(JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s national security adviser accused U.N. peacekeepers in Lebanon of failing to report Hezbollah’s arms buildup.
Hezbollah, a militia backed by Syria and Iran, has been building its arsenal despite the 35-year presence of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon in Lebanon’s heartland, Yaacov Amidror said during a speech April 4 at Tel Aviv University.
"Under pressure, a multinational force is like an umbrella that gets folded up on a rainy day," The Jerusalem Post quoted Amidror as saying.
"Has Hezbollah avoided bringing any kind of rocket, missile or other arms into southern Lebanon because UNIFIL is there?" he said. "Under their [UNIFIL] mandate, they cannot stop Hezbollah and confiscate its arms, but they can write a report. There has been no UNIFIL report about any weapon of any Hezbollah person since UNIFIL has existed.”
Israel believes Hezbollah has amassed 60,000 rockets, including 5,000 with heavy warheads capable of hitting Tel Aviv.
As part of the U.N. cease-fire that ended Israel’s 2006 war with Hezbollah, UNIFIL’s mandate was enhanced to include "assisting" the Lebanese army with keeping guerrilla "personnel, assets and weapons" out of south Lebanon. UNIFIL has approximately 11,000 peacekeepers.
Several Western countries, including France, have expressed support for sending peacekeeping troops to the West Bank if Israel agrees to pull its forces from the area.
Amidror said peacekeepers would not be enough.
"If there aren’t the appropriate security arrangements, it would be better for Israel to go without an accord than to have an accord that will endanger its security and could bring about a situation in which in the next war, Israel will lose,” he said.