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FARCE OF UN CEASE-FIRE

Olmert to Annan: 'IDF Commando Raid Was To Block Illegal Arms Shipments To Hezbollah and Not Violation Of Cease-fire'

Israeli Official: 'Should Israel Abide By Cease-fire While Hezbollah Breaks It With New Missile Buildup For Next War'

Likud MK Silvan Shalom: 'Resolution 1701 Has Already Turned Into A Farce'

French troops in Lebanon

The IDF commando raid deep into Lebanon's Bekaa Valley near Syria highlights the dilemma now confronting Israel. U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 based the cease-fire on a robust U.N. force moving into south Lebanon to prevent newed Hezbollah attacks on Israel as well as an arms embargo on the terrorists.

Should Israel honor the cease-fire agreement while Hezbollah violates it by smuggling in new missiles from Iran and Syria?

An Israel official says Jerusalem faces a dilemma after the commando raid into the Becka valley early Saturday morning. The mission was to disrupt the resupply of missiles to Hezbollah from Iran and Syria. However, the secret operation was detected by Hezbollah and resulted in a firefight that left an IDF Lieutenant Colonel dead and another officer seriously wounded. Those Hezbollah arms shipments are a flagrant violation of U.N. Resolution 1701 on the cease-fire. It imposed an arms embargo except on weapons for the Lebanese government. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert conveyed this message to U.N. Secretary- General Kofi Annan who telephoned to complain about the IDF operation. Olmert apparently told Annan if the U.N. would not impose its own resolution, Israel will.

Although Hezbollah still has several thousand Katyusha rockets stored in south Lebanon, Israeli air strikes knocked out most of its medium and longer-range missiles. Hezbollah is now seeking to replenish this supply. Both the Lebanese Army and the UNIFIL foreign troops have made clear they have no intention of disarming Hezbollah or intercepting new arms supplies.

The cease-fire resolution also calls for 15,000 foreign troops along with 15,000 Lebanese army soldiers to take control of south Lebanon after the IDF withdraws. However France, which pushed for the cease-fire and pledged to send several thousand troops to beef up the U.N. force, now has cold feet. Only fifty French soldiers have arrived in south Lebanon, another 150 are on the way. But the French say forget about more than that because the rules of engagement are not explicit when it comes to taking on Hezbollah. Other European states are also backing off. The only countries that appear eager are Muslim countries like Malaysia and Indonesia which do not even recognize the Jewish state.

In light of this, Likud MK Silvan Shalom says Security Council resolution has turned into a farce:

Even MK Yossi Beilin of the left wing Meretz party is critical:

IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz has said he would recommend that the remaining IDF troops stay put in south Lebanon if the full U.N. contingent does not show up. But will the Israeli government defy the U.N. by carrying out more raids to block the rearming of Hezbollah. The alternative is to sit and do nothing and Hezbollah replenishes its missile arsenal for the next round while the U.N. looks the other way.

David Essing

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