The ceremony of July 14, 2009 in At Tiri in South Lebanon in the company of the French Contingent of UNIFIL. Photo credit: Libnanews.com, all rights reserved.

UNIFIL was created on the initiative of French General Jean Cuq, the latter will become his first second in command in 1978 to deal with both the Israeli forces and the PLO militias who had taken advantage of the weakening of the armed forces. Lebanese to settle there and carry out operations against the Hebrew state.

What is UNIFIL?

UNIFIL – which is an international peacekeeping force of the United Nations  – was created on March 19, 1978 by resolution 425 of the UN Security Council.

Why was it created?

It is deployed in southern Lebanon following the Israeli operation titled Litani and aimed to suppress the Palestinian armed presence in the area which was carrying out numerous operations against the Galilee.

What is the mission of UNIFIL?

It also aims to help the Lebanese government to restore its prerogatives there.

According to its mandate, the military members of this international institution must:
Confirm the departure of Israeli troops from southern Lebanon
Restoring international peace and security
Help the Lebanese government to restore its effective authority in the region.

Its main mission today is to ensure that the two parties respect resolutions 425, 426 and 1701 of the UN Security Council. It is on the basis of his observations that the reports of violations of these resolutions are presented by the UN Secretary General. We can notably cite the case of the almost daily overflights by Israeli planes of Lebanese territory in violation of resolution 1701.

For its part, Israel considers that these overflights are necessary, indicating that despite the presence of UNIFIL, armed elements including those of Hezbollah are still present south of the Litani. 

How many men are there in UNIFIL?

Among the main contingents, Italy with 2,500 soldiers, the French contingent with 2,000 men, Spain with 1,100 soldiers. These 3 countries constitute the backbone of the ground troops. 
In total in 2017, 10,520 soldiers from 41 countries were deployed within UNIFIL. More than  279 members of UNIFIL died on mission, to which must be added hundreds of wounded.  

See also: May 25, 2000 and the Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon

Also read: UN Security Council Resolution 425 (1978)

UNIFIL troops first hoisting the UN flag in Nakoura in southern Lebanon in March 1978. Source UN Archives
UNIFIL troops first hoisting the UN flag in Nakoura in southern Lebanon in March 1978. Source UN Archives

For this, many countries sent their soldiers. The numbers have varied since 1978 depending on the situation and reached 7,935 in 2000 during the Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon. Its headquarters will be established in Naqoura in southern Lebanon from 1978. It is also in its headquarters that the Israeli and Lebanese military meet in accordance with the 1949 armistice agreement to discuss the measures necessary to ensure that there are no incidents between the two countries.

Following the 1982 Israeli invasion during Operation Peace in Galilee, it will also include elements of the Multinational Force.

Following the Israeli withdrawal of May 25, 2000, the task of UNIFIL will be to set up, in cooperation with the Israeli and Lebanese representatives, the Blue Line, the demarcation line between the two countries and to guarantee the withdrawal of troops from IDF.

Following the conflict of July 2006 and the adoption by the UN Security Council of resolution 1701, UNIFIL will adopt a new format, with the establishment of a maritime component complementing land troops. It will also be responsible for providing assistance to help ensure humanitarian access to civilian populations and assist in the voluntary return of displaced persons in conditions of security still in the region of southern Lebanon.

A day spent with the French contingent of UNIFIL

The ceremony of July 14, 2009 in At Tiri in South Lebanon in the company of the French Contingent of UNIFIL. Photo credit: Libnanews.com, all rights reserved.
The ceremony of July 14, 2009 in At Tiri in South Lebanon in the company of the French Contingent of UNIFIL. Photo credit: Libnanews.com, all rights reserved.
The ceremony of July 14, 2009 in At Tiri in South Lebanon in the company of the French Contingent of UNIFIL. Photo credit: Libnanews.com, all rights reserved.
The ceremony of July 14, 2009 in At Tiri in South Lebanon in the company of the French Contingent of UNIFIL. Photo credit: Libnanews.com, all rights reserved.
The ceremony of July 14, 2009 in At Tiri in South Lebanon in the company of the French Contingent of UNIFIL. Photo credit: Libnanews.com, all rights reserved.
The ceremony of July 14, 2009 in At Tiri in South Lebanon in the company of the French Contingent of UNIFIL. Photo credit: Libnanews.com, all rights reserved.

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