RAMALLAH, August 5 (JMCC) - United Nations peacekeepers told The National
that Israel's military liaison officer stopped taking their calls during the fighting that broke out on the Lebanon-Israel border Tuesday.
It was the first time since the 2006 Lebanese-Israeli war that the multinational UN Interim Force in Lebanon (Unifil) was unable to communicate directly with key officials of the Israeli military, formally known as the Israel Defence Forces (IDF).
“At some point at the height of the incident, IDF-Tel Aviv command closed contact with Unifil,” one UN official told The National.
Communication did eventually resume, but no formal ceasefire ended the fighting. Instead, the official said, “both sides just stopped shooting”.
At that point, a large force of peacekeepers was deployed and Unifil’s deputy commander, Santi Bonfanti, was sent to survey the area by helicopter.
“When they stopped shooting, Unifil took the action of flying in the deputy commander, and we said: ‘We’re flying in, don’t shoot.’ It probably froze a situation that still had the ability to escalate,” the UN official said.
The daily newspaper, in its detailed account of the fighting, describes how peacekeepers were forced to retreat from the borders from the heavy fire. Read
the story at The National