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Israel Violates UN Resolution 1559

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Israel Violates UN Resolution 1559

James Marc Leas
August 19,2006

Recent articles in the corporate media cite UN resolution 1559 for its insistance on disarming Hezbollah. But the articles omit mention of the resolution's equal insistance on the withdrawal of "all non-Lebanese forces from Lebanon"--including Israeli forces.

These articles and the statements by US government and Israeli officials focus on the portion of UN resolution 1559 which they insist "called for the disbanding of Hezbollah’s fighting force and all other militias and the extension of Lebanese government control over the entire country" ("Testing How Long the Cease Fire Can Last," New York Times, August 15, 2006)
But they do not mention that Israel violated this same UN resolution when it bombed and invaded Lebanon.

As the sequence in UN resolution 1559 suggests, getting rid of foreign forces logically precedes the disbanding and disarmament of militias defending Lebanon from those foreign forces. In the case of the foreign forces being Israeli troops, Israel is a country with a history of attacking the civilian population of Lebanon in 1978, 1982, 1993, 1996, and now 2006. Israel has attacked and occupied other neighboring territories as well, driven out the civilian population of those territories, and sent in settlers to take over their land--as happened in 1948 and again in 1967 in the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza and in the Syrian Golan Heights.

As the Los Angeles Times reported in an article, "Old Feud over Lebanese River Takes on New Turn," August 10, 2006, "Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann, who would become the first president of Israel, in 1919 included the Litani valley among the 'minimum requirements essential to the realization of the Jewish National Home.' David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, proposed including the Litani again in the 1940s on the eve of the creation of the Jewish state. In the 1950s, historical records show, Moshe Dayan, then chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, and others favored occupying and ultimately annexing southern Lebanon up to the Litani River."

Israel's history of driving out civilian populations, occupations, and establishing Jewish settlements on occupied territories, as well as Israeli leaders' declared interest in Lebanese territory, is the context for the call to disband and disarm Lebanese militias while Israel remains occupying Lebanese territory.

Israel's history of driving out civilian populations, occupations, and establishing Jewish settlements on occupied territories, as well as Israeli leaders' declared interest in Lebanese territory, is the context for the call to disband and disarm Lebanese militias while Israel remains occupying Lebanese territory.

Since 1967 Israel has occupied territory in the Shebba Farms region claimed by Lebanon. Israel continued that occupation even after adoption of UN resolution 1559 on September 2, 2004. Israel's recent massive attack on Lebanon violated the withdrawal provision of UN 1559 as well as its first provision calling for "the strict respect of the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity, and political independence of Lebanon under the sole and exclusive authority of the Government of Lebanon throughout Lebanon." The killing and wounding of thousands of Lebanese also violated these provisions of 1559. Driving out 3/4 million civilians from their homes in southern Lebanon also violated 1559. The destruction of homes, apartment buildings, roads, bridges, power plants, and fuel storage tanks, the continued occupation of southern Lebanon more than a week after the cease fire was voted by the security council, the continued blockade of Lebanon's ports, the continued threats toward Lebanon's civilian population as they returned to their homes, and the use of cluster bombs, many of which are still waiting to explode, also violated 1559. Israel's further threat to continue to occupy a swath of Lebanese soil also violates 1559. Image

The success Hezbollah had in limiting Israel's ground invasion demonstrated the militia's importance in restaining Israel's ability to occupy Lebanese territory south of the Litani River.

These facts taken as a whole require interpreting UN 1559 to demand that withdrawal of foreign forces be a priority. No Lebanese militia can be expected or required to disband and disarm until the provision of UN 1559 calling for all foreign forces to totally withdraw has been accomplished and threats of further invasion have ceased.

By omitting mention of key provisions of UN resolution 1559 that call for the withdrawal of all non-Lebanese forces from Lebanon and that support "the territorial integrity, sovereignty, and political independence of Lebanon within its internationally recognized borders," the corporate media is misleading the public about UN resolution 1559 and is preparing the way for further war. 

James Marc Leas is a patent lawyer in South Burlington, Vermont. He is a member of the National Lawyers Guild and is a board member of the Refuser Solidarity Network. He has long been active with Jewish peace groups opposing the Israeli invasions of Lebanon.


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