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Thursday, November 23, 2006

France declares war on Israel

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American readers.

The Jerusalem Post is reporting this morning that France has authorized its UNIFIL troops to shoot at Israeli jets doing reconaissance missions to discover the transport of weapons from Iran and Syria to Hezbullah.
French soldiers in Lebanon who feel threatened by aggressive Israeli overflights are permitted to shoot at IAF fighter jets, a high-ranking French military officer told The Jerusalem Post Wednesday, several days after meeting with an IDF general in Paris to discuss what he said was a "blatant violation of the cease-fire."

Nehushtan, new to his post and previously deputy commander of the air force, told his French counterparts that Israel was conducting the flights to collect intelligence on Hizbullah positions in southern Lebanon.

According to the French officer, Nehushtan apologized for an incident on October 31 when an IAF fighter carried out a mock bombing run over a French UNIFIL position in southern Lebanon, almost prompting troops to fire anti-aircraft missiles.

"There was a reality on the ground and it was important for us to reaffirm what we had seen and explain clearly what are the orders of the French soldiers to protect themselves," the French officer said.

The French told Nehushtan they would view further aggressive flyovers as a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701.

"No assurances were made to us that they [the IAF] would stop [the flights]," the French officer said. "The orders that the [French] soldiers have is that their weapons are for self-defense and if a commander will feel threatened, as it was about to happen on the 31st of October, he would have the right to use force."

Milos Strugar, spokesman for UNIFIL, supported the French position, saying that according to the UN resolution, UNIFIL had the right to use force in self-defense, even against Israeli aircraft.

"UNIFIL has the right to take all necessary action to protect UN personnel in self-defense," he said.

France's furor at the overflights was not divorced from French domestic political considerations, government officials in Jerusalem said Wednesday.

France is scheduled to hold the first round of presidential elections in April, and one of those reportedly considering tossing her hat into the ring is Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie.

According to these officials, taking a tough stance toward Israel on the issue - a position that grabs headlines in France - helps her raise her profile.

The officials said it didn't hurt Alliot-Marie politically to be seen as someone who needed to be "held back" from responding forcefully to the overflights.
Sounds like Alliot-Marie is pandering for the Muslim vote, ya think?
The Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, has not - contrary to some press reports - asked the IDF to stop the overflights, diplomatic officials said. Rather, they have passed on to the IDF European concerns that the flights be performed more discreetly, and not in a way that could be interpreted by either the Lebanese or the Europeans as a provocation.
The French seem to be spoiling for a fight. Israel's ambassador to the UN Danny Gillerman was right when he attacked France at the UN General Assembly last week for supporting the condemnation of Israel's actions in Beit Hanoun:
During Friday's debate on an anti-Israel UN General Assembly resolution, Gillerman turned to the French delegation and asked, "If France was shelled across the border, what would the French do? Would the French government send flowers to the attackers? Well, by voting for this resolution you will be sending flowers to the terrorists, flowers which tomorrow will be laid on the grave of the next Israeli victim."

Undiplomatic? Certainly. Counterproductive? Maybe. Deserved? In spades.

According to Gillerman, France not only supported - in contrast to abstentions by Denmark, Japan and the UK - the lopsided resolution that the US vetoed in the Security Council, but lobbied other European countries to support the similar Arab-backed resolution in the General Assembly.
Our leftist-dominated foreign ministry (the result of years of appointments by Shimon Peres and Shlomo Ben Ami) complained that Gillerman was "fanning the flames," but this morning's news is proof - if any is needed - that Gillerman was correct. The Jerusalem Post noted in its editorial earlier this week (link above):
But why single out France and not the other 150-odd nations that went along? Because France expects to be seen as a leader among nations and must be judged as such.


It was at French insistence, of course, that the arms embargo provision in UN Security Council Resolution 1701 was effectively gutted by a provision that requires a Lebanese request before UNIFIL forces are allowed to police the Lebanese-Syrian border.

Now weapons are flowing across that border that threaten both Lebanon and Israel, and the main French concern is that Israel is attempting to monitor this flow with its overflights. These flights would, of course, be unnecessary if France worked to reverse its error and helped block the illegal flow of weaponry across the Lebanese-Syrian border.

Yet even this pales besides the greatest French contribution to the threats against Israel: its standing athwart efforts to impose effective sanctions on Iran. While Russia and China are guilty of greater obstructionism, France should be held to a higher standard. More importantly, it is France, along with Germany and the UK, who are ultimately responsible for submitting to the Russian-Chinese veto, rather than joining with the US in forcing the issue.

France's ambassador to Israel wrote recently in this newspaper that France is proud of its "unshakeable commitment... as a friend of Israel."

The feeling might be more mutual if French policies did not encourage terrorism against us, as Gillerman rightly charged, and did not acquiesce to growing threats to our existence.
If the French shoot at Israeli planes, will the IAF shoot back? Don't bet on it.


At 11:55 AM, Blogger bRed said...

I dunno.. it seems that Israel doesnt have a very good track record of NOT attacking UN forces..

hmmm it seems to me that it is right that they have a right to defend themselves..

Even ur titles suggests that u think everybody else is against you and that you are always right. "France declare war on Israel?" oh go and grow a brain!

At 12:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The mandate of the UN in Lebanon is as a peace keeper between Israel and Hezbolah. However the UN is only authorized to fire on Israeli troops. Even if Hezbolah attacked the French troops they could be court marshaled, for returning fire.

So they don't really have the right to defend themselves... just to shoot at Israeli's they feel are threatening them. Which is basically a license to shoot at will, but alleviates any one individual from having to take the blame for a real decision. A decision which amounts to little more than, "It' OK to fire on Israel, there are no consequences for it."

It seems the price of Jewish blood is trading down again. Since it's apparent that our own Gov't doesn't value it, and is unwilling to enforce it's value.


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