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Ditch the Diplomatic Follies, or Israel Will Suffer Dearly
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the man to watch these days. And yet, it would seem that those in positions of power are paying him little heed.
Ahmadinejad -- whose proxy army Hezbollah is now waging war against Israel -- has promised to respond to European and American demands to cease his country's illicit nuclear programs on Aug. 22.
As Robert Spencer, a noted expert on Islam, has explained, Aug. 22 corresponds with the 27th of Rajab on the Muslim calendar. According to Islamic tradition, that is the day after Muhammad made his nighttime journey to Jerusalem and then flew to heaven from the Temple Mount, lighting up the skies over the holy city in his wake.
In all the talk of Security Council resolutions regarding the war that Iran's proxy force Hezbollah is waging against Israel, no one has mentioned the possibility of condemning Iran or Syria for their sponsorship of Hezbollah.
This week, the U.N. Security Council is supposed to vote to approve a resolution under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter that will mandate a cease-fire and the establishment and deployment of a multinational force to Lebanon. The tasks of the proposed force will be to man a buffer zone in southern Lebanon; enable the deployment of the Lebanese army along the border with Israel; and control Lebanon's international border with Syria.
The purpose of the force is to prevent Hezbollah from attacking Israel and to cut it off from its logistical base in Syria while barring Israel from continuing the fight.
There are several basic problems with this approach.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her colleagues claim that the proposed multinational force would protect Israel. Yet it's already clear that this will not be the case. As things now stand, the proposed force will be led by France. Indonesia and Turkey have reportedly offered to participate. Yet none of these countries even accept that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization.
Obviously, this force will not fight Hezbollah. But it will prevent Israel from attacking Hezbollah.
Moreover, the planned multinational force is supposed to facilitate the Lebanese army's deployment along the Lebanese border with Israel. This is supposed to be a good thing. Yet since the outbreak of the war, the Lebanese army has been actively fighting with Hezbollah.
In her discussions with Israeli leaders, Rice has proposed that in the framework of a settlement of the current crisis, Israel give Mount Dov on the Golan Heights to Lebanon. Mount Dov, which Hezbollah refers to as the Sheba Farms, is not and has never been Lebanese territory. In 2000, following Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon, the United Nations certified that Israel had removed itself from all Lebanese territory.
That body further confirmed that Mount Dov was territory Israel wrested from Syria during the course of the 1967 Six-Day War. The fate of the territory would be determined in the course of negotiations toward a peace treaty between Israel and Syria. Yet today, the administration is prodding Israel to hand over this land as a confidence-building gesture toward the Lebanese government. By adopting this Hezbollah demand, the United States is breaching the decades-old foundation of the Law of Nations, which stipulates that states cannot win territory from other states through armed aggression.
By supporting Hezbollah's demand, the Americans are in effect suing for a Hezbollah victory. If Lebanon receives the territory, Hezbollah will be the clear victor in this war.
Moreover, by even suggesting that Israel consider this concession, the United States is undermining the very notion that Israel has a right to recognized borders.
If after Israel removed itself to the international border Lebanon can receive support for additional territorial claims against Israel, that means there is no line to which Israel can remove itself in the Golan, in Jerusalem, in Judea and Samaria or Gaza, and safely assume that its borders will be recognized by the rest of the world. Israel will never be able to trust that any peace treaty it signs is final. An act of aggression by its enemies may pave the way for additional claims.
A clear break from the current diplomatic path must be made immediately. Ahmadinejad is looking on and laughing.
Caroline B. Glick is a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.