Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Legal analysis of 1701 - Hezbollah secret deal with Lebanon?

The Jurist website publishes an extensive legal analysis of UN Resolution 1701 by Anthony D'Amato. The author, who personally supports full Israeli withdrawal from all territories, does an exhaustive review and comes brings up the likelihood that there already is a secret deal between Hezbollah and the government of Lebanon where Hezbollah will be smoothly integrated in the Lebanese army, and that Israel already accepts that! (H/T Backspin)
OP8. Calls for Israel and Lebanon to support a permanent ceasefire and a long-term solution based on the following principles and elements:

* full respect for the Blue Line by both parties,

* security arrangements to prevent the resumption of hostilities, including the establishment between the Blue Line and the Litani river of an area free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the government of Lebanon and of UNIFIL as authorized in paragraph 11, deployed in this area,

* full implementation of the relevant provisions of the Taif Accords, and of resolutions 1559 (2004) and 1680 (2006), that require the disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon, so that, pursuant to the Lebanese cabinet decision of July 27, 2006, there will be no weapons or authority in Lebanon other than that of the Lebanese state,

It is clear that the authors of this provision intend the disarmament of all members of Hezbollah. But this is where common sense must interrupt our formal analysis of the Resolution and ask: what group in its right mind would consent to a Resolution that calls for its disarmament to be likely followed by arrests and prosecutions for war crimes? (See my JURIST editorial on war crimes.) The only reasonably conceivable reason Hezbollah has agreed to this Resolution is that it has been assured, by secret agreement with the government of Lebanon, that its members will not be disarmed, arrested, or prosecuted. My best guess is that the agreement calls for members of Hezbollah to be smoothly integrated into the armed forces of the Lebanese government.

* no foreign forces in Lebanon without the consent of its government,

No problem if Hezbollah becomes a governmental force instead of a foreign force.

* no sales or supply of arms and related materiel to Lebanon except as authorized by its government,

In my JURIST editorial last week, I focused upon the importation of rockets and rocket launchers by Hezbollah as the most important issue that Israel faces in this conflict. So long as Syria and Iran supply increasingly sophisticated rockets to Hezbollah, Israel's security diminishes with each shipment. What would be ideal, from Israel's point of view, is a blockade on all arms and military equipment to Lebanon. But instead Israel has settled for a loophole: there is no blockade to arms and military equipment if authorized by the Lebanese government. In my view, this is the reason why Hezbollah has agreed to the UN Resolution. Hezbollah must believe that it can look forward to importing sophisticated armaments and rockets under the authority and permission of the government of Lebanon. By the same token, the magnitude of this concession makes it appear that Israel has thrown in the towel.

Dr. Ronnie Sabel from the Hebrew University Faculty of Law comments on D'Amato's analysis as well.