New York – Only days since the passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 (UNSCR 1701), Lebanese leaders and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have made it clear that it will not bring about the disarmament of the Lebanese Islamist terrorist group, Hizballah. According to reports, Lebanon will not disarm Hizballah: The Lebanese Cabinet announced that its soldiers will not disarm the guerrillas, as 15,000 government troops start deploying in the south. Instead, the soldiers will collect any weapons fighter agreed to give up (USA Today, August 17). Lebanese President Emile Lahoud said after heading the Cabinet meeting, No one can take away the weapons of the resistance, certainly not by force (Haaretz, August 18). Mohammed Chatah, an adviser to Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, also stated of the Lebanese forces being deployed in southern Lebanon, Well, its not like they will be breaking into houses, searching every store, looking into every ravine. Its not a search-and-seizure operation (New York Times, August 18). Chatah also said, The army is not going to go there to be part of a conflict or to be there to forcibly go against any group or anyone (Bloomberg News, August 15).
Also, in a recent in-depth interview, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said, I dont think there is an expectation that this [United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL)] force is going to physically disarm Hezbollah. I think its a little bit of a misreading of how you disarm a militia. You have to have a plan, first of all, for the disarmament of a militia, and then the hope is that some people lay down their arms voluntarily (Interview in USA Today, August 15).
Other statements on Lebanon, the UNIFIL force and Hizballah:
- Italian Foreign Minister, Massimo DAlema: It is wrong to say that our soldiers are going to disarm Hezbollah (Reuters, August 18, 2006).
- Former UNIFIL spokesman, Timor Goksel: The disarming of Hezbollah is a pipe dream. The Lebanese army is going south to defend Lebanon, not Israel (Bloomberg News, August 17).
- A Lebanese Army Sergeant: Are you dreaming? Hizballah and the army are united. We are one. I will tell you the truth. My brother is in Hizballah, so why would I want to take his weapon? (Ottawa Citizen, August 18).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, When this Resolution was passed, the ZOA said plainly that it authorized but did not compel Lebanese and international forces to disarm and dismantle Hizballah, and already events have shown that this is the case. The Lebanese, U.S. and other leaders have made it clear that expectations of a weaponless Hizballah are a sheer fantasy. Accordingly, this Resolution will not end Hizballah as a terrorist army, nor will it significantly change the conditions of Hizballah threatening and attacking Israel that led to the latest war. This means that we can merely expect future Hizballah attacks upon Israel and another round of fighting. We find it deeply disappointing that Prime Minister Olmert and President Bush, who both proclaimed that there would be no ceasefire until Hizballah was dismantled, have agreed to this dangerous UN resolution. We urge both leaders to publicly condemn Lebanons Fuad Siniora for refusing to take the steps necessary to prevent another Hizballah war against Israel.