"Implementation of UN Resolution 425"
By: General Michel Aoun

(Translated By: Elias Bejjani)
13 February 1998

To put an end to the massive Israeli "Grapes of Wrath" campaign against Lebanon in April 1996, a Lebanese-Syrian-Israeli understanding was reached under the sponsorship of France and the United States. According to the main clauses of this understanding, Hizbollah agreed to refrain from attacking the state of Israel by shelling or incursion, and Israel in return agreed not to attack Lebanese civilians.

As a result, military operations decreased, were restrained to the security zone area, and restricted only to military targets. Israel safeguarded its internal security with international guarantees, and retained at the same time its right to deter and punish those (Hizbollah and other guerrilla factions) who breach the agreement that was known as the "April Understanding".

From the same international guarantees under the French and American sponsorship, Lebanon was able to obtain minimum commitments that civilians in its southern territories are not going to be displaced as a result of any future military Israeli punitive operation.

The state of Israel is now offering Lebanon the implementation of the UN Resolution 425! Before accepting or rejecting this Israeli offer, it would be wise and rational for the Lebanese government to look thoughtfully into the matter, pinpointing its advantages and disadvantages, and then adopt a stance taking into consideration Lebanon's national interests with no hasty impetuous attitudes or rhetoric. In this context, the people of south Lebanon, as well as other parts of the country, will be fully aware of the grounds on which the government's acceptance or refusal was based.

The implementation of the UN Resolution 425 would certainly bring land and security back to Lebanon. In return, it will relieve the Israeli army from its present duties in the security zone. The implementation would have little political impact, since it does not commit Lebanon to sign any peace treaty with Israel. But Lebanon will be held responsible for security in the south with the help of the United Nations. The core of such a status shall not be different by any means from the impact of the Lebanese-Israeli armistice agreement that was in effect before Lebanon lost its control over the south in the mid-seventies. The only major difference will be the involvement of the United Nations in maintaining security, which is in Lebanon's advantage.

The Implementation of the UN Resolution 425 will give Lebanon back full control over its southern territories. It will also carry with it positive socio-economic payoffs that can help in finding solutions to the many chronic difficulties that the country has been bearing for tens of years. By the same token, these payoffs would not disengage the Syrian-Lebanese track in the Middle East peace process as far as any final comprehensive peace solution is concerned. Nor will it will provide northern Israel with any more security than it already has at the present time.

The Lebanese government that calls for the implementation of the UN resolutions, and suddenly back off from commitments required for the implementation process by hiding behind vague excuses that damage its credibility in its international relationships. Deceiving strategies used currently by the Lebanese government to obstruct the implementation of the UN Resolution 425 will keep south Lebanon's destiny in the hands of the Israelis . They will also make the Lebanese regime fully accountable for all the negative economic results, and for the serious dangers south Lebanon might encounter in the future. Such non-Lebanese, non-national policies do not strengthen the regime's current allegations that Israel is planning to maintain its occupation for the south and its water resources.

The question is: in the context of Lebanese "coordination" with Arab states to regain their rights and land, is it necessary that Lebanon lose its own rights and land?