The United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 (UNSCR 1701) on the hostilities between Hizballah and Israel, passed this week, rewards terrorism, does not disarm Hizballah as a terrorist army (thus ensuring future hostilities) and fails to even name, much less penalize, Iran and Syria for sponsoring Hizballah’s aggression and terrorism against Israel.
Specifically, this resolution:
1. Rewards Hizballah’s terrorism and recent unprovoked aggression against Israel by advancing two items on Hizballah’s agenda:
- Hizballah’s claim and pretext for aggression that the Shebaa Farms/Har Dov area is Lebanese territory occupied by Israel. Shebaa Farms/Har Dov is an area captured by Israel from Syria in the Arab war against Israel in 1967 and is surely not part of Lebanon, as the UN itself determined in 2000, following Israel’s withdrawal. By calling for the “delineation of the international borders of Lebanon, especially in those areas where the border is disputed or uncertain, including by dealing with the Shebaa farms area” [para. 10] UNSCR 1701 dignifies Hizballah’s baseless claim and rewards it for its latest act of aggression against Israel. The Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies (C.S.S), Israel, has noted that “the mere mention of the issue [of Hizballah’s legally groundless claim that Shebaa Farms/Har Dov area is Lebanese territory occupied by Israel] (even if there is no link between it and implementing security arrangements in the south) is liable to strengthen Hizbollah’s claim as to the “legitimacy” of its continuing terrorist attacks in the Mt. Dov area.” The Resolution also calls into doubt the worth and permanence of any UN determination of borders and territory. In the future, Arab states that have peace treaties with Israel will feel emboldened to manufacture territorial claims that can serve as the pretext for new hostilities and the abrogation of existing agreements.
- Hizballah’s demand for the release of Hizballah and Palestinian terrorists jailed in Israel. By encouraging “efforts aimed at urgently settling the issue of the Lebanese prisoners detained in Israel,” UNSCR 1701 puts Hizballah’s demand for the release of their jailed terrorists onto the international agenda, effectively rewarding its attack on Israel of July 12. As Anne Bayefsky, international legal scholar and Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute, notes, the Resolution may well be “signing a death warrant for the kidnapped Israeli soldiers by placing their release side-by-side with the release of Lebanese killers in Israeli jails” (National Review Online, August 14).
2. May well enable Hizballah to rearm as a terrorist army, thus ensuring future hostilities:
- Provides no timetable and program for disarming Hizballah. The Resolution “calls upon the Government of Lebanon and [United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon] … to deploy their forces together throughout the South” [para. 2] but provides no timetable for this to occur, nor any mechanism to oversee such a process. According to Bayefsky, the Resolution has designed “a force for southern Lebanon incapable of disarming Hezbollah” (National Review Online, August 14).
- Fails to call for a ban on arms to Hizballah. The Resolution calls upon Lebanon to “secure its borders and other entry points to prevent the entry in Lebanon without its consent of arms or related materiel” [para.14] but say nothing about what happens if Lebanon permits Hizballah or any other group to take delivery of weapons or allows Hizballah, which is part of the Lebanese government, to make use of Lebanese weaponry and military facilities.
- Authorizes UNIFIL to interfere with Israel exercising its inherent tight of self-defense against Hizballah in the future. By authorizing “UNIFIL to …without prejudice to the responsibility of the Government of Lebanon, to protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence,” UNSC 1701 permits UNIFIL in effect, to entrench the use of human shields by Hizballah. The risk of UNIFIL coming into hostilities or at least serious conflict with Israel on any occasion Israel is obliged to strike Hizballah targets embedded in densely populated Lebanese civilian areas is a clear possibility.
- Calls for the demilitarization of southern Lebanon only between Israel and the Litani River, thereby preserving Hizballah’s ability to strike at Israel with long-range missiles. By calling 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,” the Resolution leaves Israel vulnerable to further attack by Hizballah, whose missiles have a range over 100 miles, far superior to the 15-25 mile distance such demilitarization, assuming that it ever occurs, would put between Hizballah and Israel.
- Calls on Israel to provide maps of its landmines in Lebanon, but does not demand that Hizballah provide maps of its mines and fortifications. By calling for “provision to the United Nations of all remaining maps of land mines in Lebanon in Israel’s possession” [para. 8], the Resolution only makes such demands of Israel, which is lawfully in Lebanon in self-defense, not of Hizballah, which is a terrorist movement which launched an unprovoked assault upon Israel.
3. Fails to name, much less penalize, Hizballah’s state sponsors, Iran and Syria:
- Iran and Syria, have sponsored, aided, abetted, supplied and funded Hizballah, a recognized terrorist organization on the US State Department list of terrorist groups. As Caroline Glick, Managing Editor of the Jerusalem Post and Middle East Fellow at the Center for Security Policy, Washington, DC, observes, “The resolution makes absolutely no mention of either Syria or Iran, without whose support Hizballah could neither exist nor wage an illegal war against Israel. In so ignoring Hizballah’s sponsors, it ignores the regional aspect of the current war and sends the message to these two states that they may continue to equip terrorist armies in Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority and Iraq with the latest weaponry without paying a price for their aggression” (Jerusalem Post, August 13). The Resolution thus fails to provide for sanctions or some other form of action against these states if they continue to supply and fund Hizballah.
