United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon wrote in a report Thursday that Hizbullah is a threat to security in the Middle East. He also criticized Syria for allowing Hizbullah to smuggle weapons into its terrorist network in Lebanon.
Ban called on the terrorist organization and Israel to halt threats to each other. His report on a four-year old U.N. resolution calling on Syria to withdraw its military troops from Lebanon pointed out that Hizbullah and its army are "a direct challenge to the authority of the government of Lebanon."
However, Israel also was a target for criticism in the report, which cited recent statements by Northern Command general Gadi Eisenkot that the IDF would use "disproportionate force" if Hizbullah launches an offensive against the Jewish state.
The resolution ending the Second Lebanon War two years ago declared that United Nations Interim Forces (UNIFIL) would be deployed to stop smuggling and to disarm foreign armies. Israel agreed to withdraw all forces and stop surveillance flights with the understanding that UNIFIL would carry out its mandate.
However, following acceptance of the resolution, UNIFIL commanders said they would not try to disarm Hizbullah, which controls most of southern Lebanon and western Beirut. Smuggling has continued to the point where Hizbullah has amassed weapons far beyond its capability before the war.
Israel has continued to fly surveillance planes because of continued smuggling, but Ban criticized the practice.
Since the end of the war, Hizbullah has gained political influence in Lebanon by winning the power to veto major government decisions. Syria also has gained influence through newly established diplomatic relations between Damascus and Lebanon.
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