UN Troops Defuse Tense Moments on Israel-Lebanon Border
Peacekeeping forces of the United Nations positioned themselves between Lebanese soldiers aiming RPGs at Israeli tanks on Tuesday, helping keep tense moments from spiraling out of control. The incident happened as the tanks traversed an area that is inside Israel although it is outside the fence that demarcates the frontier. News reports say the Lebanese soldiers approached after the tanks entered, some of them leveling their weapons directly at the massive vehicles, which in turn trained their turrets on the soldiers. The peacekeepers soon entered and stood between the two sides, waving a large UN flag until the Lebanese soldiers backed away. The incident came a day after a man infiltrated into Israel from Lebanon, and a week after the 20th anniversary of Israel’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon. The anniversary was celebrated by masses of people on the Lebanese side who walked or drove up to the border fence wearing bright yellow tee shirts denoting support for the Shi’ite Hizbullah militia, which is credited with having driven Israel out. The UN peacekeepers’ mandate is currently up for extension by the Security Council, with both Israel and Lebanon having indicated that they want it to continue.