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Why Israel is upset with Indian peacekeepers

July 21, 2009 09:36 IST

Israel has accused the Indian troops part of the United Nations peacekeepers along its border with Lebanon of doing nothing to prevent the infiltration of Hezbollah supporters into its territory, but on the contrary cooperated with them, a media report said.

In a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and the President of the UN Security Council Ruhakana Rugunda, Israel accused an Indian contingent of United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) of having done nothing to prevent the demonstrators from crossing the border and even cooperating with the group, The Jerusalem Post reported.

'(The demonstrators) stood opposite the UNIFIL force, (which did nothing), and worse than that, according to statements made by the organisers of the demonstration, they even cooperated with them,' Israeli Ambassador to the world body Gabriela Shalev wrote in the letter.

Fifteen Lebanese civilians had crossed into Israel last Friday waving Hezbollah flags. The Israeli troops spotted the group, but did not confront them as they returned to south Lebanon minutes later.

This is not the first time when Tel Aviv has accused Indian troops stationed in south Lebanon of having helped Hezbollah.

Tel Aviv blamed Indian troops for not only quietly watching the abduction of three Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah in October 2000 but also assisting them after having accepted bribes.

Shalev also lashed out at Hezbollah for its 'grievous violations of Resolution 1701', which included both the border breach, as well as an attack by Lebanese villagers against UNIFIL troops on Saturday who were investigating an explosion in a suspected arms depot allegedly belonging to the group.

Both incidents 'demonstrate an escalation and a pattern of behaviour in Lebanon, that must be confronted', Shalev wrote.

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