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Thursday, November 30, 2006

If UNIFIL is disbanded, who will miss it?

There are a lot of reasons for Israelis to be concerned about tomorrow's planned mass demonstrations in Beirut to bring down Fouad Siniora's government. We should be concerned that we could soon be facing an Islamist state to our north. We should be concerned that we could soon be facing another openly terrorist state to our north. We should be concerned that we could soon be facing another state to our north that openly wishes to drive us out of our land and into the sea. But there is no reason to be concerned, as 'Israeli defense officials' purport to be, that UNIFIL will be disbanded and expelled from Lebanon if Siniora's government falls and Hezbullah takes over. If anything, the opposite is true. If I were Nasrallah, I would want UNIFIL to stay just where it is. While they are totally ineffective at enforcing the cease fire hudna in Lebanon (if indeed they are trying to enforce it at all), they make perfect human shields.

The 'new and improved' UNIFIL that has been in place since this summer's war has been anything but new and improved. UNIFIL has threatened Israeli reconaissance flights that have attempted to monitor the weapons smuggling that UNIFIL cannot or will not stop. UNIFIL is afraid to patrol in the dark, allowing Hezbullah free access to its bunkers in southern Lebanon, which it has restocked since the summer's war. Nabih Berri, the leader of the Shiite Amal militia, summed up UNIFIL's presence thusly:
Hizbullah will remain armed and fully operational in south Lebanon, despite the newly deployed UN forces, until Israel withdraws from all Lebanese territory and ceases its air, sea and land violations, Mr Berri said. "The Unifil presence will not hinder Hizbullah's defensive operations. The resistance doesn't need to fly its flags high to operate. It's a guerrilla movement; it operates among the people," he said.
UNIFIL includes troops from Islamist countries like Malaysia and Indonesia, that hate Israel and will never recognize its 'right to exist.' It also includes troops from Fwance. During the war this past summer, UNIFIL openly published daily real-time intelligence, of obvious usefulness to Hezbollah, on the location, equipment, and force structure of Israeli troops in Lebanon. If there were When there is another war, there is no reason to believe they would not do so again.

If UNIFIL is disbanded and expelled from Lebanon, Israel should rejoice. At least it would rid us of the pretense that there are peacekeepers between us and Hezbullah.

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