ATbar Using the International Community to deal with the problem along the Israeli-Lebanese Border
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Using the International Community to deal with the problem along the Israeli-Lebanese Border

29/07/2006 | by Kfir, Isaac (Dr.)  
For decades Israelis viewed the international community and specifically the United Nations as an entity that is anti-Israel. General Assembly resolutions equating Zionism with racism, the continuous and uncritical support afforded to the Palestinians (seen most recently with the way the newly formed Human Rights Council place the Palestinian situation at the top of its agenda[1]), the stance of Secretary-General Annan which appears far too accommodating towards the anti-Israel lobby,[2] and the general attitude of the organisation towards Israel has generated great scepticism in Israel towards the ability of the organisation to act as an honest broker in solving the region’s problems. 

The recent developments in Gaza and in the North of Israel coupled with Syria’s and Iran’s continuous support of the Hizbollah and Hamas, not to mention Iran’s quest for nuclear capability, demand that Israel put aside its reservations vis-à-vis the international community and use it in resolving the quagmire that the Middle East now finds itself in. The sane world, which ironically now also includes a number of Arab countries (Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan), is aware that the latest conflagration in the Middle East was caused by the Hizbollah and an impotent Lebanese government.

The aim of this paper is to argue that the decision by Israel to take the military option came due to a lack of faith in the international community which for decades has failed the Jewish state. Consequently the United Nations must rebuild its relationship with Israel. To do this, the organisation must ensure that first the Lebanese government lives up to the demands of Security Council Resolution 1559, and second, recognise that Syria and Iran are preventing durable stability in the Middle East and along Israel's northern border. As long as the Hizbollah relies on the support of these two countries, peace in the Middle East would remain a pipedream.

Setting the Scenes

The developments in the Middle East for the past eighteen months or so have created both a sense of optimism and despair as on the one hand the Disengagement Plan (lauded across the globe) ensured an end to over three decades of Israeli presence in a territory that brought nothing but misery to both sides while on the other hand the Israeli withdrawal was followed by the unsurprising election victory of the Hamas,[3] which prevented any form of direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians as Hamas is an internationally-recognised terrorist organisation that refuses to acknowledge not only the existence of the State of Israel, but Israel's very right to exist.[4] The Hamas’ election triumph led the international community to end the lucrative aid programme that the Palestinians have had for decades.[5] However, as the economic situation in the Gaza Strip deteriorated, the level of lawlessness, violence and anarchy increased as different Palestinian factions vied for power.

Since the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000 in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 425 (1978) the situation on Israel's northern border has remained tenuous as the Hizbollah (which emerged in 1982) took over the posts vacated by the Israeli military. At times Hizbollah even established posts next to those manned by the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).[6] Since 2000, the Hizbollah has used its position in southern Lebanon to intermittingly fire Katyusha rockets at Israeli targets and attempt to kidnap Israeli soldiers.[7] All in all, the Lebanese government has had several years to remove the Hizbollah from the area and assert effective authority over it as required by a number of Security Council resolutions.

The current crisis along the Israeli-Lebanese border began on Wednesday July 12, 2006 with the indiscriminate firing of Katyusha rockets by Hizbollah on Israeli civilian settlements in the North of Israel. This was followed a Hizbollah unit incursion into Israel that kidnapped and killed Israeli soldiers. This action amounted to a clear breach of international law, as the Iranian-backed group entered the sovereign territory of Israel and committed a flagrant act of war.[8] The brazen Hizbollah action compelled Israeli decision-makers to take the military option, which involved undermining the progress made by Lebanon over the past two decades in expelling the Syrians and bringing some level of stability to this fragile and war-torn country.

