Right: Hajj Zuhair Nahle, Green Without Borders chairman (Facebook profile, January 9, 2015). Left: Iranian leader Ali Khamenei as he appears on Nahle’s Facebook page: “I give my love and loyalty to Ali Khamenei,” plus a hashtag “I am in favor of the Governance of the Islamic Jurist” (Facebook profile of Hajj Zuhair Nahle, January 2, 2018).
The Green Without Borders logo
(Green Without Borders website, January 24, 2014).
- Green Without Borders operates a number of forward facilities near the Israeli-Lebanese border which Hezbollah uses for its own activities. In June 2017 and October 2018 the IDF spokesman reported that the organization’s facilities and activities near the Israeli border serve as a front for Hezbollah military operatives disguised as civilians and in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701. Danny Danon, the Israeli ambassador to the UN, lodged a complaint with the Security Council but the UN rejected it, based on UNIFIL reports claiming it had no evidence to support Israel’s accusation.
- The Green Without Borders facilities exist along the border to this day. In ITIC assessment Hezbollah continues to use them to camouflage its activities in the area close to the border. Nevertheless, UNIFIL reports continue to claim that no evidence has been found of violations of Security Council Resolution 1701 in Green Without Borders facilities (while behind the scene Hezbollah prevents UNIFIL patrols from conducting genuine examinations of Green Without Borders’ facilities).
- On September 1, 2019, Hezbollah operatives fired two anti-tank missiles at the IDF near the community of Avivim in response to an IDF attack in Syria. UNIFIL, which examined the incident, estimated that based on technical data the missiles were fired from a site close to two adjacent Green Without Borders sites in Maroun al-R’as (north of Avivim) (based on UN Secretary General’s report about the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1701 for June-October 2019). (See below.)
Paragraph 6 of the UN Secretary General’s report about the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1701 for June-October 2019. (ITIC emphasis throughout.)
- Overview of the Green Without Borders organization
- IDF reports and Israeli complaint to the UN regarding Hezbollah’s use of Green Without Borders facilities
- Examples of collaboration between Green Without Borders and Hezbollah’s civilian institutions
- Hajj Zuhair Nahle, chairman of Green Without Borders
Green Without Borders – Overview
The Green Without Borders organization is the National Organization for the Preservation and Development of the Forest, Environment and Animal Resources. The organization is a registered NGO which has operated with a Lebanese interior ministry permit since June 20, 2013. It deals with environmental issues, focusing on the forestry. Its activities include planting trees, cleaning, establishing public parks, operating nurseries and locating and fighting forest fires. Its chairman is Hajj Zuhair Nahle, who is affiliated with Hezbollah (see below).
Right: Green Without Borders operatives in uniform (Oh Tyre! website, April 19, 2015) Their hats and shoulder patches bear the Green Without Borders logo. The color of the uniforms is similar to that of the local forest rangers in some of the Lebanese towns. Left: Khalil Lubani, father of Hezbollah shaheed Mahdi Lubani, wearing a Green Without Borders uniform (Instagram account dedicated to the memory of Mahdi Lubani, November 28, 2015).
- Between 2013 and 2015 Green Without Borders operatives pruned about 140 acres of woodland, manned at least eight facilities for locating and fighting forest fires, helped extinguish hundreds of fires and planted about 160,000 saplings in exposed areas and on road shoulders. In addition, the organization held 34 courses and workshops attended by about 570 volunteers (about 8,500 volunteers participated in all the activities held by the organization during those years). According to the organization, by November 2018 it had participated in planting 1,200,000 trees (Green Without Borders website, January 22, 2014 and April 30, 2015; Imam al-Mahdi Scouts website, November 25, 2018).
Green Without Borders sign for a tree-planting project along the Wadi al-Salouqi road south of the Litani River (local news website of Arazi, November 20, 2018)
- Green Without Borders’ activity is focused in regions where there is a clear Shi’ite majority, including south Lebanon and the Beqa’a Valley (website of the Jihad al-Bina, February 18 and 27, 2014; al-Ahed news website, January 22, 2015). It operates facilities whose functions include locating and fighting forest fires. Some of the facilities can be found south of the Litani River in Wadi al-Salouqi, Ramyeh, Maroun al-R’as and Yaroun (UN Secretary General’s report about the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1701 for 2018-2019; Bint Jbeil local new website, July 17, 2019; Twitter account of the union of the Jbeil-Amal municipalities, August 4, 2019).
