Israel to lift blockade of Lebanon

From CNN 

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel will lift its sea and air blockade of Lebanon on Thursday evening, the Israeli government announced Wednesday.

A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said international forces would replace the Israelis at command positions over Lebanese seaports and airports.

Israel imposed the air, land and sea blockade shortly after the 34-day war against the Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah erupted on July 12. U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan has been working to get the blockade lifted since a U.N.-brokered cease-fire went into effect on August 14.

Israel said the blockade was necessary to prevent new arms shipments to Hezbollah guerrillas.

Some 3,250 U.N. forces are now in Lebanon, and U.N. officials expect that figure to reach 5,000 troops by late next week. The U.N. resolution calls for a beefed-up force of up to 15,000 peacekeepers, who will help police the border with Israel with a similar number of Lebanese troops.

In the statement, Israel says it will leave its command posts at various ports at 1800 local Thursday (1500 GMT) and be replaced immediately by international forces. German experts are to arrive at Beirut airport later Wednesday, the statement said.

German naval forces are also expected to arrive within two week to deploy on the Lebanese coast . Until the German troops arrive, Italian, French, British and Greek troops will carry out their task, the statement said.

Somehow I seriously doubt that the UN forces are capable of preventing Hizbollah from getting more rockets, missiles, and other weapons. The end result will be far more bloodshed on both sides of the Israeli Lebanon border… That blood will be squarely on Kofi Annan’s hands since his UN Forces do not have a mandate with the necessary teeth to enforce the resolution.


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