We resent to the Turkish government because of its hesitations over sending troops to Lebanon. But this issue is more difficult and complicated than we think and Turkey is not the only country which is concerned. Even Italy, which seems to be the most willing country to send forces and take the leadership of the multinational force, has stated that it could give up its decision to send troops unless Israel stopped firing.
The United Nations (UN) force mostly will be made up of troops from European countries (if it can). The possible contributors, along with Turkey, are Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy and Germany. The US and England don’t want to send troops, both are seen as Israel’s closest allies in the region, and therefore, they know that they and Israel may pay a heavy price for that. On the other hand, Israel doesn’t want troops from countries like Malaysia and Bangladesh, countries which don’t recognize Israel.
Most recently, the UN top-officials have declared that the fully deployment of a UN force in Lebanon could take nearly three months, and stated that this situation made the ‘peace’ in the region fragile. However, the US and Israel want the force to be deployed immediately.
The UN issues warnings that the peace may collapse. But there is no peace in fact. For now, Israel has stopped bombing the cities. However, its aerial, naval and land blockade over Lebanon still continue. The patrols don’t allow naval traffic to and from Lebanon. The aerial traffic also is controlled by Israel. It fires at anywhere it finds critical at anytime and, of course, the counter fire comes soon. Israel still has five divisions in Southern Lebanon and this means there are thousands of troops in South. Simply, there is no peace as such. Israel, tired of fighting, is having a rest. In turn, Hizbullah is trying to acquire new rockets.
The international community thinks that Israel will not abide by the ceasefire. Nobody wants to send his/her son to conflict zone for Israel’s interest. The Italian FM Massimo D’Alema strongly underlines that Israel comply with the ceasefire. He repeats this issue every time. As known, the UN also openly has accused Israel of breaching the ceasefire. Israel, as it was clarifying the reason to carry out an operation in the Beqaa Valley, asserted that it had the right to conduct any operation to disarm Hizbullah even during the ceasefire. Israel only thinks of disarming Hizbullah and demands the international community not to see these acts as a violation of the ceasefire. However, this mentality challenges the logic of the ceasefire. The ceasefire is not between Israel and Lebanese Army or some other force but between Israel and Hizbullah. In this case, Israel’s operations against Hizbullah mean the violation of the ceasefire. This is certainly the case. But Israel cannot understand this logic. And it cannot understand why the world doesn’t understand Israel.
Israel has two demands from the international community regarding Lebanon:
1) Disarmament of Hezbollah,
2) Control the Lebanese-Syrian border to prevent weapon transfer.
However, none of these two issues are on the agenda of the countries which contemplate on sending troops. These countries are in favor of staying between Hizbullah and Israel to stop Israeli attacks and to prevent Hizbullah from firing rockets into Israel. Meanwhile, they hope that the Lebanese army will take the control and disarm Hizbullah. Otherwise, nobody fights on behalf of Israel. These countries even don’t think that Hizbullah is the essence of the problem. While they are against Hezbollah’s armed actions, they think that the basic reasons of the problem are Israel’s militaristic and unilateral approach, and Lebanon’s political and economic weakness. In other words, there is a Lebanon, but Israel and the world see a different Lebanon.
Meanwhile, the debate in Israel is turning into a political crisis. While some parties describe Israel’s offensive as a failure and criticize Olmert, some other parties are frustrated with why the war was ended. The strategy of “full war – no reconciliation” applied in Palestine now is being applied in Lebanon. It will not be a surprise if Israel carries out harsher operations in Lebanon. Israel is a powerful country, but it cannot control its power. And the uncontrolled power, in fact, is not a power at all. It can even harm you.
23 August 2006
Translated by: A. Noyan Ozkaya