Following intense US pressure, the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday issued an unprecedented condemnation of Monday's Hizbullah attacks on northern Israel. This condemnation - slamming Hizbullah by name for "acts of hatred" - marked the first time the Security Council has ever reprimanded Hizbullah for cross-border attacks on Israel. The condemnation followed by two days a failed attempt to get a condemnation issued on Monday, the day of the attack, when Algeria came out against any mention of Hizbullah in the statement.
When asked what changed from Monday to Wednesday, one diplomatic official replied: "John Bolton," a reference to the US ambassador to the UN. Bolton lobbied vigorously for the passage of the statement. The condemnation expressed "deep concern" over the attack, and called on Lebanon to exercise its sovereignty and authority in the south according to relevant Security Council resolutions.
Security Council Resolution 1559, which led to the withdrawal earlier this year of Syrian troops from Lebanon, also calls for the dismantling of the militias in the country, as well as a call to the Lebanese government to extend its control over the entire country, including the Hizbullah dominated south.
Israeli officials expressed satisfaction that the statement did not include any attempt to "balance it," referring to Israel's response to the Hizbullah attack, and that for the first time ever it placed full responsibility for the violence on Hizbullah's shoulders.
I couldn’t find a reference to the UN Security council condemnation in the The Toronto Star as of writing this, but they were carrying a brief report of the IDF rescuing an Israeli civilian who was hang-gliding in northern Israel when he was inadvertently carried by strong cross winds into Lebanese territory.
Oddly enough, the Lebanon Daily Star carried the same report but made no mention of the UN Security Condemnation of Hizbullah either:
Hizbullah and Israeli sources said that the clashes began near the border village of Meiss al-Jabal when Israeli troops tried to rescue an Israeli paraglider who had drifted from the border town of Manara.
Eyewitnesses in Meiss al-Jabal said they saw the pilot urged by Israeli soldiers to creep back across the border. "The Israeli combat planes had to help cover his withdrawal under heavy firing from Hizbullah's heavy and medium machine-guns," one eyewitness said. There was also a dispute over the parachutist's identity, with Hizbullah telling AFP he was a soldier and Israeli military sources insisting that he was a civilian. The paraglider managed to return back to Israel through a fence opening created by soldiers. He was arrested by Israeli police for questioning.
According to the Israeli Haaretz newspaper, "the incident started around 3 p.m. when the parachutist took to the sky near the Manara cliff and was blown by strong winds into Lebanon. "The man was spotted upon landing by three Hizbullah militants, who began moving toward him. Meanwhile, the man sprinted through a mine field in the direction of the nearby Manara outpost. "Hizbullah opened fire at [Israeli] troops who rushed to open the gate to let the man back in to Israel. The parachutist arrived unharmed and was handed over to Kiryat Shmona police." "The soldiers saved me," the parachutist told the press. "If it were not for the [Israeli Army], I would now be in Lebanon and I don't know what would have happened to me."
But the Lebanon Daily Star did mention the latest intrusion by the IAF into Lebanon airspace today:
In a separate development, Israeli combat aircraft intruded into Lebanese airspace and flooded the capital and other districts with thousands of leaflets. In the southern town of Tyre, police said three Israeli helicopters ejected large packets of the pamphlets that floated down on parachutes.
The Lebanese Army said that "Israeli combat planes at dawn dropped propaganda leaflets on Beirut, Mount Lebanon and the South, to incite Lebanese against the resistance." Signed by the State of Israel, the leaflets warned of the dangers Hizbullah posed to Lebanese people.
"Hizbullah brings a strong prejudice to Lebanon. It is an instrument in the hands of its Syrian and Iranian masters. The state of Israel is watching over the protection of its citizens and sovereignty," the leaflets read. Addressed to "Lebanese Citizens," the tracts asked: "Who is protecting Lebanon, who lies to you? Who throws your sons into a battle for which they are not prepared? Who wants the return of destruction?"
Indeed, who does?