Say “No” to UNIFIL in Gaza

Experience of UNIFIL in southern Lebanon shows multinational forces seek to appease party that threatens them more

Dore Gold, YNET

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is apparently considering to raise next week with President Bush the possibility of deploying an international force in the Philadelphi route, between the Gaza Strip and Egyptian Sinai, which has served as the main weapons smuggling route for Hamas and other Palestinian organizations. The problem is that such a deployment at this time will not contribute to the stabilization of this area, but may actually make it a great deal worse.

According to past experience, international force deployments have been extremely problematic in areas still afflicted by active combat operations. The main issue is that these forces spend most of their energies seeking to protect themselves from attacks of the more aggressive party, in particular. As a result, these forces inevitably decide to appease the party that threatens them more.

For example, UNIFIL established intimate ties with Hizbullah over the years, in order to protect itself. It failed to address serious cease-fire violations by Hizbullah and even refused to take any effective action when the organization kidnapped Israeli soldiers in broad daylight. Many times UNIFIL was more preoccupied with Israeli Air Forces surveillance flights than with flow of new Iranian weaponry to Hizbullah through Syria.

This problem has arisen elsewhere. In Bosnia, during 1995, UN peacekeepers tended to show greater sympathy—and in some cases even admiration—for the commanding officers of the Bosnian Serb Army, who were engaging in ethnic cleansing and of the Bosnian Muslims. A year earlier in Rwanda, the UN Secretariat was reluctant to authorize US force on the ground to active thwart the campaign of Hutu death squads against the Tutsi population.

A senior Hamas official has already said that his organization would refuse to accept a multinational force along the Gaza-Egypt border and would treat it as an occupying power. It is pretty clear that if an international force were to undertake a serious operation against the tunnels running underneath the Philadelphi route, that are used by Hamas and by the crime families in Rafiah, local Palestinian forces would not show the slightest hesitation to open fire on them.

Given the threat environment that they will face, any international force that is deployed will probably end up doing nothing more than narrowing the freedom of maneuver of the Israel Defense Forces to deal effectively with this area in the future.

Israeli diplomacy should focus on Egypt

So what should the Israeli government do? Israeli diplomacy should focus right now on the other side of the Philadelphi route —that is the role of Egypt in the development of the current crisis and its possible contribution to ending it. Since the August 2005 Gaza disengagement, Egypt has had mixed motivations in how it should relate to the security problems of the Gaza Strip.

On the one hand, Cairo has no interest in the emergence of a state belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood (Hamas defines itself as the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood), along its northeastern border. On the other hand, Egyptians might fear that an outright clash between Egyptian forces and Hamas would cause a backlash among the members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. And while Egypt wants to be perceived as a state that contributes to regional stability, undoubtedly there are voices still in Cairo that are not disturbed by an ongoing strategic situation being perpetuated that has Israel bleeding, as along as it does not spin out of control.

For these reasons, Olmert should focus his energies in his meeting with Bush on obtaining a firm commitment from Egypt to at long last seal the Philadelphi route.

Such an action would be far more effective than deploying yet another multinational force that doesn’t help. It should be recalled that European monitors are presently deployed in the Rafah passageway from Egypt into the Gaza Strip, as part of an arrangement negotiated by the Bush administration. These intentional monitors have not blocked the massive flow of arms and trained terrorist personnel that have been flowing into Gaza without interruption. But most importantly, Israel must not take any initiative that could block the freedom of movement of the Israel Defense Forces, in the event that the security situation in the Gaza Strip deteriorates even further.

Dr Gold was Israel’s ambassador to the UN (1997-1999) and now heads the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

June 15, 2007 | 3 Comments »

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3 Comments / 3 Comments

  1. My best friend lives half a yea with other ex pats in Mexico and the other half on a fresh water lake in upstate NY. He is one of the few Jewish Conservative Republicans I know. We have argued or at least discussed Bush, NeoCons, Democrats and Republicans and of course Israel and the Jews. We agree on over 90% with he being even more to the Right than me, but I kept telling him that I didn’t think Bush deserved the credit he was being given. I doubted Bushes intellectual capacity for understanding the complexities of ME and the World, nor did I have any more respect for Condi a so called expert on USSR. All know condi has post Bush political ambitions. For them having made the statements and speeches as well as presidential commitment to the palis. Good for the Palis, a bone to the Arabs and a conformists policy linking America with the EU. Stupid Bush and Condi still can`t figure why all these moves all seem to be turning to Crap and America is still not heeded and loved throughout the world. Anyway I told my friend my theory of Israel and American relationship and how it might go on forever with damaging Israel too greatly:

    My theory goes like this:
    It doesn`t matter whether there is a DEM OR a REP. in office for the first 4 years. this is because before America can formulate and execute a negative policy they will be close to running for second term so no major ant Israel policies will be formulated and executed in any presidents 1st term in office; It works something like this.It will take 6mos to a year to have all key appointments in place. another 6mos. before they can have and articulate any policy. another year or so to implement the policy before presidential and congressional electioneering begin then all is put on hold to see if they can be reelected. If yes they have another 2 and a half years to modify and implement any policy, before president becomes a lame duck. No to the Crux of my theory Work to defeat any incumbent. First term Presidents can`t hurt too much Second term Presidents have been and will continue to be disasterous for Israel

    ISRAEL SHOULD BUT WONT`T PULL OUT OF UN: IT HAS A LOT TO DO WITH JEWISH INFERIORITY COMPLEX AND THE COMMIE NEED TO CONFORM, The LEFT has left religion and god so they need everybody to accept them. conformism and being accepted is their new religion which for most has replaced the Jewish Religion, its traditions,etc. The real Jews the believing kind who take to heart and deed the commandments of the Torah still love the wayward (their term) Jews and no matter what they do consider them family and brothers and sisters. This is one jew who really hates the left so I guess I am not one of the good jews but at least I recognize my real enemies when I see them!

  2. The UN is predominately antiSemetic, any UN presence in the region ultimately presents a danger to Israel. The US has help neutralize UN antiSemitism to a limited extent but consider, if the antiSemitite Jimmy Carter can be US President, who else. Bush has been a disaster in a number of ways, but things can be far worse. If the UN is allowed a presence in the region you don’t know that in the future UN policy will not be 100% against the Israeli state with sanctions and the treat of military force.

    I am writing about what could develop overtime here as opposed to the way things stand now; but think, things really do not have that far to go to get to the point I am warning about.

  3. This problem has arisen elsewhere. In Bosnia, during 1995, UN peacekeepers tended to show greater sympathy—and in some cases even admiration—for the commanding officers of the Bosnian Serb Army, who were engaging in ethnic cleansing and of the Bosnian Muslims.

    Here we go again, once more into the breach, good friends!

    I tell you, this anti-Serb propaganda, based on the greatest lies known to man, comparable to antisemitism itself, runs deep inside this Zionist movement.

    What is going to be done. Just accpet it or fight it to the very end?

    So the Muslims in Bosnia were oppressed by those horrible Serbs, but the Muslims in Hamas are somewhat different, eh!

    And this man is not a small item either in the Zionist heirarchy. He must be aware of the controversy of what he is saying.

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