On 6 May 2020, Israel’s UN ambassador, Danny Danon, said that Israel is demanding major changes in the way the UN peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon operates on the ground and has support from the United States.
The ambassador told a video press briefing that Israel would insist that peacekeepers have access to all sites across Lebanon, and that any time their freedom of movement is restricted, the UN Security Council should be immediately informed. “We have seen that slowly there are less places that the troops in the peacekeeping operation can actually travel in southern Lebanon… so we want them to have full freedom of movement,” Danon said.
“If they are not effective, why are we spending so much money on the troops?” AP quoted Danon as saying.
“We are not calling to shut down the mission tomorrow morning, but we are saying if they cannot change, if they cannot function, why are you spending so much money? We don’t want to send the troops back to their countries, but we want them to become more efficient.”
The peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon, known as UNIFIL, was established to oversee the withdrawal of Israeli troops after a 1978 invasion. UNIFIL includes more than 9,400 ground troops and over 850 naval personnel in a Maritime Task Force. The peacekeeping forces’ mandate was extended in 2006, after hostilities erupted over the UN demarcated Blue Line between Israeli forces and terrorist Lebanese Hezbollah, resulting in a 34-day war.