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On 29 August, just before 6 p.m. (local time), Hizbullah terrorists fired anti-tank shells and mortars at two Israeli positions in the Mount Dov region on the Israeli side of the Blue Line. Three Israeli soldiers were wounded in the attack; one of them, St.-Sgt. Ophir Mishal, age 20, has since died of his wounds. In the days following, Hizbullah continued its cross-border assaults on Israeli aircraft, firing shells that have fallen in or near towns and villages in northern Israel, spreading fear among the civilian population.
These unprovoked and illegal attacks across our northern border, which pose a serious threat to international peace and security, are a matter of urgent concern to which we have drawn attention in previous letters dated 10 April 2002 (A/56/913-S/2002/374), 3 April 2002 (A/56/889-S/2002/348), 2 April 2002 (A/56/898-S/2002/345), 21 March 2002 (A/56/884-S/2002/301), 24 January 2002 (A/56/793-S/2002/115), 17 January 2002 (A/56/778-S/2002/79), 24 October 2001 (A/56/507-S/2001/1012), 5 October 2001 (A/56/443-S/2001/942), 6 July 2001 (A/56/161-S/2001/673), 16 April 2001 (S/2001/367), 16 February 2001 (A/55/792-S/2001/142), 6 February 2001 (A/55/767-S/2001/111), 26 November 2000 (S/2000/1121), 23 October 2000 (S/2000/1011), 19 October 2000 (S/2000/1002) and 7 October 2000 (S/2000/969).
Israel holds the Government of Lebanon directly responsible for this latest aggression across the Blue Line. Lebanon continues to stand in violation of its obligations under international law and Security Council resolutions 425 (1978), 426 (1978), 1310 (2000), 1337 (2001), 1365 (2001) and 1391 (2002), and 1428 (2002), which call for the restoration of international peace and security and the return of effective Lebanese authority in the area. The Government of Lebanon is also in violation of Security Council resolution 1373 (2001) and established principles of international law, which clearly call upon all States to refrain from providing any support, whether active or passive, to all persons or entities involved in terrorist acts, and to ensure that their territory is not used as a base for cross-border attacks.
Hizbullah, a recognized terrorist organization responsible for carrying out numerous acts of terrorism around the world, is also supported by the Governments of Syria and Iran, both of which bear responsibility for Hizbullah’s illegal activity in Southern Lebanon and for the ongoing instability in the area. Lebanon, Syria and Iran provide Hizbullah with the political and logistical support necessary to carry out attacks such as those described above. As such, they are in violation of Security Council resolution 1373 (2001).
Faced with these attacks, Israel is demonstrating utmost restraint in attempting to avoid any further deterioration of the situation. While reserving its right to self-defence, Israel is pursuing every political and diplomatic option at its disposal in an effort to bring about a peaceful end to hostilities in the area in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the Security Council.
Hizbullah’s attacks, in concert with the belligerent statements of its leaders, clearly signal the organization’s intent to flout the will of the international community and to ignite a broader regional confrontation. Israel again appeals to the international community and the Security Council to bring pressure to bear on the Governments that support and encourage Hizbullah’ s activities and to prevent any further escalation of violence in the region.
I should be grateful if you would arrange to have the text of the present letter circulated as a document of the fifty-sixth session of the General Assembly, under agenda item 166, and of the Security Council.