Tuesday, August 22, 2006

What role will the new UNIFIL-plus have in stopping war crimes

Several teams of international specialists have already gathered evidence that Israel's offensive in Lebanon included the intentional targetting of civilians and civilian facilities (reports are forthcoming). For instance, food stores in southern Lebanon were systematically targetted, apparently to help convince the civilian population to flee and scores of civilian housing areas were flattened in Beirut's southern suburbs. Recall the Israeli Chief of Staff's threat to destroy ten multistory buildings in Beirut when Haifa was hit. On at least two occasions, according to press reports, precisely ten buildings were bombed on the same day.
So, what happens if Israel reinitiates these attacks on civilians in the UNIFIL area of operations? Do those forces simply go to ground or do they have the responsibility to act to protect civilians, even if it means using force against Israel? This question is just as important as how and when Hizballah will be disarmed, and by whom. If there is not a satisfactory answer to the first question, then there will be satisfactory answer to the second one.

U.N. troops' mandate not all that clear

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