Ever since the Israeli pullout from southern Lebanon in 2000, the Hezbollah has been the “de facto” law in the swath of land that rests on Israel’s northen border. The Israeli government stated yesterday that it considered the attack by Hezbollah a serious unprovoked provocation by the Lebanese government, that will be answered by Israel in a very, very painful way.
I believe that the statement was directed more to the international community than to the Lebanese government, in spite of the fact that the Hezbollah has representatives in parliament as well as ministers in the government. It was aimed at the ears of the international community to get their attention, if the IC does not wish to see this evolve into a full blown war, it must exert all of its diplomatic pressure on both Iran and Syria in order to get the Hezbollah to release the abducted Israeli soldiers.
In a cabinet Communique (Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat);
“Israel views the sovereign Lebanese Government as responsible for the action that originated on its soil and for the return of the abducted soldiers to Israel. Israel demands that the Lebanese Government implement UN Security Council Resolution #1559.
However, there is no doubt that Hizbullah, a terrorist organization operating inside Lebanon, initiated and perpetrated today’s action; Israel will act against it in a manner required by its actions.
Israel must respond with the necessary severity to this act of aggression and it will indeed do so. Israel will respond aggressively and harshly to those who carried out, and are responsible for, today’s action, and will work to foil actions and efforts directed against it. The international community understands that every country, including Israel, must act aggressively against enemy targets such as Hizbullah. “
All the parties involved know that the Hezbollah runs southern Lebanon, and that the Lebanese army does not even dare to show its face in the area. The fact is, the Lebanese government has no influence whatsoever over the affairs in its southern region, and the Israelis and Hezbollah know it. Blogger, Michael Totten, has an excellent piece on the situation just prior to the hostilities breaking out in
The international community must take a unified “zero tolerance” stance against the aggressions by the Hezbollah as well as Hamas, (which is working in tandem with Hezbollah) and hold them both to be solely responsible for the present situation. As in Totten’s article describes, the Hezbollah had been planning some form of attack for some time now, and it appears that both terror groups struck their blows at both ends of Israel in a planned, coordinated way. Perhaps they staggered their incursions just a bit to throw off any direct “tell-tale” signs of collusion between the two groups, but the evidence is there.
Maybe Israel’s blockade of Lebanon will necessitate some positive action from the international community. I am wondering what the passive Finnish government will do, since it currently chairs the EU presidency? This is an interesting time period for the Finns, that has a Ministry of Foreign Affairs which usually prefers to hide behind any EU foreign policy decision making having to do with the Middle East. Now its show and tell time. KGS
UPDATE: The Finnish Foreign Ministry stated in a press release that:
“The Presidency of the European Union is alarmed about the deterioration of the security situation on the Israel-Lebanon border, involving the firing of rockets into Israel and the taking prisoner of two Israeli soldiers, leading to military action being taken by Israel in response.
The Presidency calls on all parties to exercise restraint and refrain from any action which would cause an escalation of the already tense situation. Hezbollah should immediately and unconditionally release the captured Israeli soldiers, and cease all attacks on Israel. The Lebanese government also has a responsibility to prevent a deterioration of the situation. In this context, the Presidency recalls the need for the Lebanese State to restore its sovereignty over the whole of its national territory and to exercise the sole rights to the use of force on that territory. The Presidency urges all countries in the region to act responsibly and to do everything possible to calm the situation.”
I am impressed that they singled out actions of the aggressor, Hezbollah, first, while not condemning Israel at all for its repsonse to it being invaded by the Lebanese terror group. Also noteworthy is the demand for Lebanon to restore authority over its national (entire)territory, which would effectively call for the defanging of the entire Hezbollah terror organzation. It also observes the right for the Lebanese gov’t to use force in order to exert that authority.
Nothing could be more clear, terrorist militia enclaves should not be tolerated, due to their formenting continual unrest and violence. The EU presidency should also issue the same demand to the Palestinian Authority to defang its own militias as well. KGS