UN Peacekeepers in Lebanon Do More Harm Than Good https://mosaicmagazine.com/picks/israel-zionism/2020/08/un-peacekeepers-in-lebanon-do-more-harm-than-good/

August 12, 2020 | Eugene Kontorovich
About the author: Eugene Kontorovich is a professor at George Mason University Antonin Scalia School of Law, director of its Center for International Law in the Middle East, and a scholar at the Kohelet Policy Forum in Jerusalem.

With its size, budget, and remit greatly expanded following the 2006 war between Israel and Hizballah, the United Nations International Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) is tasked with keeping both sides’ forces out of the southern portion of the country. While the IDF has indeed abided by the armistice, UNIFIL has failed spectacularly at compelling Hizballah to do the same. Eugene Kontorovich argues that, unless the peacekeeping force can be reorganized so as to be effective, it would be better to scrap it, or at the very least reduce its size:

UNIFIL . . . is not fulfilling its mandate to disarm Hizballah. Instead, it serves as Hizballah’s de-facto human shield, limiting the IDF’s freedom to maneuver in a potential conflict. The organization is expensive and bloated compared to other peacekeeping missions around the world, has had significant mission creep, and like other UN entities, it is biased against Israel.

Over the past decade, Hizballah has dug a series of attack tunnels into Israeli territory right under UNIFIL peacekeepers’ noses, with the intention of sending thousands of militants to seize control of Israeli villages adjacent to the [border] fence and to perpetrate spectacular atrocities. . . . When Israeli soldiers were kidnapped from Mount Dov in 2000, UNIFIL soldiers observed and recorded the event without intervening or alerting Israel.

If UNIFIL’s mandate is not extended at the end of the month by the Security Council, its mission will end immediately. However, unlike most UN agencies, UNIFIL could also be reorganized. The mandate renewal—which cannot happen over a U.S. veto—gives the United States considerable leverage to push for sustainable reforms of the organization.

Read more on Kohelet: https://en.kohelet.org.il/publication/unifil-a-last-chance-to-reform-ineffective-un-missions-while-protecting-israel

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register Already a subscriber? Sign in now