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Monday, August 07, 2006

The U.S.-French Draft UN Resolution on Lebanon: Strengths and Weaknesses

The following is a summary included with the article, part of the Jerusalem Issue Brief series provided by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

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The U.S.-French Draft UN Resolution on Lebanon: Strengths and Weaknesses

by Dore Gold

* The U.S.-French draft resolution calls for a “full cessation of hostilities” by the warring parties. It demands the “immediate” halt by Hizballah of all attacks. Regarding Israel, there is also a demand for the “immediate” cessation of military operations; however, Israel is only expected to halt “offensive military operations.” Not only is Hizballah treated more harshly, but implicitly Israel may continue to conduct “defensive military operations.”

* The draft resolution only partially addresses some of Israel’s main concerns in the present conflict. Israel’s abducted soldiers appear and their release is not linked to the question of Lebanese prisoners in Israel. However, the abducted soldiers are relegated to the preambular language of the draft resolution, rather than appearing in the operative language that specifies what the parties have to do.

* Israel’s concern with rocket proliferation in Lebanon is also addressed in the long-term proposals in the draft resolution through “an international embargo on the sale or supply of arms.” This could justify a partial U.S. or Western naval blockade to look for contraband weapons similar to what the U.S. Navy maintained in the Persian Gulf in the 1990s against Iraq. There is no reference in the draft resolution to how remaining stocks of Hizballah missiles will be addressed.

* The U.S.-French draft resolution envisions the adoption of a further resolution in the future, “under Chapter VII,” for the deployment of a UN-mandated multi-national force. But Chapter VII is a two-edged sword. In the future, if Israel is dissatisfied with the performance of the multi-national force and feels it must conduct limited operations in Lebanese territory (from over-flight to destroying new rocket deployments), under such circumstances Israel could be charged with violating a Chapter VII resolution. Because of the severe repercussions of such a violation, the Arab bloc, with some European support, will likely call for sanctions against Israel.

* The Shebaa Farms were captured by Israel from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War along with the rest of the Golan Heights; their future disposition, it has been assumed, is part of the Israeli-Syrian territorial dispute. Lebanon claimed that in 1951, Syria transferred the Shebaa Farms to Lebanon. However, no such agreement was ever deposited at the UN and Lebanese Army maps from 1961 and 1966 shows the Shebaa Farms to be inside Syria. Hizballah’s claim to the Shebaa Farms has no basis in either UN resolutions or in past diplomatic documentation. Yet, by granting that the Shebaa Farms issue is a genuine dispute, the draft resolution rewards Hizballah by recognizing one of its main claims over the last six years.
Dore Gold is the President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, and served as Israel’s ambassador to the UN from 1997 to 1999. He is the author of Hatred's Kingdom: How Saudi Arabia Supports the New Global Terrorism (Washington: Regnery, 2003), and Tower of Babble: How the United Nations Has Fueled Global Chaos (NY: Crown Forum, 2004).

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