President Trump should urgently enjoin the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to condemn Hizballah and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) following Israel’s discovery of four tunnels dug from Lebanon into Israel.
Trump signed the Sanctioning the Use of Civilians as Defenseless Shields Act (“HR 3342”) into law on 21 December demanding sanctions against Hamas and Hizballah personnel – foreign terrorist organizations proscribed under 8 U.S.C. 1189.
Trump is probably still smarting from the humiliating defeat – by the narrow margin of nine votes – of the American-sponsored Resolution at the UNGA condemning Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza for:
- repeatedly firing rockets into Israel
- using airborne incendiary devices
- constructing military infrastructure, including tunnels to infiltrate Israel and equipment to launch rockets into civilian areas
- against the Resolution (57),
- abstained (33) or
- did not vote (16)
Hizballah and UNIFIL have to be made accountable for creating the current dangerous threat to peace and security on the Israel-Lebanese border in flagrant breach of international law and international humanitarian law.
HR 3342 was unanimously adopted on 11 December following Congress finding:
(1) Human shields are civilians, prisoners of war, and other non-combatants whose presence is designed to protect combatants and military objects from attack, and the use of human shields violates international law.UNIFIL has been clearly negligent – if not actually complicit – in allowing this simmering crisis to reach its boiling point.
(2) Throughout the 2006 conflict with the State of Israel, Hizballah forces utilized human shields to protect themselves from counterattacks by Israeli forces, including storing weapons inside civilian homes and firing rockets from inside populated civilian areas.
(3) Hizballah has rearmed to include an arsenal of over 150,000 missiles, and other destabilizing weapons provided by the Syrian and Iranian governments, which are concealed in Shiite villages in southern Lebanon, often beneath civilian infrastructure.
(4) Hizballah is legally required to disarm under both United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 (2006) and the Taif Agreement (1989).
(5) Hizballah maintains an armed military force within Lebanon’s sovereign territory in direct violation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1559 (2004) and 1680 (2006), thus preventing Lebanon from exerting its lawful control over its internationally recognized borders.
UNIFIL has admitted the following:
“Based on UNIFIL’s independent assessment, UNIFIL has so far confirmed the existence of all the four tunnels close to the Blue Line in northern Israel.UN Security Council Resolution 1701 mandated UNIFIL to:
After further technical investigations conducted independently in accordance with its mandate, UNIFIL at this stage can confirm that two of the tunnels cross the Blue Line. These constitute violations of UN Security Council resolution 1701.”
- Assist the Lebanese armed forces in taking steps towards the establishment between the Blue Line and the Litani river of an area free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the Government of Lebanon and of UNIFIL deployed in this area.
- Assist the Government of Lebanon, at its request, in securing its borders and other entry points to prevent the entry in Lebanon without its consent of arms or related materiel.
UNIFIL’s failure to carry out its mandate calls for a special UN investigation.
Hamas must be expelled from Lebanon and those 150000 missiles neutralised to prevent a Jewish-Arab humanitarian crisis of massive proportions.
United Nations member-states must stand up and be counted.
(Author’s note: The cartoon – commissioned exclusively for this article – is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones” – one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators – whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades. His cartoons can be viewed at Drybonesblog)