Israeli pullout of Lebanon incomplete
Lebanon-Israel, Politics, 10/3/2006
United Nations peacekeepers in Lebanon have the authority to use force against hostile activity of any kind, whether in self-defence, to ensure their area of operations is not used for hostile activities or to resist attempts by force to prevent them from discharging their duties, according to guidelines published today.
“Should the situation present any risk of resumption of hostile activities, UNIFIL rules of engagement allow UN forces to respond as required,” the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) said in a statement, laying out the terms of the Security Council mandate that established it in August to oversee the cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hizbollah.
“UNIFIL commanders have sufficient authority to act forcefully when confronted with hostile activity of any kind,” the statement added, noting that the force so far had 5,200 out of a maximum of 15,000 permitted under Security Council resolution 1701.
UNIFIL has set up temporary checkpoints at key locations within its area of operations, while permanent checkpoints are being established by the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) to stop and search passing vehicles. Yesterday it confirmed that Israel had vacated all but one of the positions it had taken during the fighting and that the LAF were taking over.
“In case specific information is available regarding movement of unauthorized weapons or equipment, the LAF will take required action,” the statement said. “However, in situations where the LAF are not in a position to do so, UNIFIL will do everything necessary to fulfil its mandate in accordance with Security Council resolution 1701.”
Among the resolution’s key terms include the withdrawal of all Israeli troops from positions they occupied in South Lebanon, the deployment of Lebanese and UN forces in the area, and the banning of any other armed personnel and weapons there.
Israel said its forces withdrew from southern Lebanon Monday morning, transferring control of the area to UNIFIL forces and
redeploying along the so-called "blue line".
Israel said its forces will continue to operate in and around the village of Rajar until an agreement can be reached with UNIFIL and the Lebanese army with regard to maintaining security in the area.
Israel said its redeployment is in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1701, and is possible now that reinforced UNIFIL forces and the Lebanese army have deployed in Southern Lebanon.
Israel said it continues to hold the Lebanese government fully responsible for control of its own territory and for ensuring the safety and security of southern Lebanon. The Lebanese government, needless to say, is also fully responsible for preventing any violence from
Lebanese territory against Israel.
Today, Israeli warplanes flew deep into Lebanon on Tuesday. the Lebanese Daily Star reported. This reestablishes Israel's previous behavior of disregard to Lebanon's sovereignty, and repeated previous UN requests by the UN to stop doing so.
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