IDF Reports and Israeli Complaint to the UN regarding Hezbollah’s Use of Green Without Borders Facilities
- Danny Danon, the Israeli ambassador to the UN, sent the members of the Security Council pictures of the Green Without Borders facilities and a map of the facilities near the border, and demanded that the Lebanese government be ordered to dismantle them immediately. However, UNIFIL patrols which were sent to examine the facilities found nothing. According to a source in the IDF’s Northern Command, Hezbollah prevented the UN forces from examining the sites, claiming they were on private property (IDF website, October 28, 2018).
Right: A Green Without Borders facility with the organization’s logo (Twitter account of Danny Danon, Israeli ambassador to the UN, June 22, 2017). Left: Green Without Borders facility near the Israeli border (IDF spokesman’s website, June 22, 2020).
Green Without Borders facility near the Israeli border. At the left is the organization’s logo and a barred window behind which is a man looking through binoculars (IDF website, October 28, 2020).
Enlargement of the window of the Green Without Borders facility, behind which is a man looking through binoculars (IDF website, October 28, 2020).
- The UN Security Council rejected Israel’s claims, noting that UNIFIL reports proved that the organization dealt with environmental preservation and that there was no proof of Israel’s claims (al-Kawthar TV, June 24, 2017). Following Israel’s claims and exposure of the Green Without Borders facilities, the director of Lebanese General Directorate of General Security, General Abbas Ibrahim, paid a visit to a Green Without Borders’ facility in south Lebanon according to its chairman, Hajj Zuhair Nahle, representatives of the Lebanese army and former UNIFIL commander Michael Beary. They formed an impression of the organization’s activity, heard an elaborate explanation about its tree-planting, environmental preservation, fire-fighting activity, etc. After the visit to the facility they praised its undertakings (al-Manar, July 29, 2017).
- In October 2018 the IDF spokesman exposed another Green Without Borders facility in the village of al-Adeisse. According to the announcement the facility served to camouflage Hezbollah activity in the area (IDF spokesman’s website, October 22, 2018). In the wake of the IDF exposure the commander of UNIFIL’s eastern sector visited the site with a Lebanese army force. They were accompanied by the mayor of al-Adeisse, who explained about Green Without Borders’ activities, which included overseeing forests, dealing with forest fires and protecting the environment.
- The al-Adeisse mayor took the delegation to a pine forest which had recently been planted to illustrate the need for the Green Without Borders’ facility (al-Adeisse local news website, October 31, 2018). A senior source in Israel’s Northern Command reported that Hezbollah had prevented UN forces in the region from examining Green Without Borders’ facilities, claiming they were situated on private property (IDF website, October 28, 2020).
Right: A map of Green Without Borders facilities near the Israeli border, disseminated by the IDF spokesman (IDF spokesman’s website, October 22, 2018). Left: UNIFIL commander of the eastern sector visits a Green Without Borders center in al-Adeisse following the IDF spokesman’s report (al-Adeisse local new website, October 31, 2018).
Green Without Borders’ activities near the border – Overview of current situation
- Green Without Borders’ facilities near the Israeli border still exist. In ITIC assessment they continue to camouflage Hezbollah activity. Between 2017 and 2019 UNIFIL patrols occasionally tried to reach the organization’s facilities or the surrounding area. The access of UNIFIL patrols to the facilities was consistently blocked with the claim that they had to be accompanied by a Lebanese army force. Therefore, UNIFIL continued to report that no evidence had been found of violations of Security Council Resolution 1701 (UN Secretary General’s report about the implementation of Resolution 1701, 2018-2019).
- The most recent report of an incident between a UNIFIL patrol and Green Without Borders employees was on September 24, 2019. Five men in civilian dress halted a UNIFIL patrol at the gate of the organization’s center in Ramyeh in the western sector of south Lebanon near the Israeli border. They claimed the patrol had to be accompanied by the Lebanese army in order to enter the facility. Later, UNIFIL and a force of Observer Group Lebanon (OGL) monitors succeeded in entering unaccompanied by the Lebanese army. On October 4, 2019, UNIFIL succeeded in entering the site on its own, although two Green Without Borders operatives prevented them from reaching point B29 marked on the Blue Line, claiming it was forbidden to reach the area without a [Lebanese army] military escort.
