TEL AVIV ø Israel has determined that despite repeated pledges the
United Nations refuses to cooperate with Israel in ensuring the security of
its northern border with Lebanon.
Israeli military sources said Northern Command has reported that the UN
Interim Forces in Lebanon, known as UNIFIL, has failed to take any action
that limits Hizbullah insurgency activities along the Israeli-Lebanese
border. The sources said UN troops and observers have ignored Hizbullah
operations such as rocket attacks and the planting of landmines inside
"They have seen Hizbullah take offensive action inside Israel and have
done nothing," a military source said. "Worse, is that UNIFIL hasn't even
told us of Hizbullah activities in Israel that could have prevented
The determination by Northern Command came in wake of a Hizbullah
anti-tank missile attack along the Israeli border on Monday. An Israeli
soldier was killed and another was seriously injured when a Hizbullah
anti-tank missile destroyed an Israeli D-9 armored bulldozer along the
Israeli-Lebanese border near Moshav Zaarit.
The sources said UN observers along the Lebanese border saw Hizbullah
operatives plant dozens of landmines inside Israel. But UNIFIL did not stop
the Hizbullah or inform Israel's military.
On Jan. 6, Israel asked the UN for help in removing a Hizbullah landmine
from the border area near Zaarit. Military sources said the UN refused and
on Monday an Israeli bulldozer was sent to remove the mine just inside
Israeli territory. During the operation, the sources said, the bulldozer, in
an attempt to maneuver around the mine, moved two meters inside Lebanese
territory. At that point, Hizbullah fired the anti-tank missile, which
destroyed the bulldozer and killed its occupant.
"The IDF filed a complaint with the UN regarding the [Hizbullah attack]
violation," an Israeli military statement said on Tuesday, "and it should be
noted that UNFIL officers have acknowledged tonight that they saw the firing
from Lebanon towards Israel."
In 2002, Israel accused UN peacekeepers of having accepted bribes from
Hizbullah to overlook preparations to abduct Israeli soldiers. Three Israeli
soldiers were killed in the October 2000 attack, and their bodies were kept
by Hizbullah in its efforts to trade for the release of more than 1,000 Arab
and Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.
On Tuesday, Israeli combat aircraft attacked suspected Hizbullah
training facilities in central and western Lebanon. The Hizbullah facilities
were said to have been empty.
"There's no question that we have to find more attractive targets in
order to deter," Knesset member Ehud Yatom, a former senior security