On August 11, the UN Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1701 jointly proposed by the US and France and with all provisions in it signed off on by Israel before it was put to a vote. Neither Lebanon nor Hezbollah was afforded that same right. In a UN dominated by the world’s only superpower and having to operate within the constraints it sets, only aggressors are allowed that privilege. It’s victims never are. Resolution 1701 was a revised version of the one the US and France first proposed on August 6 which the French then backed down on because of strong Lebanese government and Arab League opposition. The new resolution only guarantees one thing – no end to the conflict and no justice for its Lebanese victims. It doesn’t even address the concurrent hostilities ongoing against the Palestinians arrogantly ignoring the fact that they’re raging daily with no end in sight.
Resolution 1701 calls for a full cessation of hostilities on both sides but leaves in it a glaring loophole big enough apparently to get Israel to accept it. It calls on Hezbollah to cease “all attacks” immediately and implies, but doesn’t explicitly state, Hezbollah must disarm. It only asks Israel to stop “all offensive military operations” without defining what that means or making a comparable disarmament demand on the IDF. It thus gives Israel the right to “respond” if, in its judgment, it faces what it believes is an imminent threat. In other words, Israel can attack Lebanon at will any time and claim, true or not, it’s only responding to such a threat. It also proposes no fixed timetable for Israel to withdraw its troops from Lebanon and only “calls on the government of Israel” to do so once a UN mandated force is in place. It thus gives Israel what it wanted – more time for the IDF to continue its assault by air and to try on the ground to seize more territory so when both sides agree to halt hostilities, Israel will be in the strongest bargaining position. The resolution also authorizes the deployment of up to 15,000 UN (UNIFIL) troops in southern Lebanon from countries willing to supply them to assist an additional 15,000 Lebanese force.
The resolution is a litany of outrage ignoring why the conflict began and falsely accuses Hezbollah of starting it by launching “the attack on Israel on 12 July” which it did not. It mentions nothing about Israel’s daily incursions into Lebanon by air and on the ground prior to the July 12 date when Hezbollah forces captured (not kidnapped) two IDF soldiers who it’s believed illegally crossed the UN-monitored “blue line” into the country – something the IDF routinely has done almost daily since it withdrew from the country in May, 2000. It absolves Israel of any responsibility by failing to acknowledge it’s been waging a war of illegal aggression against the country and thus, according to the Nuremberg Charter, is guilty of the “supreme international crime” which convicted Nazis after WW II were hanged for. It doesn’t even mention the word “war” in its text or indicate in any way that Israel is guilty of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity against the people of Lebanon.
This is a resolution only an aggressor would love. It will do nothing to deter further aggression any time Israel believes, on its say alone and with no evidence, an imminent threat exists. Resolution 1701 blatantly violates the UN Charter which permits a nation to use force only under two conditions: when authorized to do it by the Security Council or under Article 51 that allows the “right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member….until the Security Council has taken measures to maintain international peace and security.” In other words, necessary self-defense is allowed. Israel’s extreme responses following the capture of three of its soldiers, known in both cases to have been planned well in advance awaiting only convenient pretexts to initiate them, are no acts of self-defense. They’re acts of premeditated illegal aggression.
In sum, UN Resolution 1701 is little more than an outrageous and illegal expression of victor’s judgment. It allows Israel the right to resume hostilities any time it wishes and for any reason so long as the Israelis claim an imminent threat exists regardless of whether or not it’s true. It gives no rights to the victims who remain vulnerable and are likely to come under further assaults just as they have almost daily since Israel first invaded Lebanon in 1978. And it does nothing to try to end the ongoing Israeli aggression against the Palestinians or address their long-standing grievances now ongoing for nearly 60 years. The resolution does guarantee one thing – no end to the conflict in either country or justice for the beleaguered people of them both.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] Also visit his blog site at www.sjlendman.blogspot.com .