International Involvement in Lebanon: a Leverage in Gaza and the West Bank?

Current support for Israel's actions in Lebanon can be an opportunity to demand the enforcement of international standards in Lebanon, and to create a momentum of international legitimacy to be exploited in the Gaza Strip

According to Israeli analysts, Israel is now enjoying unprecedented international support for its current decision to strike Hizbullah, after being attacked on its sovereign territory.

Israel has relied upon strong US backing for its actions, and with an increasingly divided Arab world, with countries such as Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia openly criticizing Hizbullah. (See: Cites: International Responses to Events in Lebanon and Gaza)

On the other hand, PA President Mahmoud Abbas has also been trying to mobilize the international community, and asking for more direct regional and international involvement.

He asked the international community to enforce a ceasefire in the Palestinian territories and Lebanon, and asked the Arab world to "draw a unified strategy for recovering our land and prisoners and the creation of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital."

The government hopes that international support for the current operations in Lebanon will have a positive spillover effect in Gaza. The enforcement of international standards in Lebanon, including the full implementation of UN resolution 1559, might create a momentum of international legitimacy that could be used as leverage in the Gaza Strip.

The Reut Institute contends that the patterns of international involvement in Lebanon, and any model of international intervention reached within the curent crisis may serve as a precedent for future international involvement in the Palestinain arena.

However, there are substantial differences between Lebanon and Gaza.

  • While in the Lebanese case Israel was attacked across an internationally recognized border, in the Gaza Strip Israel is still considered a belligerent occupier by the international community.
  • While Israel's actions in Lebanon are explicitly directed against Hizbullah targets and not against the Lebanese government, with regards to its activities in Gaza and the West Bank, many international actors have criticized what they see as Israel's attempt to overthrow a democratically elected government.

These differences should be taken into account in any attempt to formulate a model for international intervention in Lebanon and in the Palestinian territories.

Sources

  • Anne Barnard, The Boston Globe, 19/07/06. Full Text.
  • Khaled Abu Toameh, The Jerusalem Post, 19/07/06. Full Text.