Israel Endorses International Force

Israel Endorses International Force

As Robert Rosenberg notes in his “Today” column, August 1, Hezbollah threatens to attack such an intervention force, but nevertheless:

The international force under discussion is the first that Israel has ever asked for. Indeed, traditionally, Israel has never trusted international forces, except the American-backed multinational force in Sinai, there by virtue of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. True, the UNTSO forces on the Golan Heights have never given Israel a reason for anger — and have even facilitated some interesting cross-border communications over the years.

But UNIFIL, the blue-helmeted troops in south Lebanon since the late 1970s, after the [1978] Litani Operation, an essentially unsuccessful Israeli ground invasion meant to push PLO guerillas out of south Lebanon’s ‘Fatahland’ have been a symbol not only of UN ineffectiveness, but indeed of its complicity with Israeli enemies. The UNIFIL troops were the kind of watchdogs that watch as the robbers come and go – they carry small arms, but have never been known to draw their weapons and often provided shelter-by-proximity to anti-Israeli forces operating in south Lebanon. Indeed, the deaths of four UNIFIL troops during the current campaign was explained by Israel by pointing out that the Hizbollah had a major encampment right next door to the albeit well-marked UN positions hit by Israel Air Force missiles.

But for the first time, Israel is actually asking for an international force, for the first time, ready to put at least some of its defense in the hands of strangers. Except the Israeli demands for the force, which U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice calls a ‘stabilization’ force, go way beyond blue-helmeted ‘peacekeepers.’ The international force envisioned by Israel – and perhaps the Lebanese government, which knows it needs help if it still wants to disarm Hizbollah…, includes at least 10,000 battle-ready troops, led by a Western power, to be deployed not only on the Lebanese-Israeli border, but also on the Lebanese-Syrian border, to prevent arms deliveries to Hizbollah. Indeed, it’s impossible not to wonder if the Israeli enthusiasm for an international force might end up being one of the reasons for knee-jerk Arab rejection of the force.

By | 2006-08-01T20:14:00-04:00 August 1st, 2006|Blog|0 Comments

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