Quarterly Updates for (16 May 2017 — 15 Aug 2017)

Persistent tensions along the Israel-Lebanon border led to a minor diplomatic conflict in late-6/2017. The dir. of Israel’s military intelligence, Maj. Gen. Herzl Halevi, on 6/22, and later other Israeli officials, accused Hezbollah of building new observation posts and establishing new weapons production facilities in s. Lebanon with Iranian funding. “We cannot remain indifferent to this and we don’t,” Halevi said. He also called on the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), the peacekeeping unit established in 1978 to monitor the Israel-Lebanon border, to take action. A UN spokesperson responded the next day: “UNIFIL has not observed any unauthorized armed persons at the location or found any basis to report a violation.” The UN response did nothing to quell Israeli fears about Iranian activities in Lebanon, however. On 6/24, Israeli media reported that the govt. had sent backchannel messages to Tehran, via European diplomats, conveying how seriously Tel Aviv was taking the new alleged weapons production facilities. “[We] won’t tolerate it,” the messages reportedly said.