Lebanon’s Prime Minister Says Israel Committed Crimes against Humanity – UN Peacekeeping Effort in Jeopardy

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Says Israel Committed Crimes against Humanity – UN Peacekeeping Effort in Jeopardy

Lebanese Prime Minister, Fuad Saniora, called Israel’s the destruction of Beirut a “crime against humanity”. He said this while touring the Hezbollah stronghold of south Beirut devastated by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Meanwhile, Lebanese Defense Minister Elias Murr warned those in his own country to keep the cease-fire. The Associated Press reports that Murr said "We consider that when the resistance (Hezbollah) is committed not to fire rockets, then any rocket that is fired from the Lebanese territory would be considered collaboration with Israel to provide a pretext (for Israel) to strike."

This comes one day after Israel commandos conducted a predawn raid into southern Lebanon, prompting UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, to declare Israel in violation of the Security Council cease-fire resolution. There have been no other clashes reported.

The Peacekeeping forces are slow to arrive, according to a report in USA Today. The process has been slow because they are still working on the “rules”. The French, who showed great zeal in drafting the UN resolution, have only committed 200 troops because they say the rules of engagement are unclear. One thing that has been made clear is that the peacekeepers will not disarm Hezbollah.

There is supposed to be a total of 30,000 international peacekeepers deployed. Although the Lebanese Army has moved 3,000 troops into southern Lebanon, they are still 12,000 short of their commitment.

The purpose of the peacekeepers is to create a buffer zone between Hezbollah and Israel. It is hoped this buffer will prevent the resumption of rocket fire from Lebanon into Israel.

The whole UN peace-keeping effort may be in jeopardy. According to LA Times reporter, Bruce Wallace, a visiting U.N. envoy warned Sunday that breeches of the cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas could hamper attempts to build a 15,000-member international peacekeeping force for southern Lebanon by alarming governments already reluctant to commit troops to the volatile region.

Peacekeeper envoy Terje Roed-Larsen said “What we have to do now is for all parties concerned to show utmost restraint, to produce a situation that is so stable that troop contributors will come forward to hopefully reach the goal of 15,000."

By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication Staff

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