Peacekeeping: Everyone Hates the UN in Lebanon

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February28, 2007: The 10,000 UN peacekeepers in southern Lebanon are being criticized by both the Israelis and Hizbollah, so they must be doing something right. The Israelis are upset because the peacekeepers have not, as per the ceasefire agreement, disarmed Hizbollah forces in southern Lebanon. Hizbollah is upset because the peacekeepers have not stopped Israeli reconnaissance aircraft from flying over southern Lebanon, and have stopped Hizbollah from building or repairing bunkers and rocker storage and launching facilities. The peacekeepers have also restricted the movement of Hizbollah fighters, and the movement of munitions (especially rockets.) Hizbollah has by their own admission (and confirmed by the Israelis) replaced the 4,000 rockets they fired into Israel last Summer, and then some. But the peacekeepers won't let Hizbollah bring those rockets south and install them in bunkers, in preparation for another attack. Some Hizbollah weapons caches have been seized, but most have already been moved north. The Lebanese are also unhappy that the peacekeepers won't fire at Israeli troops who are firing at Hizbollah fighters operating close to the border. Hizbollah also complains that some of the European peacekeepers are Jewish, and thus Israeli agents.

The peacekeepers are not looking for a fight with Hizbollah, but do patrol the area regularly, and will confront any open Hizbollah activity they encounter. Since the peacekeepers, especially the French, are more heavily armed, and intimidating, the Hizbollah guys have, so far, backed down. Apparently the French government has let it be known that, if fired on, the French troops will respond "vigorously." There are rumors that Hizbollah is planning attacks on the peacekeepers, in an attempt to intimidate them. Thus far, t he only violence has been pro-Hizbollah Lebanese Shia children throwing rocks are UN patrols. Lebanese Christians and Shia, however, are happy to see the peacekeepers.

The peacekeepers don't patrol much at night, and Hizbollah personnel tend to be very active at night. Israel believes that Hizbollah is moving in weapons at night and hiding them, but it has not yet turned over any proof to the UN peacekeepers.

 


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