No review of the current situation in the Middle East would be complete without mentioning Iran, the unremitting inflammatory rhetoric directed against the State of Israel by the Iranian president Mahmud Ahmadinejad[9] and Iran’s fixation in acquiring nuclear capabilities. Consequently it was no coincidence that the Hizbollah attack on Israel happened days before the G-8 meeting at St. Petersburg in which the Iranian quest for nuclear capabilities was to be discussed.[10] The Iranian leadership was clearly aware of UN Security Council 1695 (2006) which condemned North Korea’s launching of a multiple ballistic missile[11] and the Iranians have been very effective in undermining the various efforts to reign in their nuclear programme.[12] Put simply, it seems that the Iranian leadership opted to use the Hizbollah to initiate such actions against Israel that would demand a strong Israeli military response, as Iran had run out of ways to prevent a Security Council resolution over its nuclear programme, which is exactly what happened. Israel had to respond militarily to the Hizbollah incursion as otherwise Israel would seem weak. Conversely, the current challenge faced by Israeli decision-makers is how to end the campaign in Lebanon without appearing weak, especially as it is recognised that Israel cannot eradicate the Hizbollah, whose current present goal is that of survival, which Nasrallah would then spin as success. 

The Role of the Security Council in dealing with the Middle East Crisis

The Security Council is composed of fifteen members, five that are permanent and have veto power whilst the other ten (elected by the General Assembly) serve for a period of two years.[13] The Security Council wields, at least in theory,[14] enormous power as it is responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security, and compliance with its resolutions are mandatory.[15] The Council operates on the principle of collective security as defined in the 13 articles that make up Chapter VII (Articles 39-51). Under Article 39 it is for the Council to determine “…the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression” and once it does so, the Council “…shall make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with Articles 4 and 42, to maintain or restore international peace and security.” These measures may involve non-military (Article 41[16]) or military (Article 42[17]). It is noteworthy that although the Council has responsibility over the maintenance of international peace and security, Article 51 of the Charter states that Member States have the inherent right to use self-defence in a case of an armed attack. The right however exists until the Security Council takes measures to maintain international peace and security. A country taking self-defence measures is required by Article 51 to inform the Council that it is exercising its right to self-defence.[18]

The United Nations Security Council has been at best incredibly ineffective in dealing with the developments in the Middle East and at worse criminally negligent in that it has failed for some time to devise and adopt a unified stance on the escalation of violence that took place following the election of the Hamas, the failure of the Lebanese government to fulfil Security Council Resolution 1559 (2004) and Iran.

The involvement of the Security Council in Lebanon began on March 23, 1978 when the first batch of international peacekeepers arrived as part of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) following the adoption of Security Council Resolution 425 (1978), which came at the urging of the Lebanese government after it launched an official protest over Israel's invasion of March 14/15, 2000. Resolution 425 (1978) has two requirements, it called “for strict respect for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence of Lebanon within its internationally recognized boundaries.” The second requirement was the withdrawal of Israelis forces from Lebanese territory. To achieve these aims, the Council established UNIFIL whose purpose was threefold, first, confirm the withdrawal of Israel from Lebanese territory; second, restore international peace and security; and third, assist the Lebanese government assume “effective authority” over the area of southern Lebanon. The failure of the Lebanese government to accomplish the third requirement led to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, as Israel could no longer tolerate the presence of Palestinian Liberation Organisations in Southern Lebanon for they were undermining Israeli security.

On April 17, 2000, Secretary-General Annan received official notification from the Israeli government of its intention to withdraw completely from Lebanon, which allowed the Secretary-General to send a team of UN experts, supported by UNIFIL’s Force Commander, to meet with the key players in the region to work out the technical issues that would facilitate the implementation of Security Council Resolution 425 (1978).[19] On June 16, 2000, the Secretary-General reported to the Security Council that Israel has fulfilled its obligations under 425 (1978). UNIFIL in its first report following the withdrawal stated that since the withdrawal there had been no incursions by Israel into Lebanese air space and territorial waters and that Israel has dismantled the South Lebanon Army and has released the detainees held at Al-Khiam prison.[20]

Overall, and to emphasis the ineptness of the Security Council in dealing with the situation in Lebanon, one must note a number of Secretary-General Reports to the Security Council between 2000 and 2006 that point to the presence of the Hizbollah in the area. Effectively meaning that the Lebanese government has failed to comply with part III of 425 (1978) for which it was not chastised. Moreover, in some of the reports, it is noted that the Hizbollah actively restricted UNIFIL’s freedom of movement,[21] for which the Council took no real measures against.

