The Challenges of Creating Effective Demilitarization

The creation of a new effective security regime in southern Lebanon following the end of hostilities may require not only dismantling Hizbullah, but also solving the problem of Palestinian armed factions in Lebanon

News reports discuss the creation of a demilitarized zone in southern Lebanon, following the end of the current military operations in Lebanon and the possibility of a cease fire between the parties.

It seems that Israel's main purpose in any future security arrangement along its northern border would be to change the current status quo, guarantee the disarmament of Hizbullah and assure some degree of demilitarization of southern Lebanon.

Suggestions raised so far regarding possible security arrangements include the involvement of the Lebanese Army, a UN force similar to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), and/or an international force with a stronger mandate.

The Re'ut Institute forewarns that any arrangement which would include dismantling Hizbullah's control over south Lebanon would necessitate an effective solution to the problem of the armed militias within the Palestinian refugee camps. The issue of Palestinian arms in Lebanon has been at the center of Lebanon national reconciliation discussions and was dealt with in Security Council Resolution 1559 as well.

Currently, Hizbullah has the ability to restrain Palestinian armed factions in Lebanon, such as Fatah, Hamas and Asbat Al-Ansar. It is not clear whether the Lebanese Army in and of itself, or an international force, would have this ability as well.

An effective security regime that is to assure that cease fire across the Israel-Lebanon border is kept would require the dismantling, or at least the constraint, of terror infrastructure within the Palestinian refugee camps.

Sources

  • Sheera Claire Frenkel, The Jerusalem Post, 18/07/06. Full Text.
  • Aluf Benn and Jack Khoury, Haaretz, 18/07/06. Full Text.
  • The Boston Globe, 18/07/06. Full Text.