The Cease Fire is being Violated, But Israel Can’t Figure Out How
The level of incompetence displayed by Israel’s political leadership reached new heights today, now that PM Olmert finally let Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni fly to New York. “Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni urged Secretary General Kofi Annan to ensure the complete disarmament of Hezbollah and to prevent it from being rearmed by Iran and Syria.” Meanwhile, Livni also said “the fact that the kidnapped soldiers have not been released by Hizbullah is a clear violation of UN Resolution 1701 and I expect the international community to continue acting to bring about their immediate release.”
Wrong, and wrong. Refusing to allow Livni to go to the UN before the resolution vote may turn out to be one of Olmert’s few correct decisions in the closing days of this round of the conflict.
The fact that Hizbollah has not released the kidnapped soldiers is not a violation of Resolution 1701, because the Government of Israel was collectively too obtuse or negligent in its moral responsibilities to notice that the requirement for “the unconditional release of the abducted Israeli soldiers” was not in an operative paragraph of the resolution, as I said before.
Meanwhile, the fact that Lebanon has now stated that it will not disarm Hizbollah is a clear violation of the same resolution. Anything but “the complete disarmament of Hezbollah” means the cease fire resolution has been breached. OP8 of the resolution calls for “the establishment between the Blue Line and the Litani river of an area free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the government of Lebanon and of UNIFIL,” and also for “the disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon, so that, pursuant to the Lebanese cabinet decision of July 27, 2006, there will be no weapons or authority in Lebanon other than that of the Lebanese state.” Hizbollah weapons caches on the Israeli border are a violation of the agreement, but Livni can’t seem to find the words.
AllahPundit at HotAir.com noticed the same thing.
During the war, we were told that Israel shouldn’t be attacking Lebanon, since Lebanon isn’t responsible for Hizbollah. But of course the Lebanese Prime Minister said Hizbollah “saved Lebanon” and indeed two of his Cabinet ministers are from Hizbollah. So OP14 is rather amusing, since it “calls upon the Government of Lebanon to secure its borders and other entry points to prevent the entry in Lebanon without its consent of arms or related materiel.” OP15 has a similar clause.
Now that Lebanon will fail to disarm Hizbollah, and will get away with it, why should we imagine that when more Katyushas are shipped to Hizbollah, Lebanon will not give consent?
Ori: With all due respect, you are laboring under the mistaken assumption that anybody in the Middle East, or in the mass media, bothers to read UN resolutions. If anybody looks at them at all, it is to scan them for sound bites that support his or her position.
Minister Livni probably believes that if she yells hard enough that the resolution called for releasing the two hostages, the mass media and world public opinion will believe her. The Hizb el Shaytan (Arabic for party of Satan – a more fitting name) believes that if they say that the resolution just calls for a cease fire and Israeli withdrawal everybody will believe them.
(hope you don’t mind my sarcasm, I am feeling somewhat upset at the moment – and glad me and my family live in the US, which recently established the “you destroy one building, we take over one country” standard of response)
RYM: During the war, we were told that Israel shouldn’t be attacking Lebanon, since Lebanon isn’t responsible for Hizbollah.
Ori: This is actually true, in much the same way that if I speed and my four year old son cheers me on, he is still not responsible for my ticket. The Lebanese army probably lacks the ability to restrain Hizballah, which means that Hizballah is the true sovereign power in much of Lebanon.
As long as Lebanon has a weak central government, it will not be able to restrain Hizballah. Lebanon will have a strong central government as soon as Osama Bin Laden commands a squadron of US Air Force flying pigs, on a humanitarian mission to deliver blankets to hell, which had just frozen over.
As long as Assad believes that Hizballah is acting in his best interests, Hizballah will continue to get troops, training, and equipment from Syria and Iran (shipped through Syria). This means that attacking the non Hizbollah parts of Lebanon wouldn’t do Israel any good.
Attacking Syria probably would, since Assad can persuaded that supporting Hizballah is dangerous to Syrian dictators who need an effective military to stay in power. However, was with Syria would not mean small and inaccurate Katyusha missiles in Haifa. If would mean fairly accurate Scud missiles, which carry a much bigger payload, in Tel Aviv.
It seems to me that a war between Israel and Syria is unavoidable. Either Olmert knows something we don’t (Israel will be able to shoot down Scud missiles in 2009, Syria is on the brink of revolution, the US is about to invade Syria, etc.), or he decided he’d rather have the Israel-Syria war later, when the Syrian military will have better equipment and possibly nuclear weapons from Iran. I’d like to believe it’s the first.
Last I looked, Kadima ruled through a coalition, and its own slice of the pie was not very big. I’m waiting to see a sign that enough other Knesset factions, inside or outside the coalition, will rise to this occasion, but I may be waiting a very long time.
We should really concentrate when we pray in the Amidah for the ideal management team to replace the current disgrace. This is real life, not a sitcom.
Elul is nearly here, and where are we?
Olmert & Co, strike me as the latest Israeli version of Neville Chamberlain. However, the performance of the IDF in this war should give anyone who supports Israel much concern. Ralph Peters, a syndicated columnist on military affairs, quoted observers who believe that the IDF is not only ill trained for fighting Hezbullah and overly trained for fighting its neighbors conventional forces and has been living off the “fumes of 1967” for too long a time. Perhaps, these issues will be dealt with by any would be commission of inquiry.
Individual greed and shortsightedness have set the political agenda which has set the military agenda. The military seems to have to report now to commissars.
What action can Israel’s voters now take within the system to clean house, considering that their elected leaders have betrayed them and are busily denying all blame? Should the voters maybe ask their majesties in the Supreme Court to help them? Or ask their Knesset representatives who see trouble coming and turn away? The prolonged subversion of democratic processes has made the situation more dangerous.