The Humanitarianism Quandary: How Do You Fight Against a Non-state Actor

The decision by Israel to target Lebanon's infrastructure, as well as Hizbollah, has led to tremendous international outcry accusing Israel of using excessive and disproportionate[22] force in trying to get Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev back. Some have even suggested that Israel has committed 'war crimes' in the way that it has carried out its operations.[23] The United Nations has launched a Flash Appeal[24] due to the impact of the Israeli aerial campaign on Lebanon's infrastructure, which has created a tremendous refugee problem as Lebanese fled from the zones of conflict.[25]

International humanitarian law (IHL) or the law of armed conflict amounts to a set of rules that seek for humanitarian reasons to limit the effects of armed conflict and to ensure the protection of persons who no longer participate in the hostilities. It also restricts the means and methods used in warfare. IHL, however, does not regulate whether a State may use force which comes under the remit of the UN Charter and other elements of international law.[26] IHL stipulate that in a conflict situation, the parties to a conflict must at all time distinguish between combatants and civilians to ensure that civilians are not targeted. Furthermore, IHL forbids the use of weapons or methods that may cause excessive suffering or unnecessary loss.[27] Yet, when looking at IHL it is important to note that the formulation of IHL began in the middle of the nineteenth-century (1864 Geneva Convention for the amelioration of the condition of the wounded in armies in the field). This was a time when conflict occurred predominately between sovereign states using their armies. The core conventions that guide IHL are the Geneva Conventions of 1949, which focus on situations in which the conflict is not only between two states but also between regular armies (or possibly militias). The end of the Cold War and 9/11 changed the nature of conflict with wars being fought either internally (civil wars or civil unrest) or between states and non-states actors, which impacts on the conduct of warfare with civilians baring the brunt of the fighting. This is currently the situation in Lebanon where Israel is engaged in a bitter conflict with a non-state actor who is not privy to any international convention or norm, and is using those tools as part of its strategy.[28] The international humanitarian community must recognise and state categorically that the Hizbollah far too often has placed its weapons, soldiers and equipment in civilian populations, as it has embedded itself into southern Lebanon's infrastructure.[29] This is best seen in Bint Jbeil, a village of 30,000 inhabitants which became known as "capital of the resistance" after the 1982 war.[30] Human Rights Watch has noted Hizbollah’s disregard of international law Sarah Leah Whitson, director of the Middle East and North Africa division at Human Rights Watch declaring, “Attacking civilian areas indiscriminately is a serious violation of international humanitarian law and can constitute a war crime… Hezbollah’s use of warheads that have limited military use and cause grievous suffering to the victims only makes the crime worse.”[31]

The Role of the Secretary-General

In theory the role of the Secretary-General is to act the world's moderator (this was President Roosevelt vision for the post). For Roosevelt the Secretary-General would mediate all the great conflicts, which explains why the Charter provides the Secretary-General with enormous power especially in the realm of international peace and security. Article 99 states, “The Secretary-General may bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security.” However, in the words of one commentator having more than one hundred and ninety masters makes it "…almost impossible for him [Secretary-General] to appear right in the eyes of all UN members. Either excessive activity or inactivity may be equally criticised. He must be politician, diplomat and civil servant in one. It is thus an office that it is impossible to fulfil to the satisfaction of all.”[32]

In 1997, Kofi Annan was chosen to replace Boutros Boutros-Ghali as Secretary-General of the United Nations, and his tenure has been controversial to say the least, as he not only promoted the right of humanitarian intervention, which has worried a number of countries,[33] but he has also presided over numerous scandals that have done much to undermine UN credibility. In many ways, Annan has not been an effective international civil servant, diplomat or politician.[34]