4. Maintains the fiction that the government of Lebanon is a responsible government which will do its utmost to disarm and dismantle Hizballah:
- By calling for Lebanon to extend its authority in southern Lebanon [para. 2] and for no foreign forces or arms in Lebanon other than those authorized by the government of Lebanon [para. 8], this Resolution falsely implies that Lebanon is an innocent party able to take the necessary steps to secure peace when in fact Hizballah is part of the government and has two ministers within the Lebanese Cabinet, which has not previously made any efforts to fulfill requirements regarding disarming Hizballah, assuming control of southern Lebanon and preventing attacks upon Israel, as required by UNSCR 1559. Additionally, Lebanon’s military infrastructure has been used on behalf of Hizballah in the current conflict, the Lebanese state provides benefits to families of dead Hizballah personnel and the Lebanese government can authorize the use or delivery of arms to Hizballah, which is a part of it.
- Ignores the fact that Lebanese leaders have expressed full support for Hizballah’s terrorism. Lebanese President, Emile Lahoud, has plainly stated that “Hizballah enjoys utmost prestige in Lebanon … Hizballah maintains Arab honor … of course [Hizballah’s leader] Nasrallah has my respect” (‘Meet the Press,’ July 30). Lebanese Foreign Ministry Special Envoy, Nouhad Mahmoud, asked if Nasrallah has his respect, replied “Sure … [Hizballah] is part of the Lebanese society, and they have their … legitimacy through their fighting” [ i.e., through terrorist assaults upon Israel]. Asked if Nasrallah has his respect, Mahmoud responded, “Sure” (‘Meet The Press,’ July 30).
- Lebanese polls indicate high support for Hizballah, making Lebanese action against it unlikely. According to a poll by the Beirut Center for Research and Information, 87% of those polled back Hizballah.
5. Additionally, UNSCR 1701:
- Calls for financial and humanitarian assistance for Lebanon, but not for Israel. By calling on the “international community to take immediate steps to extend its financial and humanitarian assistance to the Lebanese people” [para. 6], UNSCR 1701 seeks to help rebuild Lebanon, which aided and abetted Hizballah’s unprovoked attack upon Israel, but ignores providing any such help to Israel, which was the victim of these unprovoked assaults that killed scores of Israelis, wounded and maimed hundreds more and caused a million Israelis to leave their homes and seek safety in bomb shelters or other parts of the country.
- Fails to require the unconditional release of Israeli soldiers kidnapped by Hizballah in an unprovoked assault upon Israel, which produced the current war. UNSC 1701 speaks of the need “to address urgently the causes that have given rise to the current crisis, including by the unconditional release of the abducted Israeli soldiers” but only in the non-operative preamble to the resolution and is thus not a condition of the ceasefire.
- Falsely implies that the Israeli-Palestinian issue is relevant to Hizballah’s aggression. By stressing “the need to achieve, a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, based on all its relevant resolutions including its resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967, 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973 and 1515 (2003) of 18 November 2003”, the Resolution falsely implies that Hizballah, an organization committed to Israel’s destruction, regardless of any agreement that might ever be reached between Israel and the Palestinians, has some basis for its aggression in the lack of a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian situation.
- Makes Secretary-General Kofi Annan the arbiter of compliance with the resolution. By inviting the “Secretary-General to support efforts to secure as soon as possible agreements in principle from the Government of Lebanon and the Government of Israel to the principles and elements for a long-term solution as set forth in paragraph 8” [para .9], the Resolution largely places determination of compliance with its terms in the hands of Kofi Annan, who has refused to call Hizballah a terrorist organization; condemned legitimate Israeli acts of self-defense as “excessive and disproportionate,” thereby distorting the concept of proportionality in international law; made prejudicial and condemnatory statements of specific Israeli military acts before taking any evidence in the matter; and who has a record of conduct hostile to Israel.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said , “This UN Security Council Resolution sends a clear message that terrorism is effective in promoting the terrorists’ aims by putting on the table the release of Lebanese terrorists from Israeli prisons and the Shebaa Farms territory. By authorizing but not compelling Lebanese and international forces to south Lebanon and disarm and dismantle Hizballah under a specified timetable, this makes it unlikely that it will occur. In fact, Hizballah is never named as the group that should no longer be permitted to receive arms or survive.
“This Resolution is one that will provide inspiration for other jihadist movements, including the Shiite extremists led by Moktadr al-Sadr in Iraq. It is therefore a real setback in the war against Islamist terrorist movements. Professor Anne Bayefsky is certainly right to argue that the ‘most frightening part of the U.N. Security Council resolution is that the United States agreed to allow the UN to play a pivotal role in the battle of our age — between democracy and terrorism, freedom and bondage, dignity and intolerance. Kofi Annan’s wide grin, as he stood side-by-side with Secretary Rice on Friday, said it all. He won. But America and freedom’s cause lost.’ Similarly, one cannot but agree with Caroline Glick’s conclusion that ‘By handing a victory to Hizballah, the resolution strengthens the belief of millions of supporters of jihad throughout the world that their side is winning and that they should redouble efforts to achieve their objectives of destroying Israel and running the US out of the Middle East.’”
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