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19 July 1995
REPORT OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL ON THE UNITED NATIONS
INTERIM FORCE IN LEBANON
(for the period 21 January to 19 July 1995)
1. The present report is submitted in pursuance of paragraph 1 of
Security Council resolution 974 (1995)
of 30 January 1995, by which the Council decided to extend the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) for a further period of six months, until 31 July 1995. It covers developments since my last report of 23 January 1995 (
2. As of July 1995, UNIFIL comprised 4,967 troops, from Fiji, Finland, France, Ghana, Ireland, Italy, Nepal, Norway and Poland (see annex I to the present report). In addition, UNIFIL employed 524 civilian staff, of whom 159 were recruited internationally and 365 locally. The deployment of UNIFIL is shown on the map at annex II.
3. Major-General Trond Furuhovde of Norway ended his tour of duty as Force Commander on 23 February 1995. Major-General Stanislaw F. Wozniak of Poland succeeded him on 1 April 1995.
4. UNIFIL was assisted in the performance of its tasks by 59 military observers of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO). These unarmed officers are organized as Observer Group Lebanon and are under the operational control of the Force Commander of UNIFIL. They man five observation posts along the Lebanese side of the Israel-Lebanon armistice demarcation line. They also operate five mobile teams in that part of the area of operation which is controlled by Israel.
5. The Government of Norway has informed me of its decision to withdraw the Norwegian maintenance company by November 1995. I am consulting Governments with a view to its replacement.
6. I regret to report that a Norwegian and a Nepalese soldier have died as a result of vehicle accidents. Since the establishment of UNIFIL, 204 members of the Force have died: 76 as a result of firing or bomb explosions, 84 in accidents and 44 from other causes. A total of 314 have been wounded by firing or by mine or bomb explosions.
7. UNIFIL maintained close contact and cooperation with the Lebanese authorities on matters of mutual concern. Those authorities provided valuable assistance in connection with the rotation of troops and the increasing volume of logistic activities in Beirut. The Lebanese army was particularly helpful in defusing confrontations with armed elements. The Force continued to cooperate with the Lebanese gendarmerie on matters pertaining to the maintenance of law and order.
8. In previous reports, I mentioned difficulties that had arisen as a result of the non-payment by the Government of Lebanon of rents accumulated since 1987 for land and premises used by UNIFIL. The Lebanese authorities have recently begun to pay those rents. It is hoped that the owners will soon be fully reimbursed and that payments will be made at regular intervals thereafter.
9. By its
of 23 December 1994, the General Assembly authorized the Secretary-General to enter into commitments for the operation of the Force at a rate not to exceed $11,234,500 gross ($10,870,830 net) per month for a period of up to six months from 1 August 1995, should the Security Council decide to extend the Force's mandate beyond 31 July 1995. This authorization is based on an average strength of 5,015 and continuation of existing responsibilities.
10. As at 30 June 1995, unpaid assessed contributions to the UNIFIL Special Account amounted to $211.1 million. The total unpaid assessed contributions for all peace-keeping operations at that date amounted to $1.8 billion.
11. In my last report (S/1995/66, para. 6), I indicated my intention to pursue possibilities of streamlining UNIFIL and achieving economies in the areas of maintenance and logistic support. The Security Council endorsed this intention in its resolution 974 (1995). Following a detailed review, Major-General Wozniak, the Force Commander, has proposed a slimming-down of his headquarters by 20 per cent, the consolidation of engineer support in one unit, and small reductions of varying size in the infantry battalions. These measures would result in a reduction in the overall strength of the Force by 10 per cent. They will not affect its operational capacity. I have decided to accept this proposal, subject to the Security Council's concurrence.
12. The streamlining is to be put into effect in connection with the regular rotation of contingents and should be largely completed in the spring of 1996. While the budget for 1996/1997 has not yet been completed, at this stage it can be stated that the proposed reduction represents a direct savings in personnel costs of approximately $10 million per year. I have asked General Wozniak to continue his efforts to achieve further economies.
Situation in the area of operation
13. Israel continued to control in southern Lebanon an area manned by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and the Lebanese de facto forces (DFF), the so-called "South Lebanon Army". The boundaries of the Israeli-controlled area (ICA) have not been clearly defined but are determined de facto by the forward IDF/DFF positions. It includes territory adjacent to the armistice demarcation line, parts of the Fijian, Nepalese, Irish, and Finnish battalion sectors and the entire Norwegian battalion sector, as well as sizeable areas to the north of UNIFIL's area of operation. Within the ICA, IDF/DFF maintained 71 military positions, as shown on the map at annex II. The map also indicates where the ICA extends beyond the limits of UNIFIL's area of operation.
