Wednesday, June 13, 2007

13-Jun-07: UN gets a wake-up call

As civil war rages throughout the Palestinian Authority's towns and cities, Lebanon roils from nearly three weeks of vicious fighting between its army and Palestinian terror groups, and Iran continues to beat its chest, it's getting harder by the day to blame the entire mess on "Israeli occupation".

Yesterday, the United Nations was treated to one of those rare moments of insight that too-quickly get overtaken by bombastic, self-serving political double-talk. Just for a moment, a clear statement of how things are, and perhaps how they have always been.

According to the BBC, one of the UN's senior civil servants, Terje Roed-Larsen, yesterday told the UN Security Council that "illegal arms are being smuggled into Lebanon from neighbouring Syria" and "weapons and fighters often cross the border". (He might have added that rain makes the flowers grow.) Roed-Larsen, evidently noticing for the first time what we Israelis have known and suffered for decades, that there is a steady flow of fighters and weapons crossing into Lebanon, declared that this "new development" is "alarming and deeply disturbing". Good morning.

He told the Security Council that the general situation in the Middle East is "very dark, and apparently getting darker". The build-up of Arab militias is the "greatest obstacle to stabilising Lebanon." (Not so, says this Iranian source. And this Syrian one.)

In a declaration, the Security Council said it regretted that both Lebanese and non-Lebanese militia - like the Palestinians - had not yet been compelled to disarm. Meaning that the entire basis on which Israel withdrew its forces from southern Lebanon last summer (where they were snuffing out endless sources of wanton Hizbullah rocket fire into every part of northern Israel) was a fraud.

What's especially interesting is the punchline.

The UN's man has discovered that what he calls "new and interlinked issues such as Iraq, Iran and Syria-Lebanon" are "complicating efforts to promote peace". Rather absurdly calling this a "new phenomenon", he declares that "all these conflicts are now completely intertwined so that it is very difficult, maybe impossible, to find a solution to one of them without finding a solution to all of them."

Naive though the statement is, it does mean we're spared another "solve the Israeli occupation and you solve everything" moment, which is a welcome change.

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