Weighing Foreign Forces: Sea Change for Israel

JERUSALEM, July 23 For decades, Arab, particularly Palestinian, leaders have sought international intervention in their conflicts with Israel, while Israeli leaders spurned foreign forces as unreliable and likely to be biased against Israeli interests.

Now, in a sudden turnabout, Israel is embracing the possibility of an aggressive international force on its northern border with Lebanon to bolster its security in its struggle with Hezbollah.

‘In a way, we’re playing an old Palestine Liberation Organization game,’ said Michael Oren of the center-right Shalem Center, a research institute in Jerusalem,’to precipitate regional instability and then try to bring in international intervention. We fought against it in the past, but Israel now realizes it can’t do things alone. And Israel feels here it has a friend in America and some greater understanding in Europe.’

There are a number of reasons for the shift, he and other regional analysts say. Israel realizes that Hezbollah’s rocket attacks cannot be stopped over the long term without troops on the ground confronting guerrillas. Israel, with no desire to reoccupy Lebanon, no longer wants those troops to be Israeli and believes a large, multinational force, working with the Lebanese Army, will have a greater chance of curbing Hezbollah.

What a bunch of swill.

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