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July 27, 2006
Israel Rejects UN-Led Force In Lebanon

Israel's outspoken ambassador to the UN, Dan Gillerman, explicitly rejected the deployment of another United Nations-led force in southern Lebanon as part of any cease-fire initiative. Gillerman said that any force deployed to replace the Israelis would have to have more professional leadership than that offered by Turtle Bay:

Israel's U.N. ambassador on Thursday ruled out major U.N. involvement in any potential international force in Lebanon, saying more professional and better-trained troops were needed for such a volatile situation. ...

Gillerman was highly critical of the current U.N. peacekeeping force, deployed in a buffer Zone between Israel and Lebanon since 1978, saying its facilities had sometimes been used for cover by Hezbollah militants and that it had not done its job.

"It has never been able to prevent any shelling of Israel, any terrorist attack, any kidnappings," he said. "They either didn't see or didn't know or didn't want to see, but they have been hopeless." ...

The flaws with the U.N. force make it imperative that any U.N. force come from somewhere else, though it could have a mandate from the United Nations, he said. "So obviously it cannot be a United Nations force," Gillerman said. "It will have to be an international force, a professional one, with soldiers from countries who have the training and capabilities to be effective."

I detailed that sorry history in my previous post, using the UN's own report on UNIFIL as a source. That report also explains why Israel has refused to allow the UN to contribute the investigation into the shelling of the UNTSO position earlier this week. The UN already knew that Hezbollah had built its positions in close proximity to the UNTSO/UNIFIL camps -- and Kofi Annan did not do anything to get those men out of the area once fighting broke out. Why should Israel allow the UN to bias the investigation when it will inevitably pin the blame on Kofi?

Gillerman says Israel will agree to an international force, but only under certain conditions. The "peacekeepers" have to ensure that Hezbollah gets disarmed, even if they have to do it themselves. They have to deny Hezbollah access to the area around the Blue Line so that they cannot provoke the Israelis any longer. Gillerman also wants the international force to monitor the border between Lebanon and Syria to ensure that Bashar Assad and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad do not resupply Hassan Nasrallah and his band of terrorists.

Under the circumstances, it's clear that the UN won't agree to those missions. They had 28 years to do all of these tasks and completely failed in doing so. Gillerman and Israel do not plan on waiting 28 years for the UN to develop the testicular fortitude to do the job this time.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 27, 2006 9:45 PM

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