Examples of Collaboration between Green Without Borders and Hezbollah’s Civilian Institutions
- Since its inception Green Without Borders has collaborated closely with various Hezbollah civilian institutions. Its strongest ties are to Jihad al-Bina (the “construction foundation”), which repairs damages caused during fighting. Jihad al-Bina is routinely active in fields in Green Without Borders’ domains, especially tree-planting. The two organizations hold joint tree-planting events, sometimes planting them to commemorate Hezbollah shaheeds (Green Without Borders’ website, January 17, 18 and 22, 2014, February 18 and 27, 2014; Hezbollah’s information services website, February 28, 2015, Oh Tyre! website, April 19, 2015, al-Khayam local news website, November 5, 2017, Dunia al-Watan, November 17, 2019).
- Another notable example of Green Without Borders’ collaboration is with the Association for Municipal Activity, a Hezbollah body responsible for the organization’s activity in local government. Senior figures in the Association for Municipal Activity attend and sometimes sponsor Green Without Borders activities (Jihad al-Bina website, August 17, 2013 and January 17, 2014; al-Ahed, January 22, 2015; al-Khayam local news website, November 5, 2017; Radio al-Nur, November 16, 2018; Arazi local news website, November 20,. 2018; Dunia al-Watan, November 17, 2019, Facebook page of the Tir Daba municipality, December 13. 2019).
- In at least two instances local government heads helped Hezbollah keep UNIFIL soldiers away from Green Without Borders’ facilities. They also attempted to dispel Israel’s claims and prove to UNIFIL that the organization’s activities were innocent (UN report on the implementation of Resolution 1701 for February-June 2018; local al-Adeisse news website, October 31, 2018). In addition, the names two of the organization’s founders are identical to the names of two senior figures in Hezbollah’s municipal system (although it cannot be proved they are the same individuals). They are Muhammad Ali Shakar, one of the founders of “the association of mukhtars in eastern Baalbek” (Lebanese registration August 21, 2013; Lebanese News Agency, July 15, 2014); and Hussein Muhammad Haydar, a member of the Amal-Hezbollah list that won the municipal elections in 2016 in the town of Kafr Dan in the Beqa’a Valley (Radio al-Nur, May 7, 2016).
Right: A Jihad-al Bina sign regarding a tree-planting project in the village of al-Dheere (near the Israeli border in the western sector of south Lebanon). Both the sign (top center) and the watering can bear the Jihad al-Bina logo. The Green Without Borders logo appears in the upper left-hand corner (Jihad al-Bina website, January 22, 2014). Left: Sheikh Fouad Hanjoul, in charge of Hezbollah’s Association for Municipal Activity in the first Lebanese region, south of the Litani River (center, holding microphone) (al-Manar). Standing next to him are leaders and scouts from Hezbollah’s Imam al-Mahdi scouting organization. The scouts and their leaders planted trees in an event organized by the Jihad al-Bina and Green Without Borders in the village of Ayta al-Shab (Jihad al-Bina website, January 17, 2014).
- Another Hezbollah body that Green Without Borders collaborates with is the Hezbollah faction in the Lebanese parliament (known as the “Loyal to the Resistance” faction). Parliament members sponsor and give speeches at Green Without Borders’ events. Green Without Borders also collaborates with other Hezbollah civilian organizations, especially those linked to its education system. They include the Education Mobilization, Imam al-Mahdi scouts, the al-Mahdi and al-Mustafa school network, and the Islamic Heath Organization.
Right: Hezbollah member of the Lebanese parliament Hassan Fadlallah (right, holding spade) plants a tree at a Green Without Borders’ event in the village of Ayta al-Shab in the western sector of south Lebanon, near the Israeli border (al-Khayam local news website, November 5, 2017). Left: Imam al-Mahdi Scout leaders plant a tree at a Green Without Borders event in the village of Haddatha in south Lebanon (Green Without Borders website, February 12, 2015).
Planting trees in honor of Hezbollah shaheeds
- January 2014: Jihad al-Bina and Green Without Borders held a tree-planting event at the al-Khayam detention facility which today is used for Hezbollah commemoration and propaganda activities. The trees were planted to commemorate shaheeds killed in and around the al-Khayam detention facility (Jihad al-Bina website, January 18, 2014).
