U.N. warns Israel on airspace ‘violations’

By Aaron Klein

The United Nations said yesterday a sharp jump in Israeli violations of Lebanese airspace is threatening the relative calm that has prevailed along the two uneasy neighbors’ shared border in recent weeks, but Israeli officials insist the operations are to pressure Hezbollah from further escalating tensions with the Jewish State.

U.N. peacekeepers in Lebanon say they recorded six violations yesterday and four on Monday, involving Israeli airplanes, helicopters and drones. An Israeli security source told WorldNetDaily the flights were necessary to monitor recent Hezbollah rocket movement.

Staffan de Mistura, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s chief envoy in southern Lebanon “strongly reiterates his call on the Israeli authorities to cease these breaches of the blue line and reminds all parties that one violation cannot justify another,” a mission statement said.

The blue line is the troubled U.N.-drawn frontier between northern Israel and southern Lebanon, which is monitored by the 2,000-strong U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon, known as UNIFIL.

“Fresh from condemning Israel for building a fence that keeps suicide bombers out, the U.N. now says we’re destroying regional calm by monitering Hezbollah in Lebanon,” said the security source. “Yet no condemnation of Hezbollah, which is threatening to shoot rockets into Israel and forcing us to carry on the over flights, is issued.”

Cross-border confrontations between Israeli security forces and Hezbollah guerrillas have occurred regularly since Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon in May 2000.

The intrusion of Israeli military aircraft into Lebanese airspace is often preceded by fire from Hezbollah fighters that can threaten the lives of nearby Israeli residents.

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