MP Antoine Zahra a key member of the Lebanese Forces stressed on Wednesday that the mission of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) is dedicated to supporting the Lebanese army and not the Resistance.
Zahra said that if UNIFIL was deployed to protect Israel, then Lebanon should not request an extension for their stay.
The MP added: “If they are there to provide stability in the South and protect Lebanon, then the UNFIL troops should not take into account what one portion of the population wants to impose because their duty is to support the army and not the Resistance.”
Zahra stressed that resolution 1701 should be implemented, the Lebanese government, its army, and concerned ministries should be responsible for the UN troops, and UNIFIL’s duties and actions should not be obstructed.”
On July 3, a UNIFIL patrol was attacked and overpowered by Shi’ites in the southern village of Kabrikha. Officials said the villagers, after one of them had been arrested, pelted UN troops and seized their weapons.
On June 29, Shi’ites attacked a UNIFIL vehicle between the villages of Adeisseh and Kfar Kila. The Shi’ites blocked a road and hurled stones toward a UN patrol during what officials termed a “maximum deployment exercise.” The exercise, meant to ensure troop readiness, was said to have ended on the following day.
“It is incumbent on the Lebanese authorities to ensure the security and freedom of movement for UNIFIL within its area of operation,” UNIFIL commander Maj. Gen. Alberto Asarta Cuevas said last weekend.
According to observers south Lebanon is Hezbollah’s stronghold and the militant group wanted to send a message through these protests that it is still in control.
During a press conference Wednesday, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri denied that the Amal Movement, Hezbollah, and residents of South Lebanon are targeting UN Security Council Resolution 1701 or UNIFIL..