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Sunday, August 06, 2006

Government pleased with draft UN resolution

The government is pleased with the UN draft resolution agreed yesterday between the US and France. As I noted, the most important part about the resolution is that it permits the IDF to remain in Lebanon until a real international peacekeeping force is in place.

However, the resolution did not incorporate another Israeli demand, namely that there would be no end to the fighting until an international force that is not UNIFIL is in place. Instead, there will be a cease fire, which will be monitored by UNIFIL, but Israel is allowed to remain in the security zone until the international force is in place. This is considered a victory for France. The risk here is that the cease fire goes into effect but the international force never comes into being, which leaves Israel in the security zone. Given that Israel has the right to respond if attacked, I'm not sure that's the end of the world for us.

Keep in mind also that this resolution is not final. The Russians are apparently upset about being left out in the process and the Chinese, who also have a veto, may have something to say as well.

Israel has taken the position that it will not respond to the resolution until it is in final form. Lebanon and Hezbullah have already rejected it.

Much has been made over the fact that the Shaba Farms issue has been put on the table as part of this resolution. However, the Jerusalem Post is reporting that it has learned that Prime Minister Olmert promised the US two months ago that the Shaba Farms issue would be resolved after UN Security Council Resolution 1559 was implemented, Hizbullah was removed from the area and the UN declared the region part of Lebanon. We're a long way from those things happening.

This is also supposed to be the first of two UN Security Council resolutions, and it is being adopted under Article VI of the UN Charter, which is declarative. A second resolution, under Article VII of the UN Charter (so it will have 'teeth') will set out the makeup and mandate of the multinational force to be sent to Lebanon to "support the Lebanese armed forces and government in providing a secure environment and contribute to the implementation of a permanent ceasefire and a long-term solution." Someone in the comments section asked whether I am concerned about there being a UN resolution under Article VII. First, we are a long way from that resolution. Second, it depends what it says. If all it says is that Israel may not take offensive actions in Lebanon, I am not that concerned by it. If it requires us to release Lebanese prisoners terrorists, then I am concerned.

One thing I did miss yesterday was that the resolution does in fact call for the unconditional release of the two IDF soldiers that Hezbullah kidnapped on July 12. The reason I missed it is that it was in one of the preamble paragraphs rather than in the operative paragraphs of the resolution, and because the New York Times specifically mentions that no 'prisoner exchange' was discussed. I'm not sure what significance, if any, there is to this provision being in the preamble rather than in the operative paragraphs. But I suspect that there is some significance. I'm not familiar enough with the workings of the UN to say.

The paragraph in which the Israeli soldiers are mentioned is the following:
PP3. Emphasizing the need for an end of violence, but at the same time emphasizing the need to address urgently the causes that have given rise to the current crisis, including by the unconditional release of the abducted Israeli soldiers


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