Netanyahu blasts UN as secretary general makes first trip to region



TEL AVIV, Eliyahu Kamisher (dpa) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a scathing criticism of the United Nations on Monday as the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres began his first visit to the country.
At the opening remarks of Netanyahu's meeting with the UN chief, the prime minister accused the UN of failing to prevent arms shipments to the Shiite militant group Hezbollah in Lebanon. He added that Iran is seeking to open a front against Israel on the Lebanese and Syrian borders.



"[Iran] is also building sites to produce precision-guided missiles towards that end in both Syria and in Lebanon. This is something Israel cannot accept. This is something the UN should not accept," Netanyahu said, without offering specifics.
Guterres said he would "do everything in my capacity" to ensure UNIFIL, a UN peacekeeping body which monitors the Lebanon-Israel border, fulfils its obligations
Israel says UNIFIL's authority should be expanded to combat weapons shipments to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Iran and Hezbollah are fighting alongside Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government in the Syrian civil war, which has killed hundreds of thousands.
The UN chief's first day of his three-day trip underscored Israel's aversion to the international body as Netanyahu accused the UN of having an "absurd obsession" with his country.
Still the prime minister added that Guterres has demonstrated a desire "to turn a new page in the relations between Israel and the UN."
Earlier on Monday in a meeting with Rivlin, Guterres said calling for the destruction of Israel "is a form of modern anti-Semitism.”
On Tuesday the secretary general will travel to the West Bank city of Ramallah to meet with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah.
The former prime minister of Portugal is also expected to visit the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip on Wednesday, which faces a growing humanitarian crisis.
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Tuesday, August 29th 2017
Eliyahu Kamisher
           


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