Is UNIFIL a supporter of Arab islamic fascism?
What did you do in the war, UNIFIL?
You broadcast Israeli troop movements.
by Lori Lowenthal Marcus
09/04/2006, Volume 011, Issue 47
The Weekly Standard
DURING THE RECENT month-long war between
Hezbollah and Israel, U.N. "peacekeeping"
forces made a startling contribution: They openly published
daily real-time intelligence, of obvious usefulness to
Hezbollah, on the location, equipment, and force structure
of Israeli troops in Lebanon.
UNIFIL--the United Nations Interim Force in
Lebanon, a nearly 2,000-man blue-helmet contingent that has
been present on the Lebanon-Israel border since 1978--is
Yet, throughout the recent war, it posted on its website for
all to see precise information about the movements of
Israeli Defense Forces soldiers and the nature of their
weaponry and materiel, even specifying the placement of IDF
safety structures within hours of their construction. New
information was sometimes only 30 minutes old when it was
posted, and never more than 24 hours old.
Meanwhile, UNIFIL posted not a single item of
specific intelligence regarding Hezbollah forces. Statements
on the order of Hezbollah "fired rockets in large numbers
from various locations" and Hezbollah's rockets "were fired
in significantly larger numbers from various locations" are
as precise as its coverage of the other side ever got.
This war was fought on cable television and the
Internet, and a lot of official information was available in
real time. But the specific military intelligence UNIFIL
posted could not be had from any non-U.N. source. The
Israeli press--always eager to push the envelope--did not
publish the details of troop movements and logistics.
Neither the European press nor the rest of the world media,
though hardly bastions of concern for the safety of Israeli
troops, provided the IDF intelligence details that UNIFIL
did. A search of Israeli government websites failed to turn
up the details published to the world each day by the U.N.
Inquiries made of various Israeli military and
government representatives and analysts yielded near
unanimous agreement that at least some of UNIFIL's postings,
in the words of one retired senior military analyst, "could
have exposed Israeli soldiers to grave danger." These
analysts, including a current high ranking military
official, noted that the same intelligence would not have
been provided by the U.N. about Israel's enemies. Sure
enough, a review of every single UNIFIL web posting during
the war shows that, while UNIFIL was daily revealing the
towns where Israeli soldiers were located, the positions
from which they were firing, and when and how they had
entered Lebanese territory, it never described Hezbollah
movements or locations with any specificity whatsoever.
Compare the vague "various locations" language
with this UNIFIL posting from July 25:
"Yesterday and during last night, the IDF
moved significant reinforcements, including a number of
tanks, armored personnel carriers, bulldozers and infantry,
to the area of Marun Al Ras inside Lebanese territory. The
IDF advanced from that area north toward Bint Jubayl, and
south towards Yarun.
Or with the posting on July 24, in which UNIFIL
revealed that the IDF stationed between Marun Al Ras and
Bint Jubayl were "significantly reinforced during the night
and this morning with a number of tanks and armored
This partiality is inconsistent not only with
UNIFIL's mission but also with its own stated policies. In a
telling incident just a few years back, UNIFIL vigorously
insisted on its "neutrality"--at Israel's expense.
On October 7, 2000, three IDF soldiers were
kidnapped by Hezbollah just yards from a UNIFIL shelter and
dragged across the border into Lebanon, where they
disappeared. The U.N. was thought to have videotaped the
incident or its immediate aftermath. Rather than help Israel
rescue its kidnapped soldiers by providing this evidence,
however, the U.N. obstructed the Israeli investigation.
For months the Israeli government pleaded with
the U.N. to turn over any videotape that might shed light on
the location and condition of its missing men. And for nine
months the U.N. stonewalled, insisting first that no such
tape existed, then that just one tape existed, and
eventually conceding that there were two more tapes. During
those nine months, clips from the videotapes were shown on
Syrian and Lebanese television.
Explaining their eventual about-face, U.N.
officials said the decision had been made by the on-site
commanders that it was not their responsibility to provide
the material to Israel; indeed, that to do so would violate
the peacekeeping mandate, which required "full impartiality
and objectivity." The U.N. report on the incident was
adamant that its force had "to ensure that military and
other sensitive information remains in their domain and is
not passed to parties to a conflict."
Stymied in its efforts to recover the men while
they were still alive, Israel ultimately agreed to an
exchange in January 2004: It released 429 Arab prisoners and
detainees, among them convicted terrorists, and the bodies
of 60 Lebanese decedents and members of Hezbollah, in
exchange for the bodies of the three soldiers. Blame for the
deaths of those three Israelis can be laid, at least in
part, at the feet of the U.N., which went to the wall
defending its inviolable pledge never to share military
intelligence about one party with another.
UNIFIL has just done what it then vowed it could
never do. Once again, it has acted to shield one side in the
conflict and to harm the other. Why is this permitted? For
that matter, how did the U.N. obtain such detailed and
timely military intelligence in the first place, before
broadcasting it for Israel's enemies to see?
Lori Lowenthal Marcus is president of the
Zionist Organization of America, Greater Philadelphia
C Copyright 2006, News Corporation, Weekly Standard,
All Rights Reserved.