Friday, November 17, 2006

Naharnet News Desk

UNIFIL has no choice but behave with scrupulous neutrality in implementing Resolution 1701. That does not mean that the French would fire with the intent of hitting an Israeli plane but it might fire "a shot across the bow." My own experience in peacekeeping in southern Lebanon during difficult days many years ago is that unless peacekeepers are prepared to be resolute they will be treated with disdain and disrespect. If aggresive belligerents need to be blooded a bit to demonstrate resolve, so be it.
In this instance there is little doubt that the Israeli military is arrogantly flaunting its disregard for UNIFIL. If and when the French act, Israel will be forced to climb down or face wiltering international criticism, including from the US.
Naharnet News Desk
French U.N. anti-aircraft batteries on Friday took "preparatory steps" to respond when Israeli jets violated Lebanese airspace despite global criticism of such incursions, a U.N. spokesman said.
"The anti-aircraft unit of the (French) battalion took initial preparatory steps to respond to these actions," Milos Strugar, spokesman of the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), told AFP.

"He said "UNIFIL observed and reported 14 Israeli air violations this morning, on November 17, 2006, and 11 of these violations occurred in the area of operation of the French battalion with UNIFIL."

"UNIFIL Commander French General Alain Pellegrini "strongly protested to the Israeli authorities and asked them to cease these actions which are unacceptable and in violation of Resolution 1701," the spokesman said."

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