Katyushas fired at Kiryat Shmona June 17: "Israel does not have to search exhaustively for the precise organization responsible for the shooting. This is the responsibility of the Lebanese government."

 Interview with FM Livni on IDF Radio: The Lebanese government must enforce its sovereignty


Israeli explosives expert surveys the scene of a rocket attack in Kiryat Shmona (Photo: Reuters)

Q: Foreign Minister Livni, can we state conclusively that Hizbullah is not responsible for the firing of the Katyusha rockets yesterday?

FM Livni: That is our estimation.

Q: Does it matter who actually fired them?

FM Livni: I would like to take this opportunity to say something which I think has general importance. The rules of play in Lebanon are undergoing change. This in turn leads us to the understanding that Lebanon is a country that must enforce its sovereignty throughout all of its territory, and is responsible for all hostilities originating from its territory.

Israel does not have to search exhaustively for the precise organization responsible for the shooting. This is the responsibility of the Lebanese government. There are international forces in place that should be able to assist the Lebanese government to do this. If there is a message to be sent out today, then it is a message to the Lebanese government. Israel, of course, filed a complaint with the United Nations, and I think it is time we stop dealing with the question of which organization is responsible and rather speak in terms of national responsibility. Obviously, it is Israel’s prerogative to respond to any situation.
Q: From my understanding of what you are saying between the lines, Israel will not respond at this time.

FM Livni: One thing I will not do is declare in advance what Israel’s response will be. Israel unequivocally demands that Lebanon enforce its sovereignty. The fact that one organization or another is responsible for firing the rockets does not excuse non-enforcement of national sovereignty. This responsibility applies to all Lebanese territory, and all organizations.

Q: I still think that one cannot underestimate the importance of yesterday’s event, as this is the first time Katyusha rockets were fired into Israel since the end of the Second Lebanon War. What happened yesterday is important.

FM Livni: Of course, that is why our demand of the Lebanese government is unequivocal. It is also our expectation that the UN forces will enforce their mandate to prevent the firing of rockets into Israel. It is true that we have experienced violations of this type in the past, by this organization or other similar organizations, but Lebanon is undergoing a process of change, southern Lebanon is undergoing a process of change, and the Lebanese Army is in control of areas it has never been in control of before. There is an international force in place to assist the army, so it is not only our expectation, but also our demand as well.

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Israel files complaint at United Nations (18 June)

H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon
The United Nations
New York


I write to call your attention to an alarming incident which occurred yesterday along the Blue Line, in grave violation of Security Council resoluion 1701 (2006).

Yesterday, Sunday, 17 June 2007, two katyusha rockets, launched from within Lebanese territory, fell on the northern Israeli city of Kiryat Shemona. A third rocket launched from the same area struck next to a UNIFIL base in southern Lebanon.

Israel views the katyusha rocket attack on Kiryat Shemona with outrage and as an absolute breach of resolution 1701. It was nothing short of a miracle that no one was harmed or killed. These rocket attacks constitute a dangerous threat to regional stability and security. 

Israel expects the Lebanese government to assert control over its territory, and ensure that neither Hizbullah nor Palestinian groups attack Israel from within its borders. It is thus imperative that resolution 1701 be implemented.

Additionally UNIFIL must exert every effort to prevent the repetition of this kind of attack. Israel calls on UNIFIL to assist the Lebanese authorities with investigating the incident, hoping that the relevant authorities will arrest the perpetrators and bring them to justice. 

Israel is presently exercising the utmost restraint in responding to this perilous and threatening incident. Nonetheless, Israel reserves the right to defend itself from such aggressions, as enumerated in article 51 of the United Nations Charter.

Daniel Carmon
Charge d’Affaires, a.i.
Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations