Lebanon has faded from the headlines since the war launched by Hezbollah against Israel this past summer. But the UN setup in the area is breeding big trouble ahead — a classic case of the perfidies of UN peace deals. The latest word, posted on the UN web site, is that Major-General Alain Pellegrini, military leader of UNIFIL, the UN “peacekeeping” force in Lebanon, is calling indignantly for all parties to respect “in letter and spirit” UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which like the pile of UN resolutions before it is supposed to ensure peace.
But the UN news release lambastes only one party — denouncing overflights by Israel. There is no mention of Hezbollah’s gross violations of this latest peace deal; no mention of allegations that Hezbollah is rearming, courtesy of Syria and Iran. And despite the clear call in the preamble to Resolution 1701 for the unconditional release of the two Israeli soldiers whose kidnapping by Hezbollah in July kicked off the conflict, the UN appears entirely unbothered that Hezbollah is still refusing to release or even account for them. If that’s of no concern to UNIFIL’s Pellegrini, it ought to be a cause of outrage to Kofi Annan, who told us all in early September that he was sending a “facilitator” to bring the Israelis home. Annan claimed it would be more effective to keep the identity of his facilitator secret. The main effect of this has been, as usual at the UN, to bury an issue that evidently Annan would rather not deal with. Or perhaps in the excitement of lecturing well-heeled corporations on governance and buffing up his legacy before stepping down at the end of December, Annan has simply lost track of his non-facilitating facilitator. (This is, after all, the same Annan who would have us believe he lost track of his role as chief administrator of Oil-for-Food, and last year lost track of the whereabouts of New York-based former Oil-for-Food director Benon Sevan, until Sevan popped up out of reach of U.S. extradition on Cyprus).
If by now the UN, while funneling a torrent of taxpayer-funded resources into Lebanon, cannot produce the kidnapped Israelis — Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser — it’s time for Annan to produce his secret facilitator and explain in public exactly what has been going on. Why is the UN holding Israel to the terms of a phony peace deal, while giving the flagrant and inhumane abuses of “Lebanon-Hezbollah” (Kofi’s term) a free pass?