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Call for permanent Jenin presence
May 3, 2002 6:25 PM   Subscribe

Call for permanent Jenin presence The disbanded United Nations fact-finding mission to Jenin has written to Secretary General Kofi Annan calling for a constant international presence in Palestinian refugee camps. Alas, it was the UN that ran the refugee camp that was known as the bomb factory and home of the suicide bombers. Wouldn't an armed forcez be more effective?
posted by Postroad (23 comments total)

 
(Zounds, Postroad, we're still trying to extinguish the flames and restore some semblance of pleasant interchange over on MetaTalk from the last thread on this topic.)

Perhaps we have someone reading this who has some insight into digging up links on effective policing techniques for peacekeeping forces, and how peacekeeping - peacemaking - peace enforcement - nationbuilding differ from standard civillian policing practices.
posted by sheauga at 6:51 PM on May 3, 2002


The only thing I know of with coherent material to provide a serious answer to Postroad's question is "Preventing Deadly Conflict" from the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflct, and unfortunately it isn't available online. This book pretty well explains the options for assembling international forces for peacekeeping operations or preventing genocide, and should be on the desk of any Secretary of State required to assemble an international intervention force in a hurry. I suspect the techniques it describes for keeping order, the diplomatic mechanisms, and the historical examples of what has happened with UN peacekeeping attempts so far would also be worth consideration by anyone working on a single-country military occupation force. (An update is coming soon, No More Killing Fields: Preventing Deadly Conflict.)

Agreed that the well-intentioned international peaceniks teaching the kids to fold 1000 origami cranes for world peace and nuclear disarmament aren't the whole solution to the problem here, but don't you think this sort of thing might help calm the situation a bit?
posted by sheauga at 7:09 PM on May 3, 2002



"Call for ban on I/P posts"


Oh gee. Another I/P post. Do you think we will solve the problem this time?
posted by lampshade at 7:59 PM on May 3, 2002


Wouldn't an armed forcez be more effective?



And to answer your question: No.

A self governing, free of settlers, Palestinian state would be.
posted by lampshade at 8:05 PM on May 3, 2002


Peripherally relevant.
posted by rushmc at 8:25 PM on May 3, 2002


Massacre? What massacre? Oh you mean, THESE 54 bodies? Don't make me laugh.
posted by timyang at 8:33 PM on May 3, 2002


The UN ran the camp by making schools and hospitals. they weren't there to fight terrorism. be against the palestinian terrorists and murderers all you want, but to imply that the international humanitarian workers there are somehow responsible for terrorism there is just... i don't know, lame.
posted by chaz at 8:37 PM on May 3, 2002


lampshade: do you think we could keep the front-page content of cnn and nytimes off of MF front page? build a script to query your post for keywords that match the google headline page and deny for >2 matches? maybe I should post this on metatalk....
posted by greyscale at 8:47 PM on May 3, 2002


This subject is a force in itself.

Fascinating, captain.
posted by Ty Webb at 9:20 PM on May 3, 2002


maybe I should post this on metatalk....

extensively discussed today
posted by m@L at 9:43 PM on May 3, 2002


and here too
posted by m@L at 9:45 PM on May 3, 2002


Conflict Resolution Training for Military Peacekeepers
- Based on the experiences of Swedish, Irish and Australian peacekeepers. Describes how peacekeeping training differs from standard military training.
White Helmets 101
- Basic info on how the UN trains "white helmets" - local civilian police forces. ("Blue helmets" are UN military peacekeepers.)
Australia’s role within international policing
White Paper on UK Development Assistance for the Security Sector - .pdf file
Transforming Policing in South Africa
Canadian Military Police - If you've dreamed of a career doing arson surveillance in Bosnia, etc., here it is.
Civil Society Support
"On 31 October 1998 governments of West Africa took an historic step—becoming the first in the world to say "enough is enough" and to halt further production, imports and exports of light weapons and small arms for a three year period. "
posted by sheauga at 9:46 PM on May 3, 2002


Sorry about all the posts--mea culpa. But I ran across one hard, fast, and dirty proposal: The Palestinians get the 1967 borders. All settlements disbanded. After that, a Palestinian state. the Catch: for every Israeli killed, Israel takes back 20 square miles of this territory, and gets to keep it permanently.
My new plan: We send in all those who post on this topic and set them between the contending forces to keep the peace. This helps that area and frees up Metafilter from their posts.
posted by Postroad at 3:17 AM on May 4, 2002


for every Israeli killed, Israel takes back 20 square miles of this territory

And for every Palestinian killed, the Palestinians get 20 square miles of Israel.

