View Full Version : Halutz: Deploy Lebanon Army To South Or IDF Will Halt Pullout

08-16-2006, 09:54 AM
Halutz: Deploy Lebanon army to south or IDF will halt pullout


By Gideon Alon and Yoav Stern, Haaretz Correspondents, and The Associated Press

Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Dan Halutz said Wednesday that the IDF would halt its withdrawal from southern Lebanon if the Lebanese army did not deploy in the area within days.

"The withdrawal of the IDF within 10 days is dependent upon the deployment of the Lebanese army," Halutz told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Commitee, according to a spokesman.

"If the Lebanese army does not move down within a number of days to the south... the way I see it, we must stop our withdrawal," Halutz added.

A senior General Staff officer said Wednesday morning that the IDF may be forced to stay in south Lebanon for months until the deployment of an international force.

"The deployment of UNIFIL troops in south Lebanon is likely to take several months. It is not clear exactly how many. Until then, IDF forces will be forced to stay in the field," the senior General Staff officer told the same committee.

The IDF withdrew some of its units from south Lebanon on Tuesday, and a senior UN official said it is technically possible to complete the Israeli withdrawal and Lebanese deployment in a week or two.

UNIFIL chief: Allow us 'strong measures' to enforce truce
The head of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) called Tuesday for the United Nations to enable his force to take "strong measures" in order to enforce UN resolution 1701, which brought about the Monday cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah after more than a month of fighting.

Speaking to Haaretz, Major General Alain Pellegrini urged the Lebanese authorities to take responsibility for the disarmament of Hezbollah in the area close to the Lebanon-Israel border, saying that the responsibility for such a move lies primarily with them.

When asked his soldiers would engage an armed Hezbollah activist, Pellegrini said that it was hard for him to answer.

It was possible, he said, but it would depend on the rules of engagement. He said that he would prefer that the UNIFIL troops had the ability to employ "strong measures" to enforce the UN resolution.

Pellegrini said he expects an advance force, most likely from France, to arrive in the region next week, in order to bolster the current deployment. Within several months, he said, another 15,000 troops would be deployed from a number of countries.

Since its inception in 1978, UNIFIL has been classed as an emergency temporary force. Israel has strongly criticized the force, whose presence has never deterred Hezbollah or Palestinian militant activity in south Lebanon against Israel.