14. Within the ICA, Israel maintained, in addition to DFF, a civil administration and security service. Movement between the ICA and the rest of Lebanon was strictly controlled; crossings were closed frequently causing considerable difficulties for the inhabitants. The ICA remained economically dependent on Israel. An estimated 3,000 jobs in Israel were held by Lebanese from the ICA. Access to such jobs was controlled by DFF and the security services. There were again reports of forced recruitment into DFF, including the recruitment of persons under the age of 18.
15. UNIFIL observed 129 operations against IDF/DFF by armed elements who have proclaimed their resistance against Israel's occupation (8 in the latter part of January, 30 in February, 18 in March, 18 in April, 20 in May, 24 in June and 11 in the first half of July), as compared to 87 in the previous period. There were also numerous reports of attacks against IDF/DFF positions north of the Litani River. Most of the attacks were carried out by a group known as the Islamic Resistance. In their operations, the armed elements employed roadside bombs, rockets, mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank missiles.
16. IDF/DFF continued their own attacks and retaliatory firing against armed elements employing artillery, mortars, tanks and aircraft. UNIFIL recorded over 16,500 artillery, mortar and tank rounds fired by IDF/DFF. IDF has stepped up its night-time ambushes and long-range patrolling and increasingly made use of assault helicopters. While air attacks were less frequent than in previous periods, flights by Israeli military aircraft over Lebanese territory continued. Since February 1995, Israel has imposed restrictions on the movement of Lebanese fishermen in Lebanese territorial waters off the coast of south Lebanon and has enforced these restrictions by naval vessels. At times, this involved firing at fishing boats and temporary detention of Lebanese fishermen.
17. The period under review was marked by the number of exchanges in which civilians on both sides were killed or injured. These exchanges were sparked by indiscriminate fire or the targeting of populated areas by IDF/DFF, followed by the firing of rockets into Israel, for which the Islamic Resistance claimed responsibility. In some instances, armed elements launched their attacks from the vicinity of villages in UNIFIL's area of deployment, drawing retaliatory fire.
18. UNIFIL reported the following details:
(a) On 31 March, rockets fired from an Israeli helicopter killed a member of the Islamic Resistance as he was travelling in a car in the Ghanaian battalion sector. The same day, rockets were fired into Israel, killing one civilian and injuring several others;
(b) On 4 May, retaliatory firing by IDF/DFF killed a Lebanese civilian and wounded more than seven in Jarjouaa, north of UNIFIL's area of operation. The next morning, rockets were fired toward Qiryat Shemona, wounding an Israeli civilian;
(c) On 30 May, IDF/DFF fired six mortar rounds into Shaqra in the Irish battalion sector, killing a 13-year-old girl and seriously wounding two other girls. The next day, rockets were fired into Israel towards Qiryat Shemona and Western Galilee, causing minor damage;
(d) On 14 June, IDF/DFF shelling in response to an attack from the vicinity of Shaqra wounded four civilians in that village. The next day, rockets were fired into Israel, wounding eight Israeli civilians near Maalot. On that day a rocket fired from an Israeli helicopter killed a 15-year-old boy and wounded his 5-year-old brother at Siddiqin;
(e) On 22 June, IDF/DFF, responding to an attack from the vicinity of Shaqra, killed a 19-year-old girl and wounded her older brother in Shaqra. The following day, rockets were fired into Israel, killing a French citizen and wounding eight other civilians north of the coastal town of Nahariya;
(f) On 8 July, an IDF tank fired
anti-personnel shells towards a house in Nabatiyeh Fawqa, killing three children and wounding four others. The next day, rockets were fired into Israel; no damage or casualties were reported.
19. I have repeatedly expressed my concern at these actions and urged the parties to exercise restraint. In the field, UNIFIL maintained close contact with both sides, urging them to respect the non-combatant status of civilians.
20. UNIFIL continued its efforts to prevent armed elements from using its area for hostile purposes. At times, this led to friction at UNIFIL checkpoints, followed by harassment and threats directed at members of the Force. Such cases were generally resolved through negotiations, often with the help of Lebanese army officers.
