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July 20, 2006
Gillerman: 'It Will Take As Long As It Will Take'

Israel's ambassador to the UN gave no indication that Israel plans any cessation of its mission in southern Lebanon, at least not until Hezbollah has been incapacitated. In the wake of a UN Security Council session in which Kofi Annan lashed out at both Israel and Hezbollah, Gillerman made clear his disappointment that Annan could not bring himself to mention Iranian and Syrian support for the terrorist group:

Israeli troops met fierce resistance from Hezbollah guerrillas Thursday as they crossed into Lebanon to seek tunnels and weapons for a second straight day, and Israel hinted at a full-scale invasion. Meanwhile, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan told the Security Council that "hostilities must stop" between Israel and Hezbollah. ...

Annan also condemned Israel's "excessive use of force" against Lebanon.

"There are serious obstacles to reaching a cease-fire or even to diminishing the violence quickly," Annan said.

Reporting from the UN session remains sketchy, but I watched most of Annan's speech as well as the reaction to it from Gillerman and John Bolton. Annan again called for a cease-fire, demanding the return of the Israeli soldiers and the end of all hostilities. He also insisted on establishing a larger multinational forces, using "regional actors", without explaining why Israel would feel safer by replacing Hezbollah with forces from Syria, Saudia Arabia, Iran, and other "regional actors".

John Bolton once again questioned the call for a cease fire, wondering how one gets a cease fire from a group of terrorists. He called Annan's judgment into question by implication, and stated that proposals based on assumptions of a trustworthy cease fire were "simplistic" and not serious.

Gillerman, however, was irate and it showed in the press conference. After being asked why Israel was not responding to Fuad Saniora's "begging" of Israel to cease its attacks, Gillerman rounded on the reporter for his double standard. Gillerman's response:

The United Nations .. recognized the fact that Israel withdrew from the whole of Lebanon. This is something that the United Nations has declared time and time again. Israel was attacked by Lebanon in an act of war, and did what any democracy would do. And that is, try to retrieve its boys, its soldiers, and also stop the shelling of its towns and villages. Why do you only address the Israeli bombings in Lebanon and not the shelling of our cities? Why don't you talk about the fact that those ruthless, indiscriminate animals yesterday targeted the holiest city, one of the holiest places to Christianity? Nazareth!

Gillerman told the reporters that Israel has no intention of leaving Hezbollah the ability to continue operating in the "cesspool" that the terrorists created. At least Israel recognizes the need to eliminate Hezbollah's operational capability as a condition of any long-term solution. Before diplomacy can take effect, Gillerman said, the terrorists have to be neutralized -- and that operation, he assured the reporters, "will take as long as it will take."

Note: Anyone hear from Sheikh Nasrallah yet? It's been almost 18 hours since the bombing of the bunker, and the Hezbollah leadership has been very, very quiet.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 20, 2006 10:25 AM

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