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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Annan could have ordered UNTSO workers to leave border area

As many of you know already four employees of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization were killed yesterday in an Israeli missile strike along the Lebanon - Israel border. Today, UN military personnel claimed that the outpost in which the four were killed was hit with a precision guided missile, and that the strike came after repeated requests by UNTSO commanders to the IDF not to strike that specific position.

The IDF spokesman told The Jerusalem Post that the army was looking into the allegations and that it deeply regretted the "tragic death" of the UN personnel.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has apologized for the incident, while UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has accused Israel of deliberately targeting the outpost.

But it seems that Annan could have prevented the entire incident from occurring. The unarmed observers were required to stay at their post until Annan ordered them to leave - an order that never came.

Hat Tip: Little Green Footballs

The four United Nations peacekeepers killed in an Israeli attack on their outpost were required to stay at that post "until they were ordered by the [U.N.] secretary general to withdraw," said a member of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization on Wednesday.

But the peacekeepers apparently never received such an order, despite the fierce cross-border fighting that erupted in southern Lebanon two weeks ago.

The four peacekeepers -- from China, Austria, Canada and Finland -- had taken security precautions and were in a shelter under their bunker when they were killed, said Wicki Dieter, the chief plans officer for the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO).

(UNTSO is an unarmed U.N. body whose "observer" mandate dates from 1948. By contrast, UNIFIL -- the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon -- was created in 1978 to "restore the international peace and security" in southern Lebanon.)

According to Dieter, it's still not clear exactly what happened at the UNIFIL outpost, which, according to the BBC, had been shelled by Israeli forces at least 14 times before Tuesday's deadly attack.


Neither Annan nor Israel has said anything about why the unarmed peacekeepers -- who were supposed to be monitoring a ceasefire -- were left in what's become a war zone. Israeli officials flatly refused comment about that on Wednesday.
As I have mentioned several times, UNIFIL forces have been accused of complicity - and cover up - in the abduction of three Israeli soldiers by Hezbullah in 2000.


At 8:37 PM, Blogger FrumWithQuestions said...

I agree with you. If all we know, Hezbollah fired at them or were using the UN workers as shields like they do with children. Until the IDF finished their investigation we will not know the truth but judging on the past there is going to be a reason why this happened.

At 8:49 PM, Blogger AS said...

That's what I was wondering..what the heck were they doing there?

At 9:21 PM, Blogger YJLAW1 said...

I wonder if this is something similar to the theories about why the USS Liberty was hit during the 1967 war.

Supposedly, the Liberty took on a special team of decoders/interpreters (per author John Loftus) which was intercepting and forwarding the order of battle from Israeli commanders in the field to Arab Armies. The Israelis, scorched it with Napalm to knock out the communications and hit it with a single torpedo (of note, several Israeli pilots had breakdowns after realizing they had struck a US ship, not an Egyptian Destroyer as they were initially led to believe). Several US sailors were killed. The transmissions to the Arab armies were ceased.
Anyone want to guess if there were communications emanating from the UN observation post to Lebanese/Hizballah forces?

At 10:31 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

It may be worse than communications. Go read what I just posted.


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