The recent crisis in the Middle East has allowed the international community to take another look at the diplomatic skills of Annan, who appears to have done much to aggravate Israelis through his various statements,[35] in one of which he has described the Hizbollah July 12 attack as “reckless”[36] which is nowhere sufficient to describe Hizbollah’s actions. He has also refused to properly acknowledge the role played by Syria and Iran in encouraging Hizbollah's terrorism.[37]

Conclusion

There is little doubt that the international community has shown itself unable to deal with the situation in the Middle East. The on-going ‘war on terror’ has divided the western alliance, as seen with the increasing level of criticism levelled at American decision-makers by their European counterparts who seem to oppose the American way of focusing primarily on the military option in the ‘war on terror’.[38]

A solution to the current crisis in the Middle East demands a robust involvement by the international community, as represented by the United Nations, but before that could occur a number of issues must be dealt with to create the necessary conditions or UN involvement. The first is a willingness by the organisation to embrace confidence-building measures vis-à-vis Israel through explicit public statements of support. In the current crisis the United Nations has frequently failed to thoroughly acknowledge Israel's right to defend its civilians from unprovoked Hizbollah attacks. The statements repeatedly call on Israel to exercise restraint and use diplomatic channels to end the crisis. The statements of the Secretary-General far too often appear to equate Israel with the Hizbollah, as they continually call on both sides to exercise restraint and focus on the damage caused by the Israeli attacks on Lebanon.[39] The Secretary-General must issue a statement in which he unequivocally condemns the Hizbollah July 12 attack and emphasis the role played by Syria and Iran in supporting the Hizbollah throughout the crisis.[40]

The actions that the international community should take should begin with the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC). The CTC must investigate the relationship between the Hizbollah, Syria and Iran as after all Security Council 1373 (2001), which created the CTC, states that member states must “Refrain from providing any form of support, active or passive, to entities or persons involved in terrorist acts, including by suppressing recruitment of members of terrorist groups and eliminating the supply of weapons to terrorists”.

Second, an international force needs to be established to replace UNIFIL, which because it lacks the mandate to deal effectively with the Hizbollah has proven totally inadequate in fulfilling Security Council Resolution 1559. However, with the memory of Somalia and other peacekeeping operations in mind, it is unlikely to expect a mandate in which the new force would be authorised to disarm the Hizbollah because such a force would first need be very large and there does not appear that countries are willing to contribute troops; second be willing to actively combat Hizbollah fighters for which there is also no interest;[41] and, finally, and most importantly it is highly likely China/Russia would veto such actions due to the close relationship between Tehran/Damascus and Beijing/Moscow. Thus, framing the resolution that creates an international force must be done very carefully to ensure Chinese and Russian support. Beijing and Moscow might be persuaded to accept a clause that allows members of the force to actively prevent Hizbollah from establishing outposts next to those manned by the force as it undermines the security of the force. Moreover, the force would be instructed to collect evidence showing Hizbollah military presence in southern Lebanon with the information sent to the Security Council for its consideration. It is a truism that no country wants to be criticised in UN official documents.

Third, the European countries with strong economic relations with Iran (Italy, Germany and France) must be pushed to place a freeze (not sanctions which carry heavier connotations) on their trade with Iran which would impact on the Iranian economy.[42] This freeze must be done until Iran instructs Hizbollah to release the two Israeli soldiers,[43] which would lead to a ceasefire. Prior to taking this step, support must come from the big oil producing countries to ensure that the price of crude oil does not rise and the global economy cannot deal with any further increases in the price of crude oil.

The deployment and composition of the newly formed international force are central if the new peacekeepers are to have any impact on de-escalating the tensions along the Israel-Lebanon border. In terms of deployment it would be more effective to have patrols along the Blue Line (Lebanon) and a much smaller unit of peacekeepers operating inside of Israel. This is required to ensure that both sides abide by the ceasefire. From an Israeli perspective accepting such a force would emphasises Israel's willingness to work with the international community and to trust the international community.

