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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

UN Slams Israelis for Harassment

BEYOUT AL-SIAD, Lebanon -- For two days, the UN forces in Lebanon tried to bring milk, yogurt, blankets and medicine to this small farming village in the heart of the war in Lebanon.


Twice they had to turn back because of Israeli fire, despite having been cleared by the Israelis to be in the area. But when they finally made it Wednesday, the shelling began again.


"There may not be shell warnings -- but there's shelling," screamed a UN official, Mikael Lindvall, over his cellular phone to the Israeli army liaison office. Then, hanging up, he said: "Of course they know we're here. It's just a game of intimidation."


Over the last eight days, according to Lindvall and others, the game of chicken between the Israeli army and the UN forces in Lebanon has grown increasingly dangerous.


For many years, there has been a strained relationship between Israel and the UN offices in the region. In the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the United Nations is believed by Israelis to be too chummy with Palestinian refugees.


In southern Lebanon, the 4,500-strong UN Interim Force in Lebanon is also perceived as insufficiently pro-Israel.


In interviews this week, UNIFIL officials were highly critical of Israel, which they hold to be at least as much at fault in the region as the Hezbollah guerrillas who have been launching rockets. They also believe that Israel intentionally harasses them and tries to keep them from providing humanitarian aid.


In the past week, there have been close to 200 Israeli shellings near or at UN bases in southern Lebanon.