(Communicated by the IDF Spokesman)

January 7, 1997

Early this morning the Monitoring Group for the implementation of the understandings achieved following Operation Grapes of Wrath completed its deliberation on the three complaints presented by Israel and the three complaints presented by Lebanon concerning recent events. The Monitoring Group recognized that:

a. The Hizbullah organization fired at IDF and SLA forces from the Barashit village.

b. The Hizbullah activated an explosive device from within the populated region of the village of Markaba in Sourthern Lebanon. It has lately been revealed that a Lebanese woman who resided in the village was wounded by this explosion.

The Monitoring Group called on all sides to adhere to the understandings and to desist from any activity which may endanger the lives of civilians

(such as the activation of explosive devices in populated areas). Upon conclusion of its first session of 1997, the Monitoring Group noted that its continued work has been and will be instrumental in reducing dangers to civilians. During the deliberations, the exchanges of fire continued in the Sujud and Aklim al-Tufih region. The Israeli delegation proposed that the representatives of all sides present act to encourage an immediate cease-fire and defuse the tension in the area. This proposal, which was supported by the French chairman and his American colleague, was opposed by the Lebanese delegation.

January 12, 1997

The Monitoring Group for the implementation of the understandings achieved following Operation Grapes of Wrath met on 10 January at UNIFIL headquarters in Nakoura to discuss a complaint lodged by Israel concerning the Katyusha rocket fired into the western Galilee on Thursday, 8 January from the El-Kaleila region in Lebanon. The Monitoring Group affirmed that this act, which constituted a violation of the Understandings, was worthy of condemnation. The Group has decreed that Lebanon, which is committed to the Understandings, is obligated to implement them. The Monitoring Group viewed positively the steps already taken and encourages the government of Lebanon to increase its efforts in preventing recurrences of such incidents. The Group emphasized once more the commitment of all sides to obey the understandings in order to ensure the security of civilians. Both the Lebanese and Syrian delegations stressed that they view with gravity the firing of rockets from Lebanese territory into Israel and noted that Lebanese authorities already arrested a number of suspects.