Israel has re-opened its border to United Nations vehicles from southern Lebanon, following a thirty-six hour ban.
Israel has re-opened its border to United Nations vehicles from southern Lebanon, following a thirty-six hour ban. The decision to close the border was taken shortly after a senior United Nations officer was charged with smuggling arms into Israel for Palestinian guerrillas. A Jerusalem magistrate remanded Nigerian Army Colonel Alfred Gom for fifteen days, while further investigations are carried out. At a news conference in Jerusalem on Sunday (17 June), a police spokesman showed journalists the arms and ammunition which had allegedly been discovered in Colonel Gom's car.
SYNOPSIS: Israel closed its northern border with Lebanon on Saturday (16 June). On Monday (18 June), it was decided to re-open the border, but a Cabinet spokesman told newsmen in Jerusalem that all vehicles serving with the United Nations would be carefully searched before they were allowed to enter Israeli territory.
The instructions were carried out to the letter and even high-ranking United Nations officers had their vehicles checked. Israel then lodged a strong protest with United Nations headquarters in New York. The Israelis accused the peacekeeping units of serving as a cover for co-operation with Arab guerrillas.
The Israelis say the explosives found in the U.N. officer's car could have caused the murder of innocent civilians if guerrillas had used them in operations inside the country. The UNIFIL forces were assigned to southern Lebanon following Israel's invasion of the area fifteen months ago, and relations between the two have always ben cool. Meanwhile, the United Nations says it hopes that "isolated incidents" will not affect its relationship with the people and authorities in Israel.