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Thursday, July 15, 2010

UNIFIL agrees to stop doing its job

You may recall that I reported last week that French UNIFIL troops had been attacked by Hezbullah supporters in southern Lebanon and that the Lebanese Armed Forces had agreed to 'protect' the French troops. Evelyn Gordon updates us on what has happened since.

But a few weeks ago, something dreadful happened: a French contingent of UNIFIL actually tried to carry out this mission. It began using sniffer dogs to detect illegal weapons and explosives and insisted on searching homes and yards where it had reason to believe Hezbollah was stockpiling such arms.

The immediate result was a series of clashes apparently either staged or encouraged by Hezbollah between Lebanese villagers and UNIFIL troops. In the most serious incident, villagers hurled stones at the peacekeepers, seized their weapons, and vandalized their vehicle.

The second result was that, at the end of last week, UNIFIL agreed to stop using sniffer dogs and refrain from entering homes and yards – or, in other words, to stop carrying out its mission of detecting illegal Hezbollah weapons. Its commander, Maj. Gen. Alberto Asarta Cuevas, followed that up with a fawning apology for the “mistakes,” published in the Lebanese press as an open letter to the Lebanese people.

In fairness, you can’t really blame UNIFIL. Soldiers are expected to risk their lives to defend their own countries and their own people, but it’s quite understandable that they are less enthusiastic about risking their lives to defend someone else’s country and someone else’s people unless their own country sees a vital national interest in so doing (as the U.S. does in Afghanistan). And the risks are real: in 2007, for instance, six Spanish UNIFIL members whom Israel considered particularly effective were killed by a roadside bomb in what appeared to be a clear message from Hezbollah.

Indeed. And the fact that we are still depending on UNIFIL for security along our Lebanese border is a severe and immediate problem.


At 12:11 PM, Blogger Kristen Stewart said...

Hope you would add my blog. Thanks a lot. Keep blogging....

Love your blog and you are added :) Keep up the good work and thanks for the kinds words. -- Kristen

At 4:22 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

The point is a relevant one on to future security agreements in Yesha. No foreign country is going to send troops to die for the Jews nor should Israel ever ask it to. The basic principle must be maintained only Israel can protect itself. It must never place its security and existence in the hands of others.


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