Lebanon / UN 298.88.
(photo credit: AP)
Retired Canadian Maj.-Gen. Lewis MacKenzie told Canada's CBC radio last week that the Canadian officer Maj. Paeta Hess-von Kruedener, killed by IDF fire at a UN post in Lebanon last Tuesday, had complained in e-mails that Hizbullah fighters were all over his position. "They use the UN as shields knowing that they can't be punished for it," said MacKenzie
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan slammed Israel for the attack, which killed three other UNTSO observers, claiming that it had been intentional. Israel apologized asserting that UN post had been targeted accidentally.
Hess-von Kruedener observed, in e-mails to MacKenzie, his former commander in the Canadian army: "We have on a daily basis had numerous occasions where our position has come under direct or indirect fire from both artillery and aerial bombing. The closest artillery has landed within two metres of our position and the closest 1,000 [pound] aerial bomb has landed 100 metres from our patrol base.
"This has not been deliberate targeting," Kruedener said, "but has rather been due to tactical necessity."
That last line has been read to imply that Hizbullah fighters used the UN posts as cover from which to launch their rocket attacks and Israel had tried to target them.
Mackenzie noted that the IAF's strikes have resulted in an extremely low number of casualties given the amount of ammunition fired.
"Please don't think I'm being cavalier about life here, I'm not, by any stretch of the imagination, but with the amount of firepower that's gone into Lebanon over the last couple of weeks, the death toll is unbelievably low in accordance with the delivery of that firepower, which means that targets are being selected pretty darn closely," said Mackenzie in his radio interview.
"Beirut is not being flattened, Beirut's not being bombarded, I heard one CNN reporter say this area is being bombarded, we've had six bombs in 20 minutes. Bombardment is six bombs a second, I mean that's what bombardment is, it's using all the resources you have."
When asked about the future of the war and the region, Mackenzie told Canadian radio: "Heaven forbid that the UN would go in, I have no problem at all with a UN resolutionâ€¦
"It has to be an international force, a robust force, and that means mechanized troops, at least 25,000 going in under competent leadership. It could be Turkey, it could be a number of other possible leadership contenders, NATO for example. But, it has to be non-UN with a UN resolution authorizing it, and that's going to take a month plus," said the retired general.