Sunday, August 20, 2006

Israel or Hezbollah: Who Violated the Cease Fire First?

UN Secretary General Kofi Anna was quick to back Hezbollah’s claim that the Israeli raid into the Bekaa valley, Lebanon was a violation of the tenuous cease fire agreement in place between Israel and Hezbollah. But is this an unbiased evaluation of the events that took place in Lebanon today, or the UN’s typical anti-Israel sentiment showing up yet again.

It is true that Israel’s commando raid is a direct violation of the cease fire agreement.  However, if Israel’s claims that Hezbollah was rearming are confirmed, and indeed the attack was on a shipment of Iranian and Syrian arms being transported to Hezbollah, than the commando raid was the second violation of the cease fire.  The shipment of arms would be the first violation.

Indeed, this moves back to the question of Israel’s survival.  The conflict with Hezbollah is an effort to prevent bombings of the major Israeli cities, and while Israel may have lost the conflict against Hezbollah, they were successful for the most part in pushing Hezbollah back, reducing their arms and launching capabilities significantly, and protecting Israeli cities, at least to some extent.  

Allowing Hezbollah to re-arm now, under the auspices of a cease-fire, would eliminate all the gains from the conflict. It would again leave Israeli cities vulnerable to the ruthless attacks of Hezbollah on Haifa, and even on Tel Aviv. What’s more, it almost certainly would result in another conflict down the road, as Israel would have to protect its cities. Finally, such a re-arming would be a direct violation of the cease fire agreement.

"If the Syrians and Iran continue to arm Hezbollah in violation of the resolution, Israel is entitled to act to defend the principle of the arms embargo," Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said. "Once the Lebanese army and the international forces are active ... then such Israeli activity will become superfluous."

I think it has been clear from the onset of the cease fire, when Hezbollah claimed it was not the right time to demilitarize, that they did not want the cease fire.  Hezbollah’s stated goal has always been the destruction of Israel, and so long as no attacks have hit Syria or Iran, there is no deterrent for further action against Israel.  Thus, the cease fire was a nuisance at the very least.

The import of more weapons to the country provided Hezbollah with a method for working around the shackles of the cease fire before the UN peace keepers and Lebanese army were in place.  This import forced Israel into a corner: either they could prevent the weapons transport and receive the wrath of the world courts or they could let the weapons through and Hezbollah could once again attack Israel.  

Either way, Hezbollah could resume attacks on Israel, and now only wait for the UN to weigh in fully before determining their next move.  Israel had no choice but to defend themselves yet again from Hezbollah’s ruthless tactics.  I can only hope that the UN will realize this, and enforce the cease fire they pushed for with Hezbollah!

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Posted by Scottage at 2:25 AM / | |