In terms of composition of the force, it would be advisable if along the Israeli side the peacekeepers would come from such countries as China, Russia and Thailand etc. as these are countries that have ties with Iran and Syria. Therefore, deaths of soldiers from those countries would complicate relations between those countries and Hizbollah’s sponsors.[44] On the Lebanese side, soldiers from Australia, New Zealand and Canada would be ideal because of their reputation for honesty and their ability to carry out complex operations, which such an operation would surely be, as it would require a delicate balance between force and diplomacy.

The United Nations needs to be involved in resolving the crisis along the Israeli-Lebanese border which at the moment is on the precipice of leading to a regional conflagration. There are increasing concerns that things may escalate to such an extent that Israel and Syria might engage each other and the ramifications of such a thing is very grave. The last thing that the world needs now is a conflict between Israel and Syria or worse between Israel and Iran. The United Nations must seize the opportunity of becoming an honest broker in the Middle East, which would also help it win tremendous credit and restore faith in the somewhat defunct organisation.


Notes:

[1] “Human Rights Council Decides to Dispatch Urgent Fact-Finding Mission to the Occupied Palestinian Territories” Human Rights Council July 6, 2006. Available on line at: http://www.unhchr.ch/huricane/huricane.nsf/view01/639753E4946E4B93C12571A300514051?opendocument 


[2] In his statement to the Security Council on July 20, 2006, Secretary-General Annan has described the Israeli use of force in Lebanon as “excessive”. Overall the general tone of the speech was critical of Israel. It was also noteworthy that the Secretary-General failed to mention Syria and Iran in creating the conditions that allowed the recent crisis to occur. “Secretary-General Briefing to the Security Council on the Situation in the Middle East” July 20, 2006, (New York: Department of Public Information) [SG/SM/10570 SC/8781]. Available on line at: http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2006/sgsm10570.doc.htm 

[3] In retrospect the Hamas victory was predictable as the Palestinian people were tired of the corruption and ineptness of the Fatah movement and the Palestinian Authority. Hamas has been very effective in building a solid base of support through social and health programmes coupled with the movement’s 2005 municipal election successes which showed that its members are more effective administrators. Moreover, Hamas won credit for the Disengagement Plan through its programme of Qassam rockets and suicide bombings. “The Palestinian Parliamentary Election and the Rise of the Hamas” Research Paper 06/17 House of Commons Library [UK] March 15, 2006. Available on line at: http://www.parliament.uk/commons/lib/research/rp2006/rp06-017.pdf ; Khaled Abu Toameh “Analysis: How the Arab World views the conflict” The Jerusalem Post [Israel] July 26, 2006. Available on line at: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?apage=1&cid=1153292006538&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull 

[4] Article 11 of the Hamas Charter declares “The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine has been an Islamic Waqf throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection, no one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it. No Arab country nor the aggregate of all Arab countries, and no Arab King or President nor all of them in the aggregate, have that right, nor has that right any organization or the aggregate of all organizations, be they Palestinian or Arab, because Palestine is an Islamic Waqf throughout all generations and to the Day or Resurrection.” The Charter of Allah: The Platform of the Islamic Resistance movement (Hamas) [taken from Y. Alexander and H. Foxman (eds.), The 1988-1989 Annual on Terrorism. (Netherlands, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1990)]. Available on line at: http://www.ict.org.il/articles/h_cov.htm 

[5] As a recognised terrorist organisation the international community could not continue to provide a terrorist group with money, even though it has won the elections. The international community repeatedly stated that once Hamas changed its views vis-à-vis Israel the aid programme would flow directly into its coffers.

[6] The 2005 Report by the Secretary-General states, “Hizbollah maintained a visible presence near the Blue Line with its permanent observation posts, temporary checkpoints and patrols, carrying out construction work to fortify and expand some of their fixed positions. Some of this construction and expansion was done in close proximity to United Nations positions, posing additional security risks to United Nations personnel and equipment. The construction work continues to this date, despite several objections UNIFIL addressed to the Lebanese authorities.” “Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon” United Nations Security Council July 21, 2005 [S/2005/460], para. 17.