Sheikh Nabil Qawouq, deputy chairman of Hezbollah’s executive council, plants trees in a joint Jihad al-Bina-Green Without Borders ceremony. The trees were planted to commemorate Hezbollah shaheeds Muhammad Rida Hussein Awada (right picture) and Hitham Fouad Dabaja (left picture) (Jihad al-Bina website, January 18, 2014).
- February 2014: A joint Jihad al-Bina-Green Without Borders tree-planting event was held for Hezbollah commanders’ day (Jihad al-Bina website, February 18, 2014).
- December 2014: A tree-planting event was held at the Shaheed Commander Bassem Tabaja Park in the village of Tabnit (southeast of Nabatieh) by Green Without Borders in collaboration with Hezbollah’s Association for Municipal Activity (Green Without Borders website, December 5, 2014).
The sign for the tree-planting event in Tabnit. The sign reads, “Forestation project of the Shaheed Commander Bassem Tabaja Park,” the Green Without Borders’ logo is at the right (Green Without Borders website, December 5, 2014).
- March 2015: A joint Green Without Borders-Hezbollah’s Association for Municipal Activity tree-planting event was held at the Preserve of the Shaheeds of the Resistance in the town of Jibshit in south Lebanon. Among those in attendance were Sheikh Abd al-Karim Ubeid, who in the past was detained by Israel and today is an aide to the chairman of Hezbollah’s executive council (Nabatieh local news website, March 10, 2015).
- April 2015: Trees were planted in the Shaheed Journalist Hassan Abdallah Park in the village of Itaroun during a Green Without Borders event to “plant a million trees” (Oh Tyre! website, April 19, 2015). The Green Without Borders sign hung in the park read, “This tree gives shade for a man of the resistance and homeland.” Thus the tree is meant to shelter “operatives of the resistance,” i.e., Hezbollah operatives.
Right: A Green Without Borders sign for a project called “A tree for every citizen” hung in the Shaheed Journalist Hassan Abdallah Park. It reads, “The tree is the heading for a firm stance…and the cave for the men of the resistance” (Green Without Borders website, November 25, 2014). Left: Green Without Borders sign hung in the Shaheed Journalist Hassan Abdallah Park in the village of Itaroun (Oh Tyre! website, April 19, 2015).
- November 2019: Green Without Borders held a tree-planting event at the site of the suicide bombing attack carried out by terrorist Amer Kalkash near the northern Israeli city of Metulla in March 1985. Participants in the event included students from Hezbollah’s al-Mahdi school from the village of al-Ahmadiya (al-Mahdi school website, November 14. 2019).
Hajj Zuhair Nahle, Chairman of Green Without Borders
Outlined: glorification of Hezbollah shaheeds, Likes found on his Facebook profile. Upper right, shaheed Yusuf Naji, upper left, shaheed Ali Dabah, lower center, shaheed Qassem Shamkha.
More Likes from Hajj Zuhair Nahle’s Facebook page: Outlined: right, the Amana gas station network, owned by Hezbollah’s Shaheed Foundation. Left: Hezbollah’s Association of Municipal Activity in the second region in south Lebanon, north of the Litani River.
Facebook friends of Qassem Hassan, responsible for the south Lebanon region of Hezbollah’s Jihad al-Bina, which has close ties to Green Without Borders. Outlined at the lower right, Hajj Zuhair Nahle is one of Hassan’s Facebook friends (Facebook profiles if Qassem Hassan, February 7, 2020).
A shared post from a Facebook user named Wissam Abbas attacking the Lebanese authorities for using the name “Israel” instead of “Palestine” when referring to the Lebanese borders (Facebook page of Hajj Zuhair Nahle, July 28, 2018).
- Expressing loyalty to Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei:
Picture of Ali Khamenei with Arabic reading, “To Ali Khamenei are given my love and loyalty “I am I favor of the Governance of the Islamic Jurist” (Facebook page of Hajj Zuhair Nahle, January 2, 2018).
- Likes for Iranian civilian institutions operating in Lebanon:
Likes on Hajj Zuhair Nahle’s Facebook profile page. Outlined, right: The Ragheb Harb Hospital, operated by the Iranian Red Crescent. Left: The Imam Khomeini Cultural Centers’ network.
