Sanction Lebanon for illegal arms

Sanction Lebanon for illegal arms

Which is more illegal: Israeli settlements in the West Bank or 500 tons of weaponry bound for Hezbollah?
The world community is faced with that question since the Israeli navy seized contraband weaponry — rockets, missiles, etc. — on Nov. 3 from an Antigua-flagged cargo ship en route to Lebanon.
Why should you care? We’re coming to that.
According to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, the weapons found aboard the ship originated in Iran — another indication that the Islamic republic is out to destabilize the region and, eventually, the world.
Make no mistake, the shipment of these weapons to Hezbollah, a terrorist organization by most mainstream standards, is illegal under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, which clearly states there are to be “no sales or supply of arms and related material to Lebanon except as authorized by its government.”
Compare that with U.N. Resolution 242, the one that supposedly makes illegal the Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Actually, that resolution calls for “withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.”
It says “territories,” not “all territories” — the implication being that the final status of these lands is to be worked out through negotiation. So how then can the settlements be illegal if their status has not yet been settled at the peace talks?
But 242 goes a step further. It also calls for “termination of all claims (emphasis ours) or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.”
One could — and should — interpret this line to mean the Palestinians must drop all claims to a right of return to the Jewish state. They continue to insist upon it.
Why are we getting so legal on you? We’re dismayed that last week’s interdiction of weapons — a blatant violation of international law — hasn’t caused much of a stir among world leaders. Even though Israeli leaders permitted foreign diplomats and military attaches to see the weapons’ containers and the means used to camouflage them, we’ve heard very little in the way of condemnation.
Where’s Richard Goldstone when you need him?
Seriously, the Obama administration should use its muscle at the U.N. Security Council to push for enforcement of 1701, if for no other reason than as an act of good faith to the Israelis.
How can 1701 be enforced if Hezbollah is not a member of the United Nations? Direct the enforcement measures at the Lebanese government, of which Hezbollah is a member.
Those enforcement measures should take the form of harsh economic sanctions, and they should stay in force until Lebanon permits weapons inspectors into the country to confirm if Hezbollah is arming in defiance of a U.N. directive.
Those inspectors should have broad authority to search, even in private dwellings. Since Israeli intelligence confirms that Hezbollah uses homes as storage areas, there’s probable cause for such a search, at least under U.S. law.
That’s as much as we would do in the case of Iran, and did do in the case of Iraq. We should do no less here.
That’s what would happen in a perfectly fair world. Don’t hold your breath waiting for the U.N. to do it, but the argument should at least be made.