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Unifil Mandate Extended for Five Months; Israel Warned It is Obstructing Deployment of Unifil

January 22, 1979
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A five month extension of the mandate of the United Nations peace-keeping force in Lebanon was approved by the Security Council last Friday coupled with a warning to Israel that it was obstructing deployment of the UN force. The new mandate expires June 19.

Approval of the extension of the 6000-man United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was by a vote of 12-0. The Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia abstained, as before, because they refuse to share in the $11 million a month cost for UNIFIL. China; as usual, did not participate because it opposes use of UN troops in principle.

A provision in the resolution “deplores” Israel’s “lack of cooperation” and Israel’s support for a Lebanese Christian militia which controls a six-mile zone along the Lebanese-Israel border. The Council voted shortly after Israeli forces struck at terrorist bases in Lebanon in reprisal for terrorist attacks which included a raid Jan. 13 on Maalo and a bomb attack in Jerusalem last Thursday.

Secretary General Kurt-Waldheim told the Council session that the Israeli attack took place north of the area occupied by UNIFIL with apparent support from Christian militia artillery in the enclaves. Both his report and the resolution emphasized that UNIFIL was hampered in its assignment of control of the area and helping to restore the authority of the Lebanese government. Donald Mills of Jamaica, the Security Council president, said after the vote that the Council had agreed that Waldheim and the Lebanese government should prepare a program to promote restoration of Lebanese authority and to report back by April 19.


Yehuda Blum, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, declared, in a statement to the Security Council session, that the Council had again “produced a highly one sided and unbalanced political resolution. He asserted that the operative part of the resolution “begins by singling out Israel for criticism, while at the same time turning a blind eye to the real threat to UNIFIL in the implementation of its mandate and to international peace and security in the region.

Blum declared that “to detach the question of southern Lebanon from the situation in Lebanon as a whole will not enhance the cause of peace.” He said Israel remained “irrevocably committed to the twin principles of restoring international peace and security and of restoring effective and genuine Lebanese authority throughout Lebanon” but the Lebanese government “cannot succeed in this undertaking when a Syrian occupation army maintains its gunsights on the civilian population of Beirut and while armed PLO terrorists are allowed free reign on Lebanese soil.”

The envoy charged there was a new element in PLO tactics in Lebanon, declaring that “previously, they hid behind a shield of refugees and villagers. Now they are trying to hide behind a shield of United Nations peace-keeping forces,” a “total abuse of international peace-keeping.”

Declaring that Israel could not acquiesce “in these tactics,” Blum said that Israel would “continue its policy of taking the necessary action against PLO bases used for the training of terrorists and for launching criminal activities against Israel.”

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