The Region: The nightmare of international guarantees

History has taught us that on security matters we can only trust ourselves.

Israel is constantly urged to put its trust in the international community – an idea that hasn’t worked out too well in the past. Now the UN special envoy for Lebanon has given another reason Israel shouldn’t take risks based on the hope of support from international guarantees.
While he did about the best he could given his situation, Michael Williams, the British diplomat who holds this job, has said the UN-sponsored cease-fire that ended the Hezbollah-Israel war in 2006 is holding up “very well.”
Technically, this is quite true. There hasn’t been a new war or cross-border attacks. But that’s merely because Hezbollah has been too busy taking over Lebanon and preparing for the next war. As Williams admits, arms have flowed to Hezbollah – from Syria, though he doesn’t say that. He only says that Lebanon’s borders are “porous” – a wonderful diplomatic euphemism for state-sponsored arms smuggling.
The Gaza Strip’s borders with Egypt, by the way, have recently become ‘porous’ in the same way.
Hezbollah has also moved back into southern Lebanon – something the UN was supposed to prevent – and has rebuilt its system of tunnels and military strongholds. In five years, the UN force has never interfered with such Hezbollah activities – not once.
NOW IMAGINE, if you will, how UN and international guarantees would work with a Palestinian state.
Would the General Assembly vote to condemn Palestine for breaking its commitments? Would any foreign force that was there as part of a peace deal ever act to stop weapons or terrorists from crossing the border into Palestine? Would they fight to stop terrorists from crossing the border from Palestine into Israel? Of course not. Yet that point is not taken into account by any Western government, academic study or mass media. But it is taken into account by Israel.
Otherwise we will someday read about the UN special envoy for Israel-Palestine peacekeeping talking about how well things are going while as incitement, terrorism and violations of the agreement take place daily.
But here’s an example of what can be expected: When you arrive at the Palestine in the Eyes of the Children of Martyrs (Shahids) Summer Camp, you are assigned to one of four groups, as Palestinian Media Watch reports, translating the story from a PA-connected newspaper – a Dalal Mughrabi group (In 1978 she led the most lethal terror attack in Israel’s history, in which 37 civilians were killed, 12 of them children).
A Salah Khalaf (Abu Iyad) group (He was the head of the Black September terror group. He planned many terror attacks, including the murder of two American diplomats in Sudan, as well as the murder of 11 Israeli athletes in the 1972 Munich Olympics.) An Abu Ali Mustafa group: (General secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, he planned numerous terror attacks against Israeli civilians.) A Yasser Arafat group (He was the boss of all of the others.) This was not done by Hamas, but by the Palestinian Authority, and not just by the PA, but under the sponsorship of everyone’s favorite Palestinian moderate, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who visited the camp to participate in the closing ceremonies, which he also sponsored.
NOW, DO keep in mind that the PA could easily name these groups after, say, Palestinian doctors and educators, or even politicians who weren’t directly involved in anti-civilian terrorism. Arafat is a name much used (though he was a disaster for the Palestinians, as even many PA people admit privately), but Mughrabi has become Fatah’s iconic terrorist and hero. The real message being sent to Palestinians is not, “We can get an independent state and raise living standards,” but rather, “We can kill more Israelis than Hamas can.”
Good news, though. If the PA is admitted to the UN as a member, it can join UNICEF and receive UN money for sending kids to summer camp.
The writer is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center (

He is also a featured columnist at PJM ( and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal.