Lebanon News

Ban cites Blue Line violations by Israel, Lebanon

Cambodian UNIFIL peacekeepers clear landmines, as they open a path to plant a blue barrel marking the blue line in the southern border village of Kfar Kila, Lebanon, Thursday, April 12, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)

BEIRUT: Ban Ki-moon’s latest report on the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1701 highlights the increase in cross-border tension between Lebanon and Syria, according to an advance copy obtained by The Daily Star.

The 25-page report by the United Nations secretary-general -- the complete version of which can be found here:  -- cites a number of incidents of tension in south Lebanon, but adds that the “cessation of hostilities between Israel and Lebanon continued to hold, and cautious calm prevailed in the UNIFIL area of operations.”

It notes that several “Palestinian commemoration” events in March, May and June passed peacefully, after deadly incidents in recent years.

The report blames the Israeli army for continued violations of Lebanese sovereignty, including the occupation of part of the village of Ghajar, while citing a “noticeable increase in ground violations of the Blue Line” by Lebanese civilians, some of which were by shepherds in the area.

Ban said UNIFIL-led liaison efforts managed to contain the tension.

The report says the U.N. was unable to verify Israeli accusations of arms transfers to Hezbollah across the Lebanese-Syrian border, but mentions “substantiated” information of arms-trafficking from Lebanon to Syria.

It cites two incidents, foiled by the Lebanese authorities, of weapons shipments destined for Syrian rebels.

Ban called for a “comprehensive strategy for the management of Lebanon’s land borders,” which has yet to be endorsed by Beirut.

During the period of the report, “no steps” were taken by Syria or Lebanon toward implementing the Security Council resolution on delineating their common border.

Resolution 1701 was issued at the conclusion of Israel’s July 2006 war against Lebanon. Ban’s report said Lebanon and Israel remain committed to the resolution, while being “unable to make further progress on the implementation of their respective outstanding obligations.” The report cites no progress on the disputed Shebaa Farms region or Israel’s promised withdrawal from Ghajar.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 30, 2012, on page 1.




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