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August 30, 2006
Olmert And The Fixed Buffet

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has shrugged off repeated calls by UN head Kofi Annan to lift the military blockade of Lebanon, telling reporters that he sees the cease-fire agreement as a "fixed buffet" and, presumably, not a smorgasbord:

Mr Annan said the blockade should be lifted to help Lebanon recover from the month-long conflict.

But Mr Olmert said only that Israel would pull out of the Lebanon once UN resolution 1701 was implemented.

"[The resolution] is not a buffet where you pick up one item and leave others," he said.

"So far as we're concerned we entirely accept this, this is a fixed buffet and everything will be implemented including the lifting of the blockade as part of an entire implementation of the different articles."

Mr Olmert said unless two Israeli soldiers captured by Hezbollah on 12 July were freed, the UN resolution "cannot be considered as fully implemented".

Olmert may have mentioned that the cease-fire's failures go beyond the two soldiers that Hezbollah has still not freed. UNSC Resolution 1701 calls for the implementation of UNSCR 1559, which directs Lebanon to disarm Hezbollah. Lebanon, so far, has refused, which puts them in direct violation of both resolutions. Israel has no responsibility to lift the blockade while the Fuad Siniora government refuses to even attempt to meet the requirements of 1701.

The UN hasn't demonstrated any inclination to effect the terms of the resolution, either. Annan has said that the UNIFIL mandate will not extend to disarming Hezbollah; in fact he assured the Shi'ites in southern Lebanon that the UNIFIL forces will not look for arms at all. More to the point, Annan has also stated that UNIFIL will not perform interdiction missions to keep arms from flowing into Lebanon and back to the Hezbollah terrorists who find themselves critically short on missiles and rockets after the war. Olmert has to apply the blockade in order to do the tasks in 1701 that Lebanon and the UN refuse to do.

Olmert may have botched the military mission in Lebanon, but he has done much better in protecting Israeli interests in the post-1701 environment. The Israeli insistence on full compliance with 1701 will be the only way that either the Israelis realize their goals in the sub-Litani region or expose the global community for the appeasers they obviously are. The blockade must continue until Siniora and Annan understand the concept of the "fixed buffet". If they want Israel to abide by 1701, then they cannot expect to get a pass on its full implementation. If they are unable to meet that standard, then neither should have insisted on the cease-fire at all.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 30, 2006 6:32 AM

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Tracked on August 31, 2006 5:11 AM


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