Thursday, November 23, 2006

And this from a country whose late great military moment was Waterloo.

Under the very noses of UNIFIL, Hezbollah has been re-arming and UNIFIL does relatively little but bunker down at night, and while in the day, UNIFIL forces avert their collective gaze. Now French soldiers of UNIFIL have now been given orders to fire on IAF planes which have been conducting flyover missions in Lebanon for purpose of gathering intelligence on Hezbollah positions & re-armament activities reports the Jerusalem Post:
French soldiers in Lebanon who feel threatened by aggressive Israeli overflights are permitted to shoot at IAF fighter jets, a high-ranking French military officer told The Jerusalem Post. Wednesday, several days after meeting with an IDF general in Paris to discuss what he said was a "blatant violation of the cease-fire."

Last weekend, Maj.-Gen. Ido Nehushtan, head of the IDF Planning Directorate, traveled to Paris and met with military officials to explain why the IAF flies over Lebanon despite the UN-brokered cease-fire.

Nehushtan, new to his post and previously deputy commander of the air force, told his French counterparts that Israel was conducting the flights to collect intelligence on Hizbullah positions in southern Lebanon.

According to the French officer, Nehushtan apologized for an incident on October 31 when an IAF fighter carried out a mock bombing run over a French UNIFIL position in southern Lebanon, almost prompting troops to fire anti-aircraft missiles. "There was a reality on the ground and it was important for us to reaffirm what we had seen and explain clearly what are the orders of the French soldiers to protect themselves," the French officer said.

The French told Nehushtan they would view further aggressive flyovers as a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701. "No assurances were made to us that they [the IAF] would stop [the flights]," the French officer said. "The orders that the [French] soldiers have is that their weapons are for self-defense and if a commander will feel threatened, as it was about to happen on the 31st of October, he would have the right to use force."

Milos Strugar, spokesman for UNIFIL, supported the French position, saying that according to the UN resolution, UNIFIL had the right to use force in self-defense, even against Israeli aircraft. "UNIFIL has the right to take all necessary action to protect UN personnel in self-defense," he said
Has anyone advised France that after two millenniums of running - Jews can now be counted on to fight back? And if, French UNIFIL forces fired on the IAF and the IAF response by blowing them to kingdom come - am I really suppose to care?

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