'A message to the Lebanese government - restrain Hezbollah'

UN extends mandate of UNIFIL peacekeeping force in Lebanon for another year.

Elad Benari ,

Danny Danon
Danny Danon
Hillel Maeir/TPS

The mandate of the UNIFIL peacekeeping force in Lebanon was extended for another year during a UN Security Council meeting on Thursday.

At the hearing, which was held at the UN headquarters, members of the Security Council voted to renew the mandate until August 2020.

The new provisions in the mandate include a clear call on the Lebanese government to allow access to UNIFIL forces and increased reporting on the transfer of weapons to terrorists in Lebanon.

Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, said: "The updated mandate sends a clear message to the Lebanese government: restrain Hezbollah. The terrorist organization's grip on southern Lebanon is intended to only harm the State of Israel and endanger the entire region. Israel will not accept such a reality, and calls on the international community to act resolutely against the Iranian proxy in Lebanon."

The Foreign Ministry issued a statement after the mandate was extended, saying "Israel appreciates the efforts made by the US and other countries to ensure better implementation of the UNIFIL mandate in southern Lebanon."

At the same time, Jerusalem criticized the "restrictions imposed by Hezbollah and Lebanon on UNIFIL who continue to significantly delay the full and effective implementation of its mandate."

"New and disturbing evidence that Hezbollah attacked UNIFIL soldiers and hampered them in carrying out their mandate was revealed only yesterday. This evidence should have pushed those who care about Lebanon's security and stability to use this opportunity of renewing the mandate to take a stronger stance on the fundamental issue of securing full access to the force. In the current situation, UNIFIL's relevance is doubtful," the Foreign Ministry statement said.

UNIFIL works to implement Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

According to the resolution, Hezbollah must not be allowed operate in southern Lebanon and the entire area of southern Lebanon must be free of any armed personnel and weapons other than those of the Government of Lebanon.

UNIFIL was originally created to oversee the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the area. The mission was expanded after the 2006 war between Israel and the Hezbollah terrorist group so that peacekeepers could deploy along the Lebanon-Israel border, to help Lebanese troops extend their authority into their country's south for the first time in decades.