Friday, September 29, 2006

Israel's UN attack.

Reuters reports about the Israeli bombing of a UN post that led to the death of four UN peace keepers on July 25, during the brief war with Hezbollah. Here are the most interesting parts of a UN-led board of inquiry...
Israel used a precision-guided bomb to launch a direct hit on four U.N. peacekeepers
the board was "unable to determine why the attacks on the U.N. position were not halted, despite repeated demarches (communications) to the Israeli authorities from U.N. personnel, both in the field and in U.N. headquarters," Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a statement.
Interestingly, Israel has called in an "operational mistake"! How can they continue to make operational mistakes when the UN personnel kept sending them communications asking them to stop ?

Could this be then the real reason ? Excerpts...

The words of a Canadian United Nations observer written just days before he was killed in an Israeli bombing of a UN post in Lebanon are evidence Hezbollah was using the post as a "shield" to fire rockets into Israel, says a former UN commander in Bosnia.

Those words, written in an e-mail dated just nine days ago, offer a possible explanation as to why the post -- which according to UN officials was clearly marked and known to Israeli forces -- was hit by Israel on Tuesday night
Israel has taken full responsibility for the incident, but in the following manner...
Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said maps of the area had been incorrect. "There was a mishap on the Israeli side where in duplication of maps, the U.N. position on the maps was not marked as it should have been and that created the tragedy,"

Regev said the investigation found that about 100 metres (yards) from the U.N. position there was a Hizbollah position where there was "hostile activity".

U.N. officials agreed Hizbollah guerrillas were at a base in the area as well as in a nearby prison. But they said there was no activity from the militia on July 25 and the U.N. bunker was clearly marked.

This whole incident brings to focus the problems with "peace-keeping" in volatile areas. Is it really possible for a small force of international peace keepers to be able to maintain the peace in an area where they are complete outsiders, and at times have no other option but to have tacit "understandings" with the local armed militias ? And then they get killed and reported as "collateral damage" with vague excuses as to the reasons behind their deaths.

Cross posted on : Writers Against Terrorism.

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