Israel has refused to allow countries that do not recognise it be part of the UNIFIL force mandated to guard the ceasefire in southern lebanon.
As the UN’s efforts to build the force continued, Mr Gillerman (Israeli Ambassador to the UN) made clear Israel’s unhappiness with some of the contributors.
“It would be very difficult if not inconceivable for Israel to accept troops from countries who do not recognise Israel, who have no diplomatic relations with Israel,” he told the BBC. He said they would be “very happy” to accept troops from Muslim countries they have friendly relations with. “But to expect countries who don’t even recognise Israel to guard Israel’s safety I think would be a bit naive,” he said.
It’s about time Israel stops being apologetic about its existence and makes clear that shunning it for the sake of theatrics on the world stage will have consequences too.
In this case it is the juicy bone called the UN peacekeeping assignment. The UN pays $1,028 per month per soldier/peacekeeper. So for countries from the third world that’s a good money spinner. Now Malaysia, Indonesia and Bangladesh aint getting that dough. No wonder they are whining loudly.
Gillerman’s comments were dismissed by Malaysia, which, along with Indonesia, has a Muslim majority population.
“We’re going to be on Lebanese territory … We’re not going to be on Israeli territory,” Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar said.
Well Israeli PM Olmert just repeated it again today.
“We will not agree that countries which do not have relations with Israel will participate in the multinational force,” an official quoted Mr Olmert as saying.
He has also asked Italy to lead the UNIFIL force instead of the French who developed cold feet at their moment of truth after hopping madly in front of the cameras for a ceasefire.
“It is important that Italy lead the international force, as well as send troops to oversee the border crossings between Syria and Lebanon,” Olmert told Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, according to a statement posted late yesterday on the Web site of the Israeli leader’s office. Olmert also said it is important the force arrive “as soon as possible.”
With this firm stand Israel has proved beyond a shadow of doubt that it won’t sit and watch passively as the terrorists use the ceasefire as a timeout to recover and rearm for the next round while the UN and the international community dither around trying to find some way to enforce their “ceasefire”.