Spain, Israel, and the Fight over UNIFIL

[Pajamas Media] Soeren Kern - Reports have surfaced that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu had secretly asked Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi to keep Italy in command of the 13,000-strong UNIFIL force in Lebanon for six months longer than planned, instead of allowing Spain, which has 1,000 troops, to take over. Italian General Claudio Graziano is scheduled to turn the command over to a Spanish general in February 2010. Considering that Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero leads what is arguably the most anti-Israel government in Europe, Netanyahu is probably justified in having some misgivings about a Spanish-led UNIFIL. Zapatero gave the keynote address at an anti-Israel rally during the Lebanon war wearing a Palestinian kaffiyeh, where he demonized Israel for acting "illegally." Europeans are afraid that if they take a hard line against Hizbullah, their troops in Lebanon may be attacked. They are also afraid that Hizbullah (which is said to have operatives in every EU country) may activate sleeper cells to carry out attacks inside Europe. And Europeans are afraid of inciting the thousands of Muslim immigrants throughout "Eurabia." Indeed, the fear of angry Muslims is so pervasive in Europe that in practical terms Islam has already established a de facto veto on European foreign policymaking. After six Spanish peacekeepers were killed in a bomb attack in Lebanon in June 2007, Spanish intelligence agents met secretly with Hizbullah militants, who agreed to provide "escorts" to protect the Spanish UNIFIL patrols. The quid pro quo is that Spanish troops must look the other way as Hizbullah rearms for its next war against Israel. The writer is Senior Analyst for Transatlantic Relations at the Madrid-based Strategic Studies Group.

2009-11-06 06:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive