Op-Ed: Tzipi Livni's Misguided Sense of Accomplishments
Eli E. HertzEli E. Hertz is the president of Myths and Facts, an organization devoted to research and publication of information regarding US interests in the world and particularly in the Middle East. Mr. Hertz served as Chairman of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting.
Tzipi Livni was recently offered the position of Minister of Justice in Netanyahu's government.
At first, Israel's Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni advocated honesty and accountability, but when it came to the Second Lebanese War in 2006, those principles seemed to have left the room.
Is it ignorance or blatant falsehood? You decide:
1. Livni: “Security Council Resolution 1701 is an Israeli achievement”
Fact: Adopting Resolution 1701 under Chapter VII was a clear goal of Israel that did not materialize.
Under international law, Resolution 1701 that was adopted under Chapter VI is at best a declarative statement that lacks the legal authority or enforcement power whatsoever. All the rest is wishful thinking and the results on the ground will attest to it.
Hesham Youssef, chief of the cabinet of the Arab League Secretary-General speaking to Al-Ahram Weekly simply stated: “The resolution is issued under Chapter VI rather than Chapter VII of the UN Charter … [This] is a diplomatic achievement” of the Arab League. In other words, the Arab League welcomes the weakness of the resolution which lacks enforcement power to “ensure implementation” of Resolution 1701.
Unable to have the resolution adopted under Chapter VII, Livni invents a new Chapter when she claims: We got VII minus a statement which is injudicious and fundamentally wrong. There is no room in international law for a loose interpretation of the Charter and VII minus is not a recognized provision in international law.
Livni and Olmert's claim that the cease-fire that brought the fighting to a halt, is somehow indicative of a success, either militarily or diplomatically, is erroneous. The Government of Israel failed to protect its citizens - unable to stop the daily barrage of Katyushas landing in northern and central Israel, with nearly a million Israelis displaced; Israel's urgent need for a cease-fire was obvious.
If the war would have kept going at its pace, Israel would have suffered the greatest military humiliation in its history. As the Wall Street Journal noted: “Israel has nothing to show for its 1701 Resolution”
2. Livni: “A decision was reached by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense to approve the start of a military operation and just as it was starting to go into action late Friday [August 11 2006] we began to strengthen the resolution and return it to the level at which we felt it should originally be.”
Fact: John Bolton, who was U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations during the Second Lebanon War, rejected Livni and Olmert's version of the failed ground offensive during the war's final days: "The Israeli military operation did not play a role in the talks on drafting the UN Security Council Resolution 1701."
It appears that Prime Minster Olmert, Foreign Minister Livni, and Defense Minister Peretz - all in concert - failed to this day “to come clean” and with clarity, explain to the nation's families and soldiers what precisely was the "improvement" attained as a direct result of the IDF expansion into Lebanon on August 11, 2006 - a move that cost the lives of 33 Israeli soldiers.
3. Livni: “We wanted to ensure that this embargo would be enforceable and substantive, preventing the transfer of arms … to Hizbullah. … now the embargo is part of the UN resolution and the terms and formulation of this article are acceptable to Israel and express our opinion - a proper embargo.”
Fact: Resolution 1701 never even mentions the word embargo and does not set-forth an enforcement mechanism or any enforcement power. It seems as though the Minister did not read the resolution.
4. Livni: Israel “Will be getting UNIFIL with a completely different mandate, which includes the right, the option and the authority to use force when required.”
Fact: UNIFIL - a Paper Tiger - is not authorized to use armed force or to impose in any forceful manner the implementation of the recommendations of UN Resolution 1701. UNIFIL's right to use force is strictly limited to self-defence under Article 51 of the UN Charter. Major-General Alain Pelligrini [France] then the Force Commander of UNIFIL made it clear: “The disarmament of Hizbullah is not the business of UNIFIL.”
For more about UN Resolution 1701 Click Here
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Unless otherwise stated, Livni's statements are taken verbatim from her briefing to reporters following Israel's acceptance of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, 13 Aug 2006.(E.H.)