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Israel has formally rejected the UN's plan to comprise its bolstered UNIFIL force with nations who do not recognize Israel. Ehud Olmert has warned Lebanon and the UN that it will not abide by 1701 if the UN stations hostile troops on its northern border:
ISRAEL said last night that it would veto the presence in Lebanon of peace-keeping forces from nations with which it does not have diplomatic links.
Ehud Olmert, the Prime Minister, ruled out countries that do not recognise Israel, complicating the already difficult task of assembling 15,000 troops to oversee the United Nations’ ceasefire resolution and bolster Lebanese forces.
Malaysia, Indonesia and Bangladesh — Muslim states that do not have diplomatic links to Israel — are among the few countries that have offered troops for the stabilisation force that is expected to be led by European troops.
This arises from the collapse of French fortitude after having them push through their own requirements for the cease-fire itself. Annan expected 5,000 French troops and French command of UNIFIL during the deployment, but Jacques Chirac complained about the rules of engagement that his own government insisted on establishing in 1701. Now the French contingent has dropped to 200 additional troops to the 200 already in UNIFIL.
That gap forced Kofi Annan to start begging for pledges. The only countries besides Italy showing significant interest in contributing troops to the sub-Litani came from Muslim nations openly hostile to Israel. Only an idiot would expect Israel to sit quietly while a hostile Muslim force joined Hezbollah near the Blue Line, and apparently Annan and Fuad Siniora are idiots. Both earlier dismissed Israeli complaints by stating that Israel had no say on the composition of UNIFIL.
Both Lebanon and the UN may discover their error very quickly. With new holes opening up in 1701 by the hour, Israel may just decide to take its chances on war rather than commit suicide. The UN and Lebanon have no standing to issue diktats to the Israelis, and they have made clear that any such effort will prove counterproductive in the extreme.Sphere It View blog reactions
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Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Israel would not accept the presence of peacekeepers in Lebanon from countries that don't have diplomatic relations with the state, officials said on Sunday. The decision complicated efforts by the United Nations to form a [Read More]
Tracked on August 21, 2006 9:50 AM
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