Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Dan Gillerman, reminds me a little of our own ambassador, John Bolton. Both have what traditionally been a crippling trait in diplomats: a tendency to speak forthrightly, without obfuscation and nuance.
Yesterday, Gillerman took two points with regard to the United Nations and rejected them both.
First, in respect to the incident where four United Nations peacekeepers were killed by an Israeli bomb, he flatly contradicted UN Secretary General Kofi Annan’s call for a “joint investigation” into how it happened. Gillerman says Israel will welcome any information the UN has to offer, and will “consider” any requests for information from the UN, but they will NOT be welcomed into finding out what led to an Israeli bomb striking that outpost.
(My own theory, backed up by considerable evidence, is that Israel was targeting Hezbollah combatants who were around and in the UN station, rendering it protected status null and void.)
Second, Gillerman took the calls for a United Nations force to secure a ceasefire and tossed them on the trash heap. Israel is willing to accept such a force, and willing to accept a UN mandate to that force, but will NOT accept UN Peacekeepers.
It’s hard for me to disagree with Ambassador Gillerman. Let’s look at the sterling record the UN has built up in the 28 years their “interim” force has been in Lebanon.
- Four years after UNIFIL was established, Israel finally got fed up with the continuous attacks from southern Lebanon and invaded in 1982.
- After a long occupation, Israel finally withdrew in 1998 under United Nations auspices.
- As part of that withdrawal, the UN moved in its peacekeepers and charged them with securing the peace, preventing future attacks on Israel from southern Lebanon, disarming the “local militias” (meaning Hezbollah, mainly), and keeping military-grade weapons out of southern Lebanon.
- Under their watchful eye, Hezbollah essentially took over southern Lebanon.
- Syria and Iran armed Hezbollah with well over 10,000 missiles and rockets, including highly advanced anti-ship cruise missiles.
- Hezbollah carried out, under UNIFIL’s watchful eye, numberous rocket and missile attacks on Israel.
- Hezbollah carried out, under UNIFIL’s watchful eye, repeatedly invaded and attacked Israel.
- In 2000, Hezbollah terrorists clothed in UNIFIL colors invaded Israel and kidnapped three Israeli soldiers.
- Before the raid, Hezbollah had bribed UNIFIL soldiers to look the other way.
- UNIFIL videotaped the entire attack.
- UNIFIL went to Hezbollah’s abandoned vehicles before Israel found them and destroyed evidence.
- United Nations officials, all the way to the top and Kofi Annan, repeatedly denied any involvement or knowledge of the kidnapping.
- The kidnapped soldiers were eventually brutally killed.
- At least, that’s the presumption — their remains have never been recovered.
- The United Nations, under great pressure, finally admitted that they had videotapes of the attack.
- They refused to turn over the tapes to Israel, saying it would “violate their neutrality.”
- Instead, they allowed Israeli officials to review the tapes under very controlled, very limited circumstances.
- And after the tapes were censored to remove any chance of identifying the terrorists.
- When the current fighting erupted, the United Nations did not allow its peacekeepers to get the hell out of an active war zone.
- In fact, they apparently are ordering them to stay where they are, and allowing Hezbollah to set up base in and around UN bases, allowing these peacekeepers to be used as human shields by the terrorists.
There’s an old saying: “if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” A logical corollary would be that if you’re a major part of the problem, you probably can’t be trusted to provide the solution.