Hezbollah has begun taking control in southern Lebanon by replacing Lebanese Army units as they withdraw.
Once again Israel is left asking: ‘What about those thousands of UNIFIL peace keepers stationed there?’
By Aviel Schneider
Tensions along Israel’s northern border are growing as Hezbollah forces tighten their grip on southern Lebanon.
Hezbollah and allied terror groups have moved back into the border region in force in violation of the UN resolution (1701) that brought an end to the Second Lebanon War in 2006. The terrorists are exploiting the fact that the Lebanese army has had to send so many troops to the Syrian border in the east.
Meanwhile, the peace keepers of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) are concerned. The force was created in 1978 to monitor a United Nations-brokered ceasefire between Israel and Lebanon, but has never been particularly effective at preventing the outbreak of hostilities.
For years, UNIFIL officials found themselves at the mercy of Yasser Arafat’s PLO. Today, it is Hezbollah giving the international forces a headache.
Israeli army sources said numerous times in recent weeks, Hezbollah forces actually stopped UNIFIL patrols at gunpoint, preventing the observers from doing their job. In other instances, activists incited riots against UNIFIL troops to drive them out of locations where Hezbollah wanted to set up a base near the Israeli border.
The UN soldiers are just observers. It is understandably that they have no desire to risk their lives in a foreign conflict not their own. According to Resolution 1701, the Lebanese army is responsible for the supervision and security at the southern Lebanese border. But Lebanon knows Israel won’t attack without provocation, while the situation in Syria is far less stable, and so its forces have been diverted.
With Hezbollah now fully filling that power vacuum, the UN soldiers seem to want nothing more than to leave southern Lebanon, just as they are threatening to do in the Golan Heights, where Syrian rebel forces have repeatedly threatened their lives.
Israel, it seems, is doomed to constantly be taught the lesson that it cannot rely on the United Nations or any outside force in an emergency situation. The international community, and especially the UN, is only effective when all is quiet.
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