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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

UNIFIL mandate renewed

The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously on Monday to renew the UNIFIL mandate for southern Lebanon. The problem is that it was renewed 'as is,' which means that it has all the same drawbacks that it has had since UN Security Council Resolution 1701 ended the Second Lebanon War in 2006, especially the fact that UNIFIL is prohibited from acting in certain areas and cannot enter others without a request from the Lebanese Armed Forces.
In a unanimous resolution, the Council said it had determined that "the situation in Lebanon continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security" and had therefore decided to extend UNIFIL's mandate until 31 August 2011.

The Council strongly urged all parties concerned to respect the cessation of hostilities, to prevent any violation of the U.N.-drawn Blue Line separating Lebanon and Israel, and to cooperate fully with the world body and UNIFIL.

It also urged the Israeli government to speed up the withdrawal of its troops from the northern part of the border village of Ghajar in coordination with U.N. peacekeepers.

Lebanon's U.N. envoy Nawaf Salam complained of "brazen" Israeli infringements of U.N. resolutions covering the border, including flights in Lebanese airspace.
Israel's Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations, Haim Waxman had a very different take.
“With Iranian and Syrian support through arms, training, and financing –– all of which is a flagrant violation of resolution 1701 and today’s resolution –– Hizbullah builds a deadly arsenal throughout Lebanon, including south of the Litani River and in the area of UNIFIL’s operation,” Waxman told the Council.

Hizbullah’s military build-up, he said, comes as a direct result of weapon transfers which constitute violations of the arms embargo under resolution 1701. Simultaneously, Waxman said, UNIFIL movement is increasingly impeded by Hizbullah.

"Hizbullah’s deadly rearmament endangers Lebanon itself and the wider Middle East as Hizbullah deploys these weapons and builds its military infrastructure throughout the civilian villages of southern Lebanon, adjacent to schools, hospitals, houses of worships, and residential buildings,” Waxman said.

Waxman called for more efforts to create an area free of armed personnel between the Blue Line and the Litani River, saying that Lebanese armed forces “must act responsibly to ensure peace and stability” and do more to differentiate itself from Hizbullah.

Waxman cited a UNIFIL investigation report on the incident on August 3rd when during routine Israeli work south of the Blue Line, Lebanese forces fired direct fire across the Blue Line, killing one Israeli soldier and wounding another.

The Lebanese Army opening fire, “which triggered the exchange, constitutes a serious violation of resolution 1701, and a flagrant breach of the cessation of hostilities,” Waxman said.

Waxman reiterated Israel’s call upon the LAF to respect the Blue Line in its entirety.
Waxman is right, but Israel messed this up a long time ago. The current situation is a result of the structural problems in UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which our then-Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, apparently did not understand.


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