The Role of the UN in the Israel-Hezbollah War (2006)
Undeniably, the adoption of Resolution 1701 by the United Nations Security Council led to the cessation of heightened hostilities that fueled the Israel-Hezbollah War. The Israel-Hezbollah War of July-August 2006 attracted attention from the international peacekeeping community (Armes 14). The month-long war touched upon an array of critics from international policy issues such as the state of instability in the Middle East due to the continued Israeli-Arab conflict and the failure to disarm the Hezbollah militant group (Anderson August 9). Coupled with these issues and the month-long war, the United Nations Security Council implemented measures aimed at ending the ceasefire in the region. For this reason, it adopted the Resolution 1701 in order to bring full cessation of attacks from Hezbollah as well as all offensive military operations. The Resolution provided measures that enabled the United Nations to undertake a number of roles. This included but not limited to increasing the number of its military presence in order to monitor the cease-fire, withdraw the number of Israel forces as the number of UN Peace troops are deployed, and minimize the delivery or limit the delivery of weapons to individuals or groups in Lebanon. The United Nations’ vital role involved emphasizing the need to end the hostilities and violence in addition to outlining the measures to be followed when addressing the root causes of the factors that facilitated the war (Jerome & Theodore 8).
Conflicts over international borders had a hand in the continued conflicts between Israel and Lebanon. Through Resolution 1701, U.N. Secretary General was expected to prepare proposals within 30 days to facilitate the delineation of Lebanon’s international borders. This provision shows that the United Nations played a fundamental role in providing solutions regarding the description of borders. For instance, the proposals provided a description for the disputed Shibs Farms located on the Israeli-Syrian-Lebanese border (Amal). These Farms have continued to be a force for exacerbating tensions in the southern part of Lebanon thereby complicating measures taken to implement terms of cease-fire.
On the other hand, the UN, through Resolution’s 1701 preamble, encouraged the warring parties to find solutions to the issue of prisoners of war from both sections. The issue of prisoners had increased the need for addressing the management of prisoners by encouraging the continuation of efforts related to settling of detained prisoners. This included the stipulation of measures to facilitate the release of soldiers on unconditional grounds. Another pivotal role played by the UN in this situation included calling upon the international community to extend humanitarian and financial assistance to the people of Lebanon in addition to enabling displaced people to return safely to their homes. This provision called for the international community to contribute towards the rebuilding and restructuring of infrastructural facilities destroyed during the war (George 65). Opening of key facilities such as harbors, ports, and airports were also included in this provision.
Furthermore, the United Nations was not only interested in ending the ceasefire but also it was interested in finding solutions that will enable the two nations to identify a lasting solution to the war that threatened instability in the region. To achieve this objective, the United Nations identified principles from Resolution 1701 that should act as guidance to Israel and Lebanon. This included expecting Lebanon and Israel to respect the Blue Line fully as well as undertaking security arrangements aimed at the prevention of renewed hostilities and violence (George 65). Other adopted principles included the prohibition of any foreign forces without the knowledge of the Lebanese government and banning the supply or sale of arms. Finally yet important, the United Nations used Resolution 1701 to provide directions to the Lebanese government for purposes of guiding the government in situations involving the deployment of international forces. Such forces are important in assisting the government to practice its authority all over its boundaries. For instance, the UN specified the measures to be taken by the Lebanese government to ensure that its borders are not used for the advancement of illegal activities in addition to enabling the government to resist any measures or forceful means that are likely to prevent the government from exercising its obligations.
The United Nations has been involved in finding stability between Israel and Lebanon for a couple of decades. This is evidenced by the creation of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in 1978 for purposes of confirming the withdrawal of Israel from the Lebanese territory (Bregman 67). Additionally, this moved was aimed at the restoration of international security and peace thereby helping Lebanon to regain its control of the authority acquired by Israel. The United Nations was at the forefront in its peacekeeping mission during the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict (2006). Following the adoption of Resolution 1701 by the UN, the United Nations Security Council called for the deployment of thirty thousand UN peacekeeping troops to the southern part of Lebanon (Bregman 69). This measure also included the call for the withdrawal of Israeli forces that had a history of invading Lebanon. Through the mandate provided by Resolution 1701, the United Nations enabled Lebanon to increase its peacekeeping forces by an additional 15,000 to assist Lebanese government to regain its sovereignty (Dalia, Gavriely-Nuri). The UN resolution ensured that the UNIFIL undertook all the necessary measures and actions in selected areas to deploy its forces for the restoration of peace. Additionally, the resolution ensured that all actions taken by the Lebanese forces were undertaken in accordance with the capabilities of the peacekeeping mission. Another important area of consideration for the peacekeeping mission was to ensure that the operational areas for Lebanese forces were not utilized for the advancement of hostile or violent activities of any kind whatsoever.
The prevention of the sale or supply of arms is among the factors that have contributed immensely to continued wars among nations. Although not stipulated by the mandate, the United Nations played a fundamental role in helping Lebanon to prevent the flow of arms from countries such as Syria and Lebanon (Jerome & Theodore 8). However, the UN through the UNIFIL was not directly involved in the prevention or interception of shipments of weapons to Lebanon but rather it did so based on requests to undertake the operation by the Lebanese government. In the Israeli-Hezbollah War of 2006, the Maritime Task Force (MTF) was established under the guidance of the United Nations to aid Naval Forces from Lebanon to prevent the entry of illegal arms and armaments to the Country. Undeniably, majority of principles stipulated in Resolution 1701 of the United Nations Security Council provides measures to strengthen peacekeeping initiatives in the region.
Amal Saad-Ghorayeb. Hezbollah Politics and Religion (Chapter 6 -The Resistance to the Israeli Occupation of South Lebanon, London: Pluto Press. 2002
Armes, Roy. Arab Filmmakers of the Middle East. A Dictionary. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2010.
Anderson, Cooper, “Hezbollah Remains Secretive Organization,” Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN, August 9, 2006.
Bregman, Ahron Israel's Wars: A History since 1947. London: Routledge, 2009. Print
Dalia, Gavriely-Nuri. "The `metaphorical annihilation' of the Second Lebanon War (2006) from the Israeli political discourse" in Discourse Society, 19.5 (2008)
George, Packer, “Knowing the Enemy,” The New Yorker, December 18, 2006. p. 65-66.
Jerome, Glenn, & Theodore, Gordon. "Three alternative Middle East peace scenarios,” Foresight, 7.2 (2008): 8 - 20