Jerusalem – Although the Israeli security establishment is disturbed by the threatening voices that are being heard in France, security sources said Wednesday: “We will continue to fly over the skies of Lebanon.” Security establishment officials also added that Israel Defense Force troops that are fired upon and that are in danger are permitted to return fire and destroy the source of the threat. However, it is not clear how the Air Force aircraft will respond in a case where U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) troops attempt to launch anti-aircraft rockets at them.

The statements refer to a threat by French Minister of Defense Michelle Aliot-Marie. Last Tuesday, the French defense minister said during a conference of the United Nations at the U.N. headquarters in New York that “the violations of the cease-fire by the Israeli Air Force are very dangerous and must stop for the good of the interests of all sides – the coalition forces in Lebanon can return fire.” In the veiled threat against the aircraft of the Israeli Air Force, she added, “The violations of sovereign airspace are very dangerous. They are dangerous, first of all, because they can be seen as hostile by the coalition forces, which can respond as part of their right to defend themselves.”

Marie’s statements were made recently, after the commanding officer of the UNIFIL force, French General Alain Pellegrini, threatened that, according to his troops’ rules of engagement, they may return fire at aircraft of the Israeli Air Force that violate the sovereignty of Lebanon’s airspace.

In response, Israeli security sources said: “The flights under discussion are intended for photography for intelligence purposes. As long as U.N. Resolution 1701 is not fully implemented and while Syria and Iran continue to arm Hezbollah, as happened just in the past several days, it is obvious that we have no intention to stop flying.”

Regarding the possibility that the anti-aircraft troops of the U.N. would open fire at Air Force aircraft, security officials believe that it is “difficult to see a situation in which French troops fire on us, but in any case, in the current situation the cessation of flights is completely out of the question.”

Israeli political sources in Israel also mentioned the French threat over the weekend, saying: “When Resolution 1701 is fully carried out, meaning after arms smuggling is stopped, after Hezbollah is disarmed and the kidnapped soldiers return to Israel, the Air Force flights in Lebanese airspace will stop as well.”

©The Bulletin 2006


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David Bedein
David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.