[7] There have been a number of attempts by the Hizbollah to capture Israeli soldiers the most infamous been the October 2000 incident in which Hizbollah fighters kidnapped three soldiers who later died as a result of the action of the Hizbollah.

[8] “Only united action can save the Middle East” The Observer [UK] July 16, 2006. Available on line at: http://observer.guardian.co.uk/leaders/story/0,,1821563,00.html  

[9] See for example “Ahmadinejad: Israel must be wiped off map” Gulf Times [Qatar] October 27, 2005. Available on line at: http://www.gulf-times.com/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=58372&version=1&template_id=37&parent_id=17 

[10] July 12 was the original deadline for Iran to comply with the international community demand that it ceases or at least suspends uranium enrichment programme. The US had wanted Iran to respond to the EU incentive package prior to the G-8 meeting. “No result in Iran nuclear talks” BBC News On-Line July 11, 2006. Available on line at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5167416.stm 

[11] The Resolution required all the Member States of the UN “…to exercise vigilance and prevent the procurement of missiles or missile related-items, materials, goods and technology from the DPRK, and the transfer of any financial resources in relation to DPRK’s missile or WMD programmes” UN Security Council Resolution 1695 (2006) July 15, 2006.

[12] Most recently Tehran has attempted to involve the G-8 in the negotiation process (the negotiations are supposed to be led Javier Solana), with the Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi saying: "The G8 has two options ahead: one is the path of logic and the other the path of extremism. We hope the G8 group will place logical recommendations on its agenda." Patrick Wintour “Rice insists nuclear talks should go through Solana” The Guardian [UK] July 17, 2006. Available on line at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/g8/story/0,,1822159,00.html 

[13] The African bloc provides three members, Latin America, Western Europe and Asia have two members, while Eastern Europe has one representative. There is also an Arab country on the Council, which comes from either Africa or the Asian bloc.

[14] Far too often national interests prevent the Council from working towards the maintenance of international peace and security.

[15] Security Council Resolution 1373 (2001) is a prime example as it not only established the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC), it also compels states to provide the CTC with reports on member states compliance with the Resolution and counter-terrorism measures.

[16] The Security Council at various times imposed economic sanctions on countries that appeared to threaten international peace and security, see for example Rhodesia in the 1960s, Afghanistan under the Taliban.

[17] When economic sanctions have failed or the Council felt that it needed a different approach it turned to Article 42, as seen in Eastern Europe and especially in Kosovo and in Iraq.

[18] See for example the letter by John D. Negroponte to the Security Council in relation to America's decision to initiate a military response to remove the Taliban regime from power in Afghanistan. “Letter dated 7 October 2001 from the Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations addressed
to the President of the Security Council” United Nations Security Council October 7, 2001, [S/2001/946]. Available on line at: http://www.un.int/usa/s-2001-946.htm 

[19] “Report of the Secretary-General on the Implementation of Security Council Resolution 425 (1978) and 426 (1978)” United Nations Security Council May 22, 2000 [S/2000/426].

[20] “Report of the Secretary-General on the Implementation of Security Council Resolution 425 (1978) and 426 (1978)” United Nations Security Council June 16, 2000 [S/2000/590].

[21] See for example, “Interim Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon” United Nations Security Council October 31, 2000 [S/2000/1049]; “Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon” United Nations Security Council January 21, 2001 [S/2001/66]; “Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon” United Nations Security Council July 23, 2003 [S/2003/728]; “Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon” United Nations Security Council July 21, 2004 [S/2004/572]; “Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon” United Nations Security Council July 21, 2005 [S/2005/460]; “Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon” United Nations Security Council January 18, 2006 [S/2006/26].

