Socialist Worker

Israel breaks ceasefire - and the UN turns a blind eye

by Simon Assaf
Issue No. 2019

The United Nations (UN) has broken its pledge to protect Lebanon from Israeli attacks, saying instead that it will focus on disarming the resistance.

The UN has informed the Lebanese government that they want to deploy troops along the border with Syria and monitor Beirut international airport. Neither of these deployments are mandated by UN security council resolution 1701, which ended the war.

A warning of the shifting priorities came from the right wing German chancellor Angela Merkel last week.

She stated that German troops were being deployed because of “our particular responsibility for Israel’s right to exist”, rather than being there to protect Lebanon.

She demanded a “robust, appropriate mandate” to disarm the Lebanese resistance. Her statement has provoked fury across Lebanon.

The 15,000 UN troops, which include Italian, Spanish, German and French soldiers, were originally welcomed in the south as they promised to defend villages.


The troops are armed with heavy tanks, sophisticated radar and artillery - but they have so far failed to confront Israeli incursions.

In the month since the end of the war there have been over 100 breaches of the ceasefire agreement by Israel.

Israeli warplanes and drones continue to fly over Lebanon. There are daily incursions into Lebanon by Israeli tanks and troops.

Israeli soldiers have repeatedly opened fire on villages along the border and kidnapped 24 Lebanese - including four farmers from the border town of Aita al-Shaab. All were released after being blindfolded and “questioned”.

In the latest incident Israeli troops seized farmland in the border village of Kfar Killa, enclosing it with barbed wire despite clearly demarcated borders. The local farmer demanded that the UN act - but was told instead that there would be an “investigation”.

Two days after the end of the sea blockade, Israeli gunboats opened fire on small fishing boats off the coast of Tyre, despite the presence of Danish and French warships.

The warships did not intervene to protect the fishermen, who were forced to abandon their nets.


In the latest threat against the country, the UN commander in Lebanon, French general Alain Pellegrini, said his forces would begin disarming the resistance.

“If the [Lebanese army] fails to act, we must assume our responsibilities as a UN force,” he said. “Someone will have to intervene, with all the consequences that this might have for the Lebanese authorities.”

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Sat 23 Sep 2006, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 2019
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