages have been a point of contention between UNIFIL and Israel, which said over the past three years that the peacekeeping force was failing to prevent Hizbullah's military buildup in southern Lebanon since it refrained from entering villages.

Hizbullah, the IDF believes, has deployed most of its forces and weaponry - including Katyusha rockets - inside homes in the villages. Until now, UNIFIL and the Lebanese army have mostly operated in open areas.

According to information obtained by Israel, UNIFIL has also succeeded recently in thwarting attacks that were planned against its own personnel.

Is UNIFIL actually taking on Hizbullah's arms caches south of the Litani River, or is it only reacting to each individual "serious breach" as if it were an isolated incident?

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