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Israeli delegation heading to UN amid Lebanon border tensions

The visit comes ahead of the Security Council vote on extending UNIFIL's mandate.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant holds a situational assessment along the border with Lebanon, March 16, 2023. Credit: Israeli Ministry of Defense Spokesperson's Office.
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant holds a situational assessment along the border with Lebanon, March 16, 2023. Credit: Israeli Ministry of Defense Spokesperson's Office.

A delegation of senior Israeli officials from the diplomatic corps and the military will visit the United Nations in the coming days to discuss the recent escalation at the Lebanon border.

The trip to U.N. headquarters in New York also comes ahead of a Security Council vote at the end of the month to extend the mandate for the UNIFIL peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon for another year.

Foreign Ministry and IDF officials will meet with U.N. Security Council member states. Brig. Gen. Effie Defrin, head of the IDF’s International Cooperation Division, will accompany the delegation.

The Iran-backed Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah has carried out a series of hostile acts at the frontier in recent months, including setting up a manned outpost in April a few meters on the Israeli side of the Blue Line border but beyond the Israeli security fence. The position, across from an IDF post, was reportedly manned by three to eight armed terrorists.

During a visit to the Lebanese border on Tuesday, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant warned Hezbollah not to test the Jewish state.

Gallant toured the Mount Dov region with IDF Northern Command head Maj. Gen. Ori Gordin and other senior officers, where he was updated on “defensive efforts being made along the border and the progress of the construction of the barrier,” according to a statement from his office.

In a Hebrew-language video statement, Gallant issued a stark warning to Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, telling him “not to make a mistake.”

“If … an escalation or conflict develops here, we will send Lebanon back to the Stone Age,” said Gallant. “We will not hesitate to use all our power and erode every inch of Hezbollah and Lebanon if we have to.

“Make no mistake: We don’t want war, but we are ready to protect our citizens, our soldiers and our sovereignty,” the minister said.

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations last month implored the Security Council to help clamp down on Hezbollah’s repeated provocations.

“The Middle East is a powder keg on the cusp of being ignited” due to “Hezbollah’s violent escalations, blatant violations of Security Council resolutions and dangerous military advancements,” Gilad Erdan wrote in a letter to the council.

Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah threatened Israel on Aug. 1, calling it a “cancerous growth.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded by saying: “We are not impressed by Nasrallah’s bunker threats.”

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