[22] James Mackenzie "Israeli attack on Lebanon 'disproportionate' says Chirac" New Zealand Herald July 15, 2006. Available on line at: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=2&ObjectID=10391432; David Cracknell and Uzi Mahnaimi "Straw hits No. 10 in Israel Revolt" The Times [UK] July 30, 2006. Available on line at: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-2292077,00.html  

[23] "UN warning on Mid-East war crimes" BBC News On-Line July 20, 2006. Available on line at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5197544.stm; Sadiq Khan, the Labour MP for Tooting has accused Israel of ‘war crime’ and possibly genocide. Sadiq Khan “This is worse than Iraq” The Guardian [UK] July 29, 2006. Available on line at: http://politics.guardian.co.uk/foreignaffairs/comment/0,,1832939,00.html  

[24] “Lebanon Crisis, 2006 – Flash Appeal (Consolidated Appeal Process)” Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) (New York: United Nations, 2006). Available on line at: http://ochadms.unog.ch/quickplace/cap/main.nsf/h_Index/Flash_2006_LebanonCrisis/$FILE/Flash_2006_LebanonCrisis_SCREEN.pdf?OpenElement 

[25] See for example, "Secretary-General in Rome calls for a Political Framework, Economic Aid to address 'Horrendous and Dangerous' Situation in Lebanon" United Nations Secretary General July 26, 2006 [SG/SM/10578]. Available on line at: http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2006/sgsm10578.doc.htm 

[26] Yoram Dinstein The Conduct of Hostilities under the Law of International Armed Conflict (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), pp. 20-25.

[27] Human Rights Watch for example has criticised Israel for reportedly using cluster munitions in its attacks. The organisation claims that using such weaponry amounts to a violation of IHL because it amounts to an indiscriminate attack, the wide dispersal pattern of their submunitions make it hard to prevent civilian casualties while their high rate of failure leave dangerous duds behind, which harm civilians once the fighting ends. “Israel Cluster Munitions Hit Civilians in Lebanon” Human Rights News (Beirut, July 24, 2006). Available on line at: http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2006/07/24/isrlpa13798.htm 

[28] Jan Egeland the head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has called on the Hizbollah to cease “blending” among the civilian population. “UN official accuses Hezbollah of ‘cowardly blending among civilians” Haaretz.com July 25, 2006. Available on line at: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/742562.html  

[29] Not only that, Hizbollah has its own media outlet (al-Manar) as well as mosques and schools that churn out propaganda to inspire suicide bombings and recruitment to its rank and file. Jason Burke "They run schools and fire rockets" what is their real aim?" The Observer [UK] July 30, 2006. Available on line at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,1833388,00.html 

[30] Isambard Wilkinson “Wounded soldiers tell of intense fight for Hizbollah stronghold” Telegraph.co.uk July 29, 2006. Available on line at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/07/29/wmid429.xml 

[31] “Lebanon: Hezbollah Rocket Attacks on Haifa Designed to Kill Civilians” Human Rights Watch (New York, July 18, 2006). Available on line at: http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2006/07/18/lebano13760.htm 

[32] Evan Laurd The United Nations: How it Works and What is Does (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2nd edition revised by Derek Heater, 1994), p. 112.

[33] Barbara Crossette “Kofi Annan Unsettles People, As He Believes U.N. Should Do” The New York Times December 31, 1999; Shashi Tharoor and Sam Daws “Humanitarian Intervention: Getting Past the Reefs” World Policy Journal Volume XVIII, No. 2 (Summer 2001).

[34] The scandals have ranged from the infamous Oil-for Food programme to the Rudd Lubber’s sexual harassment investigation to Annan's unqualified support of Mark Malloch Brown criticism of the United States to his public spat with James Bone, the New York correspondent of The Times.

