(New York, N.Y.) — Ahead of the 17th anniversary of Hezbollah’s 2006 cross-border attack on northern Israel that sparked the Second Lebanon War, the Iran-backed group established a tent inside a disputed Israel-held area of the Golan Heights known as the Shebaa Farms.
Israel has requested that the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) remove the outpost, but Hezbollah remains defiant. In a speech last week commemorating the start of the 2006 war, Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah claimed, “If there’s any harm to the tent, we won’t stay quiet.” In a separate Hezbollah attempt to test the border last week, three Hezbollah members were wounded in an explosion as they attempted to break through the border fence.
UNIFIL’s mandate expanded under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, which called for a ceasefire in the 2006 war and tasked the deployed force of 15,000 with assisting the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) in “taking steps” to ensure southern Lebanon remains free of unauthorized weaponry and “armed personnel.” Nonetheless, Hezbollah has continued to amass weapons on Lebanon’s border with Israel as UNIFIL, lacks authority to directly confront Hezbollah—which remains the strongest military power in Lebanon. UNIFIL responded to Hezbollah’s recent incursion by urging “everyone to cease any action that may lead to escalation of any kind” while they investigated the situation.
While Hezbollah continues to act outside of the Lebanese security apparatus, it has also successfully frozen Lebanon’s government. Lebanon’s presidency remains vacant, as Hezbollah has continued to stall the Lebanese parliament’s attempts to elect the post. Hezbollah’s parliamentarians and their allies have denied Lebanon’s parliament the two-thirds quorum required to elect a new president, deepening Lebanon’s political and economic crises.
To read the Counter Extremism Project (CEP)’s resource on Hezbollah, please click here.
To read CEP’s resource Lebanon: Extremism and Terrorism, please click here.