Thursday, August 26, 2010

UNIFIL: Our activities could not be implemented without the cooperation of the Lebanese Army

Thanks to the Jerusalem Post, I know that UNIFIL has now completed its investigation into the murder of an Israeli by Lebanese soldiers a few weeks ago:

Lebanese soldiers shot and killed an Israeli battalion commander earlier this month in an unprovoked attack along the northern border, according to a report sent Wednesday to the IDF by UNIFIL on the organization’s investigation into the attack.
The report was submitted to the IDF and Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF). UNIFIL confirmed its preliminary conclusions that the IDF soldiers had not crossed the internationally recognized border between Israel and Lebanon known as the Blue Line when pruning a tree on the other side of the fence but still within Israeli sovereign territory.

This matches the New York Times report from back on August 5:
The United Nations peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon, Unifil, said Wednesday that it had concluded that Israeli forces were cutting trees that lay within their own territory before a lethal exchange of fire with Lebanese Army troops, largely vindicating Israel’s account of how the fighting started.

But you wouldn’t know it from CNN, of course.

Back on August 3, CNN reported some degree of confusion:
Two separate narratives emerged about the incident.
Israel said the Lebanese fired on Israeli soldiers who were on the Israeli side of the border.
In Jerusalem, Israeli Intelligence Minister Dan Meridor said the incident was captured on video and that it all occurred on Israeli soil...
The Lebanese army's account and a report from Lebanese media said, however, that the hostilities occurred when Israel wanted to remove a tree.
A Lebanese army unit stopped the Israelis, and the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon intervened, the National News Agency said.
The Lebanese army said it asked the U.N. force to arbitrate the issue, but the Israeli forces didn't comply and entered Lebanese territory. That led the army to open fire, with Israeli forces returning artillery fire and hitting a house in the village of Odaise.
But Lebanese President Michel Suleiman said Israel violated U.N. Resolution 1701 in crossing the blue line and by bombing a Lebanese army checkpoint in Odaise. He said Israeli aggression needs "to be confronted, whatever the sacrifices are" and that he will pursue the issue diplomatically.

And on August 4, in contrast to the New York Times coverage of the preliminary UN report, CNN simply said:
"The U.N. announcement today clearly corroborates the Israeli version of events," said Mark Regev, an Israeli government spokesman, in a written statement. "Our routine activity yesterday was conducted entirely SOUTH of the frontier -- on the Israeli side -- and that the Lebanese army opened fire without any provocation or justification whatsoever."
But UNIFIL said, "The investigations are still ongoing" and the body's findings will be released only after they conclude.

So where’s the CNN update, now that the investigations are complete? Where’s the opportunity to set the record straight?

Of course, this is all part of the bigger picture on the Lebanese border, the attempt to beatify the Lebanese army at the expense of Israel. After all, consider that on the same day UNIFIL released this report, they also donated 24 vehicles to the Lebanese army, at a ceremony on which UNIFIL itself reported:

UNIFIL Force Commander Major-General Alberto Asarta Cuevas stressed that conditions on the ground have significantly improved and that cooperation between UNIFIL and LAF has become a “central cornerstone in the implementation of our mandated tasks.”
“Our activities could not be implemented without the cooperation of the Lebanese Army, which has demonstrated – time and again – its professionalism and commitment to UN Security Council resolution 1701 working in close partnership with UNIFIL troops,”



  1. CNN has a long record of burying their head in the sand.

  2. Co-operation, indeed. If one looks at photos taken during the incident, one can see the UNIFIL soldiers standing side by side with Lebanese who are taking aim at Israelis.

    When we were in Lebanon in the 80s, the UN soldiers got in the way more often than not. Sometimes they would conveniently obstruct the passage of IDF squads in the middle of pursuing terrorists.

  3. R' Mordechai-
    Thanks for the first-person report; much appreciated.