[35] Amos Harel, Yoav Stern and Yuval Azoulay “PM orders probe into killing of 4 UN men, blasts Annan for saying it was deliberate” Haaretz.com July 27, 2006. Available on line at: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArtVty.jhtml?sw=Kofi+Annan&itemNo=743187;  

It is noteworthy that in 2000, Annan was photograph with Sheikh Nasrallah. Giles Whittell “To Arabs, he’s the new Nasser but to the West he has become the new Bin Laden” The Times [UK] July 29, 2006. Available on line at: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-2290203_1,00.html 

[36] “Secretary-General Remarks to the International Conference on Lebanon” Rome, July 26, 2006. Available on line at: http://www.un.org/apps/sg/sgstats.asp 

[37] See for example “’Immediate cessation of Hostilities’ Urgently Needed in Lebanon, Says Secretary-General, as He Briefs Security Council” United Nations Security Council (New York: Department of Public Information, July 20, 2006) [SC8780]. Available on line at: http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2006/sc8780.doc.htm;  

[38] There has also been division within the European Union as to how to respond to the situation in the Middle East. Finland, which holds the presidency of the EU initially proposed saying of Israel: "Unjustified measures and continued escalation will only aggravate the vicious circle of violence and retribution." Ewen MacAskill, Patrick Wintour, Nicholas Watt and Tania Branigan “West flounders as old divisions resurface” The Guardian [UK] July 18, 2006. Available on line at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/eu/story/0,,1823023,00.html; Michael Meacher "This war on terrorism is bogus" The Guardian [UK] September 6, 2003. Available on line at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1036571,00.html 

[39] This is seen for example in Annan’s Rome Statements in which he states, “…I call on Hezbollah to stop its deliberate targeting of Israeli population centres. And I call on Israel to end its bombardments, blockades and ground operations.” Annan seems to link the two issues together, rather than calling on Hizbollah to cease its campaign of aggression, return the kidnapped soldiers and disarm. “Secretary-General Remarks to the International Conference on Lebanon” Rome, July 26, 2006. Available on line at: http://www.un.org/apps/sg/sgstats.asp 

[40] Amos Harel “IAF destroys Hezbollah-bound trucks from Syria carrying arms” Haarezt.com July 19, 2006. Available on line at: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/739918.html; Ze'ev Schiff and Amos Harel “Mossad and IDF disagree over damage to Hezbollah” Haarezt.com July 28, 2006. Available on line at: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/743736.html; Ian Black “Israel says any deal must include block on Syria supplying arms to Hizbullah” The Guardian [UK] July 25, 2006. Available on line at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,1828060,00.html 

[41] The legacy of Mogadishu and the brutal slaying of 18 US Rangers are still in the minds of many countries that contribute to peacekeeping operations. Taking on the Hizbollah militarily would be ten times harder than Mogadishu were one encountered a brutal war lord. Nasrallah has shown his ability to direct the Lebanese Shiite community and any attack on him or the Hizbollah by an international force would led to widespread support for the "Party of God".

[42] Henry Sokolski has argued that “In specific, the U.S. and other like-mined nations should encourage the European Union, and short of this, the governments of Italy, Germany, and France, to threaten to sanction Iran’s nuclear misbehavior by withholding their exports of machinery and materials to Iran, which comprise the vast majority of all Iranian imports. In fact, the continued flow of machine tool and material exports from these three nations are critical to the maintenance of Iran’s economy.” Henry Sokolski “Preparing for a Long-term Competition with Iran” Transatlantic Institute (Brussels, March 16, 2006). Available on line at: http://www.cfr.org/content/publications/attachments/PreparingIran.pdf  

[43] It appears that President Abbas is working on convincing the Hamas to release Gilad Shalit. Khaled Abu Toameh “Abbas promises to help release Gilad Shalit” The Jerusalem Post [Israel] July 26, 2006. Available on line at: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1153291997848&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull 

[44] In a small way these UN peacekeepers would play the role that Americans stationed in West Germany did during the Cold War, which was to ensure that if the Soviet Union launched an attack that caused massive US casualties the United States would respond to Soviet aggression. In other words, the American presence in West Germany was Europe’s guarantee that the United States would came to its aid if the Soviet Union launched an attack.