Friday, August 18, 2006

Europe and the War in Lebanon

Summary of an article from JCPA, JERUSALEM ISSUE BRIEF Vol. 6, No. 7 16 August 2006, by Freddy Eytan [follow the link for the full article]...
  • In 1978 France was the only country in the world that offered warm and sympathetic political refuge to the spiritual leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini. Nevertheless, in 1986, a series of terror attacks in the heart of Paris killed and wounded dozens of people. Behind the attacks was Hizballah operative Anis Nakash. After he was arrested and sentenced to life in prison, he was released by the French in a shameful prisoner exchange with Iran. From his hiding place in Beirut, Nakash has called for attacks on the international force to be stationed in southern Lebanon.
  • French Foreign Minister Douste-Blazy declared during a recent visit to Beirut that: "Iran constitutes a stabilizing force in the Middle East and it should be taken into account and included in any arrangement for restoring quiet to our region." This was followed by a strange and incomprehensible meeting with the Iranian foreign minister in Beirut. It comes as no surprise that in a Le Monde interview on August 12, 2006, Douste-Blazy said the purpose of the enlarged UNIFIL in southern Lebanon would not include the disarming of Hizballah by force.
  • Recently, French Maj.-Gen. Alain Pellegrini has commanded the UNIFIL force. Hizballah fortified its positions and brought in huge quantities of weapons and ammunition right under his nose. Did he warn of the arming of Hizballah by Iran and Syria? Did he prevent the kidnapping of the Israeli soldiers? In any multinational force, France will not take upon itself the task of disarming Hizballah. Indeed, Gen. Pellegrini said on August 15 that his peacekeeping force will not attempt to disarm Hizballah.
  • Regarding Lebanon, then, we know what to expect of Paris. Moreover, the growing influence of France's Muslim immigrants plays a substantial part in its policy. Less than a year before its presidential elections, France is in a trap with no way out.

...a detailed analysis follows [follow the link for the full article].


....Europe's helplessness as a united and consolidated political body does not work in Israel's favor in the struggle against international terrorism. Europe plays a significant role in formulating global policy, particularly in the Middle East. It is a partner to all the peace processes and stands behind fateful decisions in UN institutions and international forums. Its economic and political power is not to be dismissed. Undoubtedly, the values of the European Union strengthen democracy and universal values, and Israel and the EU need each other. The dependency on the Europeans is reciprocal, and its leaders are aware of Israel's unquestionable importance on all the military and political issues.

At the same time, when discussing fateful decisions for our future, Israel must safeguard its assets and be vigilant until Europe becomes capable of pursuing a balanced policy and formulating a policy horizon that is clear from the start.

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Ambassador Freddy Eytan, a former Foreign Ministry senior advisor who served in Israel's embassies in Paris and in Brussels, was Israel's first Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. He heads the Jerusalem Center's Israel-Europe Project, focusing on presenting Israel's case in the countries of Europe. His books include La Poudriere (The Powder Keg) (1991), Shimon Peres - Biographie (1996), Keren Or (Ray of Light) (2004), France: Le Double Jeu (Double Game) (2004), and Sharon, A Life in Times of Turmoil (English and French, 2006).

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