21. There were 51 instances of firing at or close to UNIFIL positions and personnel by armed elements, compared to a total of 17 during the previous period. Such firings were reported to the Lebanese army and, where possible, protested to the leadership of the groups involved. On 19 March, a Nepalese soldier was seriously injured when an anti-personnel mine exploded at a newly established observation post at Yatar. A similar mine was found at the same location a few days later.
22. There were 208 instances of firing by IDF/DFF at or close to UNIFIL positions and personnel. All such firings were protested to the Israeli authorities.
23. As in the past, UNIFIL detonated mines, roadside bombs and unexploded remnants of war and dismantled ordnance of various types in the area of deployment. A total of 105 such controlled explosions were carried out.
24. UNIFIL continued to extend humanitarian assistance to the civilian population in the form of medical care, essential supplies and engineering work and repairs to buildings damaged as a result of hostilities. UNIFIL personnel also escorted farmers so that they could work their fields which are within range of IDF/DFF positions and assisted in putting out fires set off by firing by IDF/DFF. In addition, equipment or services for schools and social services were provided from resources made available by troop-contributing Governments. UNIFIL helped carry out a school project supported financially by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and assisted the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in its South Lebanon Emergency Rehabilitation Programme. The Force cooperated closely on these matters with the Lebanese authorities, United Nations agencies and programmes operating in Lebanon, the International Committee of the Red Cross and non-governmental organizations.
25. UNIFIL battalion medical centres and mobile teams provided care to civilians at a rate of 2,500 per month. A French contingent team provided medical care to the inhabitants of villages in the western part of the ICA.
26. On 16 April, the Israeli authorities deported to Lebanon two Palestinians who had just been released from prison. They were denied entry by the Lebanese authorities and subsequently turned to UNIFIL. Since 18 April, the two men have been accommodated at UNIFIL headquarters. Efforts continue to arrange passage to a country or territory that would be willing to accept them.
27. The situation in southern Lebanon, which continues to be tense and volatile, has remained essentially unchanged and the decisions of the Security Council contained in
resolution 425 (1978)
of 19 March 1978 and subsequent resolutions, including most recently resolution 974 (1995), remain unfulfilled. Israel has maintained its occupation of parts of south Lebanon, where the Israeli army and its Lebanese auxiliary continued to be targets of attacks by groups that have proclaimed their resistance to the occupation.
28. Lebanon's position is described in a letter that the Permanent Representative of Lebanon to the United Nations addressed to me on 10 July 1995 (
). In the same letter, the Permanent Representative informed me of his Government's decision to request the Security Council to extend UNIFIL's mandate for a further period of six months.
29. Israel has outlined its position with regard to the situation in southern Lebanon in a letter that the Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations addressed to me on 1 August 1994 (
) and confirmed in a letter of 18 January 1995 (
30. Since my last report, the level of hostilities in the area has increased. Of particular concern is the number of civilians who have been killed or injured. I have repeatedly expressed my concern at the targeting of civilians and have urged the parties to exercise restraint. I am also conscious of the risk of escalation that is inherent in these exchanges.
31. UNIFIL continued to make every effort to limit the conflict and to protect the inhabitants from the hostilities. The Force carried out an active programme of patrolling throughout its area of deployment in order to provide a measure of protection to the villages and to farmers working in the fields.
32. Although there has been no progress towards the implementation of UNIFIL's mandate, the Force's contribution to stability in the area and the protection it is able to afford the inhabitants remain important. I therefore recommend that the Security Council accept the Lebanese Government's request and extend UNIFIL's mandate for another period of six months, that is, until 31 January 1996.
33. In making this recommendation, I must again draw attention to the serious shortfall in the funding of the Force. At present, unpaid assessments amount to some $211.1 million. This represents money owed to Member States that contribute the troops who make up the Force. I appeal to all Member States to pay their assessments promptly and in full and to clear all remaining arrears.
34. With the concurrence of the Security Council, I intend to carry out the streamlining outlined in paragraphs 11 and 12 above.
35. In conclusion, I wish to pay tribute to Major-General Stanislaw F. Wozniak, the Force Commander, and to all the men and women under his command for the manner in which they have carried out their difficult and often dangerous task. Their discipline and bearing have been of a high order, reflecting credit on themselves, on their countries and on the United Nations.
Composition of UNIFIL
Force Mobile Reserve
Force Mobile Reserve
Composite unit (maintenance element and defence company)
Infantry battalion (including engineer co.)
Force Mobile Reserve
Headquarters camp command
Force Mobile Reserve
Force Mobile Reserve
Force Mobile Reserve
Force Mobile Reserve