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Saturday, July 03, 2010

UNIFIL getting ready to leave Lebanon?

Is UNIFIL feeling heat to get out of Hezbullah's way in southern Lebanon? I have two disturbing reports that may indicate just that. The first report says that UNIFIL is stopping certain patrols in southern Lebanon.
The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon halted some patrols of the southern region last week, with Thursday reports saying the decision came from officials in New York.

Lebanon's online news site Nahernet said the patrols, with a mandate to ensure the cessation of hostilities between Israel and Lebanon following the 2006 war waged by Israel on the area, had sparked protests in several villages in the country's south.

The site cited UN sources saying the patrols were implemented to "ensure the readiness of peacekeepers on the ground," and said UNIFIL commanders had "fully informed" the Lebanese military about the move.

Villages in the affected area, however, decided not to permit the troops to enter. On Tuesday, residents blocked the Adeisseh-Kfar Kila Road and threw stones at a UNIFIL vehicle in Khirbit Selim. Villagers say the patrols violate UN Security Council resolution 1701, passed in 2006 and ending the Israeli war on Lebanon.
The second - earlier - report says that the UN is 'concerned' by reports of Lebanese protests against UNIFIL.
"I'm very concerned about the incidents that took place and I know that the Security Council members are also concerned," Michael Williams, the UN special coordinator for Lebanon, told a news conference.

Williams, who is scheduled to brief the Security Council on Lebanon this month, said villagers staged 20 separate protests this week against the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

The protests came during a maximum deployment exercise on Tuesday by UNIFIL, charged with overseeing a ceasefire between Israel and Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

Protestors pelted stones at UNIFIL vehicles, slightly wounding a peacekeeper in Khirbit Silm, some 18 kilometres (11 miles) from the border.

"Some of these (protests) may have been something spontaneous in the street, but some were clearly organised," Williams said, singling out one incident that he said involved around 100 people.

UNIFIL spokesperson Neeraj Singh told AFP the exercise was a "regular activity" with no special operations and the Lebanese army had been fully informed of the nature and purpose of the exercise.

But the Lebanese government released a statement on Wednesday night saying the troops should coordinate with the Lebanese military and "execute all exercises in collaboration with the army."
Most of the residents of southern Lebanon are supporters of Hezbullah. Could it be that Hezbullah is orchestrating these protests to clear UNIFIL out in advance of a war? Maybe. But it's kind of surprising that Hezbullah isn't just trying to use UNIFIL as human shields instead (which is what we feared when the 'new improved UNIFIL' was installed in southern Lebanon in 2006). Do they plan something so horrible that they don't want any outside witnesses?



At 12:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, just like the good ol' days of 1967, when Nasser told U-Thant to jump, and the latter replied, "How high?" U.N. = Useless Nothings.

In other news, Mahmound "El Generoso" Abbas decides he might give Israel the Kotel. Maybe we should give him London, that'd be just as logical.

At 10:00 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

That report was denied. The Palestinians are not going to make a single concession. Israel will give in again to world and American pressure.

Just wait and watch.

What could go wrong indeed

At 11:21 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Israel’s Critical Security Needs for a Viable Peace
Israel, in any future agreement with the Palestinians, has a critical need for defensible borders. This video outlines the threats to Israel from terrorist rockets, ballistic missiles, and conventional ground and air threats from the east.
For more information visit: http://www.defensibleborders.org/security
-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs


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