Daily Israel Report

Op-Ed: When It Gets Tough, EU Just Leaves UNIFIL?

Rumors of a EU withdrawal from Beirut, just as Syria’s crisis is escalating tensions.
Published: Friday, May 24, 2013 5:35 PM


From Il Giornale, sent to Arutz Sheva in translation by the writer.

It really would not be a good sign if UNIFIL, the UN Peace Force on the border between Lebanon and Israel, pulled out now, while tensions have heated up due to Syria’s tragedy and all that goes with it.

The EU is apparently threatening to withdraw its soldiers (it nonetheless denied it after a Kuwaiti newspaper disclosed the news) and these rumors were extremely detailed.

The soldiers from the Old Continent, the French, Italians, and Belgians - would leave, and on the field would remain Filipinos, their colleagues from San Salvador, Nepal and any other nations who desire to keep their peacekeeping commitment undertaken with the UN.

This would be just another confirmation of Europe’s inaction. They threaten, just as a great deal of mayhem - due to Syria’s civil war and the Iranian interference - has arisen on the Israeli – Lebanese – Syrian border, and Hizbullah is thriving.

Assad is threatening Israel (after the Israeli attack on weapons shipments bound to Hizbullah) and is announcing the creation of an army made up of Syrians, Palestinian Arabs, and Hizbullah (Nasrallah said to be thrilled) in order to conquer back the Golan, which has been quiet since the time of Hafez Assad.

Meanwhile we have the new weapons for Hizbullah, which already possesses more than 70 thousand missiles, while the threat of chemical weapons is looming, while the war between Shiites (Hizbullah and Iran with Assad’s Alawites) and Sunnis (the rebels, Turkey, the Muslim Brotherhood, Saudis, Egyptians) is under way also inside Lebanon.

But wait, our men would really pack up right now, after some years during which they enjoyed relative quiet  that began in 2006, the year of the second Israel-Lebanon war? Well, looks like. that's on the cards.


Hizbullah has a strategic need to make the border with Israel scorching.
The European Union ambassador in Beirut, Angelina Eichhorst, apparently told Lebanese ex-Prime Minister Najib Mikati that the EU will withdraw the UNIFIL coalition unless serious arrangements for safeguards are taken. Of course, as confirmed by a UN official, the UN would still have to approve this decision, but each country has the right to leave as it wishes.

The request lodged to the Lebanese government to take care of the UNIFIL is certainly reasonable, but very hard to realize. Since the end of the 2006 war, Hizbullah has attacked the UNIFIL patrols on the border and gained back their positions, although UN Resolution 1701 prohibits the presence of Nasrallah’s henchmen south of the Litani river.

A few days ago a UN vehicle was attacked with Molotov cocktails; a Belgian patrol was stopped, the keys were confiscated and guns were pointed at the soldiers. Hizbullah has been nervous ever since its armed collaboration with Assad became widely noticed, and internal confrontations in Lebanon have escalated. Many of its men came back in coffins, while their ally is becoming more and more odious to the whole world.

Like Assad and Iran, it has the strategic need to make the border with Israel scorching. And Israel is not just watching quietly, for sure: its F16's flew over Beirut and hit Damascus, so the temperature has risen.

UNIFIL is really in bad shape. The UN resolutions clamped it down in red tape, so it didn’t actually succeed in stopping Nasrallah from stockpiling murderous weaponry; it was accused by both sides, Israel and Lebanon, as useless.

Hizbullah, which it should have neutralized is instead unstoppable, because the provisions say it it can’t search Hizbullah nor can it disarm the terrorist group without the intervention of the Lebanese army, which is far from intending to do so. TheUNIFIL commanders, especially the Italians, Claudio Graziano from 2007 to 2008, and the current one, Paolo Serra, did their best.

UNIFIL can, unfortunately, claim its own dead soldiers and employes (296 from 1978, the beginning of this mission). But UNIFIL is an awkward organization: its duty is to keep peace between Israel and Lebanon, but Israel’s enemy on the other hand is Hizbullah, who actually is also enemy of a pluralist Lebanon, and likely also the murderer of Rafik Hariri.

The most recent brilliant idea conceived by the EU apparently is to blacklist as a terror organization only the military wing of Hizbullah, in the face of the evidence (so the Bulgarian authorities claim) that Hizbillah are the perpetrators of the July 2012 attack on the bus (six dead) in Burgas.

The European Union would save their political organization if Nasrallah were a statesman, or rather a teacher who at times loses sight of his naughty pupils.