 A Hezbollah foundation engaged in construction and social projects. ↑
 UN Security Council Resolution 1701, passed on August 12, 2006, called for the institution of full Lebanese sovereignty of all of Lebanon and the disarmament of all militias, Lebanese (i.e., Hezbollah and other armed Lebanese organizations) and non-Lebanese (i.e., Palestinian terrorist organizations). According to the resolution the area of south Lebanon from the Litani River to the border would have particular security arrangements that would prevent an armed Hezbollah presence. For further information, see the December 19, 2018 ITIC bulletin "Security Council Resolution 1701 and Its Systematic Violation by Hezbollah and Iran." ↑
 Hezbollah operative from the town of Ayta al-Shab in southwestern Lebanon, killed in the fighting in Syria in January 2014 (in al-Ghouta al-Sharqia near Damascus). ↑
 Implementation of Security Council resolution 1701 (2006) Report of the Secretary-General Reporting period from 1 March 2018 to 20 June 2018, Implementation of Security Council resolution 1701 (2006) during the period from 21 June to 26 October 2018, Implementation of Security Council resolution 1701 (2006) during the period from 21 June to 26 October 2018, Implementation of Security Council resolution 1701 (2006) during the period from 18 February to 24 June 2019, Implementation of Security Council resolution 1701 (2006) during the period from 25 June to 31 October 2019. ↑
 Implementation of Security Council Resolution 1701 (2006) during the period from 25 June to 31 October 2019. ↑
 For further information see the June 23, 2019 bulletin, "Jihad al-Bina Association in Lebanon: A Hezbollah social foundation engaged in construction and social projects among the Shiite community, being a major component in Hezbollah’s civilian infrastructure." ↑
 For further information, see the July 10, 2019 bulletin, "Resistance society: Hezbollah’s municipal activity." ↑
 For further information, see the June 2, 2019 bulletin, Hezbollah’s “Education Mobilization:” An institution engaged in the indoctrination of Shiite students in Lebanon’s state and private educational systems, in preparation for their joining Hezbollah upon graduation." ↑
 For further information, see the June 20, 2019 bulletin, "The Imam Al-Mahdi Scouts Association: Hezbollah’s youth movement which indoctrinates youth with Iranian radical Shiite Islam and serves as a source of youngsters who join Hezbollah." ↑
 For further information, see the June 20, 2019 bulletin, "Hezbollah operates networks of private schools indoctrinating Shiite youth in Lebanon with the ideology of the Islamic Revolution in Iran and with loyalty to Hezbollah and the path of terrorism." ↑
 For further information, see the July 24, 2019 bulletin, "The Islamic Health Organization: Hezbollah institution providing health services to Hezbollah operatives and the Shiite population in general as a means for gaining influence and creating a Shiite mini-state within Lebanon." ↑
 For further information, see the October 7, 2019 bulletin, "Jihadi tourism: visits to battle legacy sites and shahid tombs as an indoctrination tool for spreading Hezbollah’s ideology." ↑
 The sign quotes a passage from the Qur'an describing a cave where monotheistic believers found shelter when they were being pursued in the time before Islam (Green Without Borders website, November 25, 2014). ↑
 The suicide bombing attack was carried out in Marj Ayoun on March 10, 1985. A suicide bomber detonated a car bomb near a convoy of IDF vehicles which included four trucks of IDF soldiers returning to base from a weekend leave. Twelve soldiers were killed and 14 were wounded (Wikipedia) ↑
 Hezbollah operative from Nabatiya in south Lebanon, killed in the region of the shrine of al-Set Zeinab in Damascus. Considered missing until June 2019, when he was officially declared a shaheed whose grave was unknown (Hazaharani local news network website, June 18, 2019). ↑
 Hezbollah operative from the village of al-Saksakiya in south Lebanon. Killed in September 2015 in the fighting in al-Zabdani, Syria. ↑
 Hezbollah operative from the village of Burj Qalawi in south Lebanon. Killed in November 2016 in the fighting in Aleppo, Syria. In addition to his military activity he was a soccer player on the Hezbollah-affiliated al-Ahed team. ↑
 For further information, see the March 11, 2019 bulletin, "Hezbollah’s Martyrs Foundation: purpose, mode of operation and funding methods." ↑
 For further information,, see the December 8, 2008 bulletin, "Exporting the Iranian revolution to Lebanon: Iran and Hezbollah operate an extensive network of cultural and religious institutions as well as publishing houses. This network is used to inculcate Lebanese society, primarily the Shi’ite community, with Iranian radical Islamic ideology." ↑