I like this one, it could be a top-rated game show - the new Survivor, anyone? Sort of like proper war, but for passive-aggressives.
posted by Grangousier at 3:27 AM on May 4, 2002


Oh gee. Another I/P post. Do you think we will solve the problem this time?
No but we got some pretty fine links on and around the topic. I thought that this was part of the point. Isn't it?
posted by talos at 4:13 AM on May 4, 2002


No comprehensive links, but if anyone can dig up stuff on what's been done by the UN in west Africa to bring peace to Sierra Leone, I suspect it'd add something new to the discussion. British specialists, backed up by a regional force from the country's neighbours, and a disarmament programme to attack the militia culture of the region. Would probably work in Somalia, if the effort were made.
posted by riviera at 5:56 AM on May 4, 2002


The UN ran the camp by making schools and hospitals. they weren't there to fight terrorism. be against the palestinian terrorists and murderers all you want, but to imply that the international humanitarian workers there are somehow responsible for terrorism there is just... i don't know, lame.

Chaz, there are plenty of people who have made enormous piles of hay over the ... remember this? ... $43 million in humanitarian aid that the US authorized for Afghan refugees while the Taliban were in power. This has been claimed, beginning with a sloppily-worded story by Robert Scheer and endlessly reposted with even less defensible logic, as "The US supported the Taliban!!!!!!". (I think they usually use more excalamation points.) In fact, the aid was administered through recognized international NGOs and never took the form of cash in the Taliban government's control. Still, the rebuttal came that this humanitarian support allowed the Taliban to spend $43M somewhere else (without any evidence they would have spent it on the refugees in the first place). By that moral standard, not only are all NGOs who delivered aid to Afghanistan prior to the war equally complicit with the Taliban, but the UN is certainly just as responsible for the bomb-makers of Jenin.

The underlying point is that the UN has never taken any interest in curtailing the activities of the suicide bombers, yet they take exceedingly overbearingly moralizing interest in curtailing the activities of the IDF. There have frequently been proposals to place international monitors in the territories to "prevent violence", but anybody with a brain ought to be clear on the fact that those monitors would be there to embarrass the IDF into curtailing its operations, while doing absolutely nothing to curtail the suicide bombers. In other words, a completely one-sided peacekeeping force.

(Don't forget that the blue-helmets in Lebanon stood aside for years while Hezbollah and the PLO attacked Israel's borders, and only filed protests when the IDF crossed their positions. Uh-huh. And Israelis are supposed to trust the UN now?)

timyang, only a fraction of those 54 bodies were civilians. Are you saying it's a massacre even when armed combatants are killed? Just trying to get a sense of where, exactly, your moral outrage stands on its tippy-toes.
posted by dhartung at 9:21 AM on May 4, 2002


Don't forget that the blue-helmets in Lebanon stood aside for years while Hezbollah and the PLO attacked Israel's borders, and only filed protests when the IDF crossed their positions.

"... only filed protests when..."??? dhartung, this is simply untrue. Do your homework. You're smearing peacekeepers by presenting false information. Disgusting.

It seems to have become a sport to smear the UN, especially for people are trying to support Israel's position in rejecting international monitors. The UN deserves to be criticised for many of their actions, corruption and mismanagement, but please check the facts.
posted by igor.boog at 9:58 AM on May 4, 2002


The UNIFIL team was positioned on the Israeli side, they did what they could (which was little)....Where talking the pull-out monitoring after the 82' IDF push yes? They did 'stand-around' in my view. I'm sure they handed out bandages for the press and chicklets to kids but really, what did UNIFIL do, as they seemed to have their arms tied to some olive branch. To me, sitting around and getting shelled and doing nothing but file a report or call Brussels is the epitome of stupidity.
posted by clavdivs at 3:37 PM on May 4, 2002


clavdivs, they were only "on the Israeli side" after the 1982 invasion. Today they are fully within the border of Lebanon, as drawn by the UN, although Hezbollah has decided that the Shebaa Farms are still Lebanese territory and use it as an excuse for continued attacks.

igor.boog, have you forgotten -- or did you know about -- the UNIFIL videotapes showing Hezbollah guerrillas abducting Israeli soldiers, which the United Nations covered up (er, they say, "lost") for most of a year? If this is what "observance" consists of, as far as I'm concerned, the United Nations is acting in concert with, and in support of, Hezbollah. Fuck 'em. UNIFIL may not be representative of all UN actions, but it certainly seems to me representative of UN actions with respect to Israel -- which is to say, not respectful at all. Their purpose is not "prevention of violence", it is, shamefully, "prevention of Israeli violence ONLY".

The kidnapping incident and following stonewalling regarding the video was written up by the Christian Science Monitor, hardly a source of blatantly pro-Israel bias. Even if you believe the UNIFIL acted within its mandate, surely you must acknowledge that Israelis see a history of five decades of UN complicity in Arab violence, even when Israel has withdrawn to recognized borders as with Lebanon.

Or do you have another explanation for the increasing Hezbollah rocket attacks along the border? Flying saucers, perhaps? What purpose does UNIFIL serve, from the point of view of an Israeli citizen? What benefit derives to them?
posted by dhartung at 9:08 PM on May 4, 2002


clavdivs, they were only "on the Israeli side" after the 1982 invasion.

