Tuesday, 3 August 2010

UN "Peacekeepers" Stand By As Lebanon Attacks Israel

Lately it's been very difficult to say the word 'peace' in any way other than in quotation marks, as the people associated with it continue to make a mockery of the word
First "peace" activists, and now UN "peacekeepers", who watched as Lebanese soldiers today murdered an Israeli soldier and injured others in an unprovoked attack. Three Lebanese soldiers and a journalist were also killed. Follow the Muqata blog for live updates.
The Israeli soldiers were on Israeli territory - between the security fence and the internationally recognised border - carrying out routine maintenance that involved clearing bushes and trees that encroached on the area, blocking the line of sight and thus constituting a security concern. The work was done in coordination with UNFIL, who also made the Lebanese army aware it was going to take place.
After a period of fighting started by the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) - which they acknowledge, as "defending" their "sovereignity" - the Lebanese called on the IDF to suspend their fire, which they did. Soon after, the Lebanese fired at an Israeli tank; Israel responded.
The fact that the Lebanese fired not at the Israelis doing the work, but at their colleagues nearby, suggests that it was a preplanned attack, and not in retaliation to the work they were doing. 
But the most notable thing is that despite the maintenance being ongoing work that is not newsworthy,  large numbers of journalists and photographers were on the scene even before the attack - including two correspondents from Hezbollah news outlets.
Taking into account the links between the LAF and Hezbollah, EoZ highlights that Hezbollah members may have carried out the attack, dressed in the Lebanese army uniform.
UN "Peacekeepers" [in the blue berets] enjoy the show as the Lebanese fire at Israel
Of course, Israel has had problems with UNFIL before. UNFIL have been known to allow Hezbollah to hold posts near their own positions, and also treats the IDF as equivalent to Hezbollah, despite the IDF being a legitimate army and Hezbollah recognised internationally as a terrorist organisation.
In 2000, when Hezbollah abducted and murdered three Israeli soldiers, UNFIL hid video evidence they had until nearly a year later, despite Israel repeatedly asking to see it, with the UN denying it's existence - but clips being aired on Syrian and Lebanese television.  UNFIL claimed that their "objectivity" didn't allow them to disclose military information to parties in a conflict.
But obviously for UNFIL, what applies for one side doesn't apply for the other. During the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, UNFIL openly published real-time information on the IDF's positions, weapons and operations on their website, which Hezbollah would've found very useful; whilst giving away nothing on Hezbollah's tactics.
So why wouldn't they stand and watch as Lebanon attacks Israel?
UPDATE: UNFIL confirmed the IDF was acting within the Israeli border, and that the Lebanese fired first (Lebanon also acknowledge that they fired first).
UPDATE (4/8/10): There are claims that Israel was warned not to approach, and that the LAF at first fired only warning shots. Zvi at EoZ observes in video footage of the outbreak, that immediately after UNFIL shout their "warning" to the IDF ("Down, down!") the Lebanese soldiers are aiming their guns down towards the IDF, not away from them, and that as soon as the shots ring out a cloud of dust rises just in front of the Israelis, evidently as a result of the gunfire. 
It is a almost certain that Hezbollah were involved, one indication being that they operated from a village close to the LAF post.
All evidence points to this being a pre-planned ambush, so the question remains, who exactly was behind the whole thing? Why did UNFIL not try to stop the LAF from attacking, and how involved were Hezbollah?
Update 6/8/10: The LAF are claiming that the Lebanese soldiers were following army orders to open fire on the Israelis. EoZ suggests why this could be untrue, if Hezbollah were involved:
It [LAF] wants to project an image of having full control over its soldiers; it wants to erase any indication that Hezbollah influences the army; it wants to take full credit for a decision that is wildly popular in Lebanon and it wants to contradict whatever Israel says. 
EoZ points out that if the incident comes under an international investigation, the Lebanese army should be found guilty of one or two things: "acting recklessly in violation of [UN Resolution] 1701", and/or being influenced by Hezbollah, recognised as a terrorist organisation.
And the third thing of course, would be evidence on the pre-planned nature of the attack, and on the involvement of UNFIL, the LAF, and Hezbollah.

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