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Israeli Planes Steering Clear of Lebanon

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Israeli Planes Steering Clear of Lebanon: France





Since World War II, Americans have been the world’s true revolutionaries, expanding the frontiers of human liberty by fighting and winning the cold war. But now that we’re fighting the much more complicated war on terror, many observers wonder if our glory days are behind us.


After years of regular Israeli violations of Lebanese airspace, there has been a 48-hour pause in warplanes flying over Lebanon, French Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said on Oct. 20.


The French cabinet minister told a news conference at U.N. headquarters that the Israeli air incursions were "extremely dangerous" and should stop permanently.


The French commander of the U.N. force in southern Lebanon has warned that that peacekeepers may at some point resort to force to prevent the Israeli overflights.


To do so, however, would require the United Nations to rewrite the rules of engagement for its troops, Major-General Alain Pellegrini told reporters.

U.N. officials said no such move was under way.


Alliot-Marie said the French peacekeeping contingent in southern Lebanon, while equipped with anti-aircraft missiles, could use these weapons only in self-defense.


But an Israeli aircraft might mistakenly be seen by U.N. troops as having a hostile intent, possibly triggering "a very serious incident," she said.

In addition, the violations weaken the U.N. resolution underpinning the Aug. 14 cease-fire that ended the 34-day war between Israel and Hizbollah, she said.


The violations "might be used as a pretext for some people to ignore the resolution’s requirements," she said. "That is why it seems necessary for us that these violations stop now."


Commanders in the field had just reported that no Israeli aircraft had flown into Lebanese airspace for the past 48 hours, she said.


The Lebanese government and the U.N. force in southern Lebanon say these flights violate the cease-fire resolution and file daily reports to the United Nations on the incidents.


Israel has said the flights were necessary to help ensure that arms are not smuggled into southern Lebanon from Syria to resupply Hizbollah


Don't forget to check out the latest Harpoon3 scenario with this exact premise! UNIFIL made with the PlayersDB

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