I like to join discussions, but, dhartung, please get your facts right, especially because, judging from your posts, you are quite opinionated. It's difficult to talk to people who base strong opinions on clearly false information.

The UNIFIL Area of Operations (AE) has from the beginning (1978) been on Lebanese territory only. (Their liaison office in Israel isn't there because Israel is part of their AE.) Between 1985 and 2000, only one battallion was inside the part of South Lebanon that was occupied by Israel (first the Norwegians, later the Indians). All the other battallions' AE's were in area's just outside that area: in "free" Lebanon, except for a few square miles where the Irish-batt area overlapped with the Occupied Zone.

A few good books have been written about the Israeli involvement in Lebanon. I guess you don't like Robert Fisk much, but Friedman has written a quite OK book about the subject as well.

igor.boog, have you forgotten -- or did you know about -- the UNIFIL videotapes showing Hezbollah guerrillas ...

I've been reporting extensively from the scene myself, visited the kidnapping spot, stayed there for days to talk to locals, and interviewed all parties concerned.

I share your judgement that UNIFIL hasn't been handling the situation well, but your condemnation is too harsh: you don't take the context into account. First: the statement in your previous post that "... they only file protests when ... " is an untrue, baseless accusation, simply because UNIFIL routinely reports EVERY bullet, rocket, grenade, etcetera flying around the area and ALWAYS files complaints when mandates or agreements are violated at all governments concerned. There even was a monitoring group in which the US, France, Israel, Syria and Lebanon together discussed all complaints and other problems. The context you are missing: UNIFIL is and always has been in a very tense and sensitive position, and they have to maneuver carefully to be able to do any work at all. The videotape story is just one example of UNIFIL's, often successfull but indeed sometimes failed, attempts to keep parties from suspecting them to be cooperating with the other party, and there have been many comparable or even much worse incidents in which the roles were reversed. (Where Israel seriously violated agreements and UNIFIL covered up reports, photographs and forbade soldiers to speak about what they saw.)

The work they did get done? The two most important things. One: preventing escalation in countless tense situations because all parties just know that UNIFIL is monitoring everything (and I mean EVERYTHING, I've been staying in UNIFIL AE's many years for weeks at a time, sometimes together with Nick Blanford, a great guy who wrote the CS Monitor story you linked, and I have seen and see them doing it), and that they can't get away with much because in 95 percent of the cases UNIFIL knows who started what and who reacted. Countless times I've been in situations when everybody feared serious bloodshed, and when Israel and/or Hezbollah stopped firing at the moment the detailed UNIFIL reports came out in the media. Of course, they cannot prevent all escalations, but ask any person who has been working or living in the area: they'll agree that without UNIFIL there would have been many more deaths and wounded on all sides. Two: UNIFIL has been very important for the local civilians, simply because they often provided basic humanitarian assistance like dental care in the Occupied Zone, care for orphans and such.

is to say, not respectful at all. Their purpose is not "prevention of violence", it is, shamefully, "prevention of Israeli violence ONLY".

This is rhetoric. Sorry, I'm not a politician.

mandate, surely you must acknowledge that Israelis see a history of five decades of UN complicity in Arab violence

Yes, I acknowledge that many (not all - read accounts by Israeli "Lebanon veterans", look at the Four Mothers, check B'Tselem) Israelis "see" that. And I understand their feelings. Which doesn't mean that I agree with that vision in general.

Or do you have another explanation for the increasing Hezbollah rocket attacks along the border? Flying saucers, perhaps? What purpose does UNIFIL serve, from the point of view of an Israeli citizen? What benefit derives to them?

I wish it were flying saucers. Might increase chances for peace in the area. Meanwhile I hope you're not blaming UNIFIL for rocket attacks that are carried out by Hezbollah? I already explained the main functions of UNIFIL. Once again: without UNIFIL's monitoring, the situation would probably much worse. It is not for nothing that Hezbollah has often, very often, complained (and still does) that UNIFIL is hampering their "resistance" activities and sometimes even threatens UNIFIL. Something that Israel has been doing as well (complaining and threatening - and carrying out threats).

Cheers.
posted by igor.boog at 12:02 PM on May 5, 2002


Heh. Whither dhartung?
posted by nikzhowz at 3:12 PM on May 5, 2002


while most of igors' comments seem directed at dhart, I'd ring-in that I was rather smug. not condemnation. personally, it takes guts to be...a target. a litely armed reporting station? observers. smuggness at those at the top that control the ROE. It sickens me that a solder cant react when restaints are placed. solders put up with enough crap to be placed in a situation that requires more inaction then action. of course i forget the main purpose, to observe, perhaps facilitate when possible. was there more to your ROE then this? perhaps a bias on my behalf, to an amercan, in a situation like the detriot riots, this is viewed as an internal matter. The thought of U.N on the ground here in any blue helmets is unthinkable.
posted by clavdivs at 3:57 PM on May 5, 2002


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