UN Security Council Demands Israel end Lebanon Border Violations
The UN Security Council on Monday demanded that Israel end violations of Lebanese territory reported by UN troops, said French ambassador Jean-David Levitte, the council president.
Council members called on all parties to respect the line of withdrawal, which establishes the boundary between Israel and Lebanon following the pullout of Israeli troops from southern Lebanon, he said.
According to diplomats in New York, the UN Interim Forces in Lebanon, in a report presented to the Security Council earlier Monday, have identified five such violations by Israeli forces.
Levitte said the Security Council members "reiterated their call upon the parties to respect the line," delineated by the United Nations and to end the "ongoing violations."
Since the Israelis ended their 22-year occupation of southern Lebanon on May 24, Beirut has complained of Israeli violations of the border in 17 places, and has made the full deployment of UNIFIL throughout the border zone conditional on these encroachments ending.
The UNIFIL report, which did not identify where the alleged encroachments had taken place, is the first of a series of weekly reports on the situation which Annan has requested from UNIFIL.
The first encroachment it identified was an Israeli patrol road which went 150 meters (490 feet) into Lebanese territory. The UN team asked Israel to block off this road and build a new one inside Israel. It made the same request for another road some 540 meters (1,770 feet) of which ran 25 meters (82 feet) inside Lebanon.
A third encroachment was by a patrol road which ran for 420 meters (1,377 feet) inside Lebanese territory, the report said. The Israelis had blocked this road off, but at the wrong places, it said.
UNIFIL also found that three Israeli machine-gun posts and some observation equipment were wrongly sited on the Lebanese side of the withdrawal line.
The fifth violation was where some Israeli soldiers had been deployed in trenches on Lebanese territory, with their tent on the Israeli side.
However, the UN rejected one complaint by Lebanon, concerning a strip along the border which held an unoccupied Israeli observation tower, and it said an alleged 780-meter (2,560-foot) border infringement by another Israeli patrol track needed further investigation -- UNITED NATIONS (AFP)
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