By John E. Carey
As the Israeli army pushed into Lebanon on July 22, civilians that had ignored week-old Israeli-dropped leaflets warning them to evacuate, had to move back. Consequently, today, tens of thousands of Lebanese fled north packing into the port of Sidon to escape the fighting.
Naturally, the United Nations warned of a growing humanitarian "disaster."
Not relying on leaflets alone, an Israeli radio station that normally broadcasts to southern Lebanon has also been warning residents of 13 villages, for days, to flee north by Saturday afternoon. The villages form a corridor about 4 miles wide and 11 miles deep.
The U.N. has reacted with: nothing.
And the UN apparently was taken off guard by this current crisis, despite warning for decades.
It just so happens that the UN mandate for Unifil, which has been camped out doing nothing in Southern Lebanon for 28 years, runs out on July 31.
Unifil, officially the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, has been totally useless in its mandate for years.
Here's Unifil's mandate, according to Security Council resolutions 425 (1978) and 426 (1978) of 19 March 1978: (A) Confirm the withdrawal of Israeli forces from southern Lebanon; (B) Restore international peace and security; and (C) Assist the Government of Lebanon in ensuring the return of its effective authority in the area.
Unifil accomplished one of its missions: it confirmed the Israeli withdrawal. But Unifil failed miserably to restore peace: allowing Hezbollah to send rockets, bomb carrying terrorists and other bad things into Israel. Unifil couldn't even stop children from throwing rocks at Israelis through the fence.
And, did Unifil assist the government of Lebanon by "ensuring the return of its effective authority in the area."? No. Nobody did.
"In 1975, Lebanese President Suleiman Franjieh warned Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat that failure to discipline Palestinian radicals in the southern outskirts of Beirut would exploit Lebanon's hospitality and plunge the country into civil war. These were famous last words. Within months, a civil war broke out that engulfed Lebanon and continued over the next 15 years."
"Looking back over the past 30 years, we can see the profound consequences that emerged since Mr. Franjieh's warning. Central authority lost was never restored."
We put those last two paragraphs into quotation marks because they were written by David Makovskyin the Baltimore Sun on July 18. Mr. Makoyskyin is a senior fellow and director of The Washington Institute's Project on the Middle East Peace Process. (read his essay at: http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templatec06.php?cid=947)