Winograd Commission Pretends That UN Security Council Resolution 1701 Ending 2006 Lebanon War Was A Success For Israel
January 31, 2008

ZOA was right on UNSC 1701

The Winograd Commission investigating the conduct of the Israeli government and military during the 2006 Lebanon war, has released its report with controversial findings, including one that holds that the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 (UNSC 1701), which ended the war, was a significant diplomatic achievement by the Olmert government. The Commission Report states in paragraph 24 that, “We … note that the war had significant diplomatic achievements. [UN]SC Resolution 1701, and the fact it was adopted unanimously, were an achievement for Israel. This conclusion stands even if it turns out that only a part of the stipulations of the resolution were implemented or will be implemented, and even if it could have been foreseen that some of them would not be implemented” (Independent Media Review Analysis, January 30, 2008).

The ZOA repudiates the notion that a resolution, whose ineffectiveness could be foreseen and which has in fact transpired, could possibly be a “significant diplomatic achievement” for Israel. In fact the ZOA predicted at the time of UNSC 1701’s adoption that it “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.”

Below is our in-depth analysis of UNSC 1701, with events and facts confirming our predictions included in square brackets:

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, 2008). [As of this date, the kidnapped Israeli soldiers have still not been released and Hizballah continues to insist on its pretext of Israel occupying Lebanon by holding the Shebaa Farms/Har Dov region.]

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, 2006).

  • 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 right 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. [Since August 2006, Hizballah has not been disarmed, nor is it in the process of being disarmed. To the contrary, as ZOA has noted, Hizballah has been and is continuing to be replenished by Iran and Syria with arms and supplies. Hizballah has moved rockets into Palestinian camps not under Lebanese jurisdiction and, with Iranian help, has rebuilt bunkers only miles from the border with 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, 2006). 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. [Since August 2006, international, including American pressure has eased on the Syrian regime, Syrian agents continue to assassinate pro-independence figures and pressure has mounted on the United States to offer carrots to Damascus. Meanwhile, Syria continues to supply Hizballah and has paid no penalty for doing so, ensuring the continued survival and growth of Hizballah, the very thing the 2006 war was supposed to reverse.]

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, 2006). 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, 2006).

  • 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. [Since August 2006, the pro-independence forces in Lebanon have been weakened, many of its most prominent leaders have been assassinated, Syria has blocked the appointment of a new president independent of Syrian control, and Lebanon has not exercised its sovereign power to end Hizballah’s armed presence in southern Lebanon]

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. [No assistance was provided to Israel, no kidnapped Israeli soldiers have been freed, and the UN has not stepped in to see Hizballah disarmed or allowed Israel to do so].

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “It is clear in the year and a half since the passage of UNSC 1701 that it did not achieve any of the goals that the Olmert government set itself. It did not lead to the disarmament and disbanding of Hizballah, and it limited Israeli ability to deal with Hizballah in the future. As we predicted then, it did indeed send 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. As such, it has encouraged jihadists throughout the world that they are winning and that they should redouble efforts to achieve their objectives of destroying Israel and running the US out of the Middle East. Thus, we have seen Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad proclaim again, only days ago, that Israel will shortly cease to exist.

“In these circumstances, we are critical of the Winograd Commission’s lack of clarity and common sense. It seems that the Commission has decided against making a straight-forward judgment based on the evidence and instead has moved the goal posts so it can say that, even though UNSC 1701 has been unsuccessful in better securing Israel and even though it was predictable at the time that it would be ineffective, it was nonetheless a great diplomatic success. Unanimous support at the UN for a resolution that harms rather than helps Israel is not an achievement, except for Israel’s enemies.”

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