Lebanon denies UNIFIL access to attack-tunnels

During a report-briefing of the U.N. Special Coordinator for the Mideast Peace Process Nikolai Mladenov to the Security Council, he warned of the rising tension between the Islamist organizations in Gaza and Israel. While the world body’s envoy urged both sides to show restraint, he reiterated his previously-declared position, in which the status quo between Israel and the Palestinians is not sustainable and will only lead to more conflict and bloodshed. That said, Mladenov stressed that the ongoing inter-Palestinian-rift, between the Islamist factions in the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, is a key factor in diminishing the viable prospects of establishing a Palestinian state as part of a peace agreement with the Jewish state. According to Mladenov, “I call on Palestinian leaders to engage constructively with Egypt and act decisively to resolve the political impasse by ensuring the full implementation of the 2017 Cairo Agreement. One thing is certain, Palestinian sovereignty and statehood will remain an impossibility without genuine unity. There can be no state in Gaza and there can be no state without Gaza.” With regard to the tense situation between Israel and Lebanon, in which the IDF has announced earlier this month the location of yet another cross-border attack tunnel that was dug by the Iranian-proxy Hezbollah; the world-body’s Mideast Envoy stressed that the United Nations has indeed identified the entry-points of the offensive subterranean passage-ways that were dug for the purpose of conducting cross-border attacks against Israel. Mladenov further complained to the Security Council about the fact that the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, which is tasked with observing the Israeli-Lebanese border under Security Council resolution 1701, has not been granted access by the Lebanese military to visit the 6th entry-point of the tunnel that was lately revealed by the Israeli military. “The situation in southern Lebanon remain calm, but tense. UNIFIL was able to confirm that at least two of the tunnels, discovered by the Israeli Defense Forces, crossed the blue-line, and thereby constitute violations of (UN) Security Council resolution 1701. To date, UNIFIL has not been granted access to the confirmed entry points of a tunnel near Kfar Kila on the Lebanese side,” the U.N. Special Coordinator for the Mideast Peace Process said.