French soldiers in Lebanon who feel threatened by aggressive Israeli overflights are permitted to shoot at IAF fighter jets, a high-ranking French military officer told The Jerusalem Post.
Wednesday, several days after meeting with an IDF general in Paris to discuss what he said was a "blatant violation of the cease-fire."
The second Lebanon war: JPost.com special report Last weekend, Maj.-Gen. Ido Nehushtan, head of the IDF Planning Directorate, traveled to Paris and met with military officials to explain why the IAF flies over Lebanon despite the UN-brokered cease-fire.
Nehushtan, new to his post and previously deputy commander of the air force, told his French counterparts that Israel was conducting the flights to collect intelligence on Hizbullah positions in southern Lebanon.
According to the French officer, Nehushtan apologized for an incident on October 31 when an IAF fighter carried out a mock bombing run over a French UNIFIL position in southern Lebanon, almost prompting troops to fire anti-aircraft missiles.
"There was a reality on the ground and it was important for us to reaffirm what we had seen and explain clearly what are the orders of the French soldiers to protect themselves," the French officer said.
The French told Nehushtan they would view further aggressive flyovers as a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701.
"No assurances were made to us that they [the IAF] would stop [the flights]," the French officer said. "The orders that the [French] soldiers have is that their weapons are for self-defense and if a commander will feel threatened, as it was about to happen on the 31st of October, he would have the right to use force."
Milos Strugar, spokesman for UNIFIL, supported the French position, saying that according to the UN resolution, UNIFIL had the right to use force in self-defense, even against Israeli aircraft.
"UNIFIL has the right to take all necessary action to protect UN personnel in self-defense," he said. France's furor at the overflights was not divorced from French domestic political considerations, government officials in Jerusalem said Wednesday.
France is scheduled to hold the first round of presidential elections in April, and one of those reportedly considering tossing her hat into the ring is Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie. According to these officials, taking a tough stance toward Israel on the issue - a position that grabs headlines in France - helps her raise her profile.
The officials said it didn't hurt Alliot-Marie politically to be seen as someone who needed to be "held back" from responding forcefully to the overflights.
France has said on a few occasions since the end of the war that it came close to firing at Israeli jets over Lebanon. In late October, Alliot-Marie told parliament that Israeli F-15's had dived close to French positions in southern Lebanon.
"Our troops barely avoided a catastrophe," Alliot-Marie told parliament. "Our troops find themselves in a position where they have to fire in legitimate self-defense."
Alliot-Marie is a close ally of French President Jacques Chirac, and if Chirac does not decide to run for a third term, he may back Alliot-Marie to thwart his rival, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy.
The Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, has not - contrary to some press reports - asked the IDF to stop the overflights, diplomatic officials said. Rather, they have passed on to the IDF European concerns that the flights be performed more discreetly, and not in a way that could be interpreted by either the Lebanese or the Europeans as a provocation.
Nehushtan declined to be interviewed for this report and the IDF Spokesman's Office released a statement confirming that the IDF general had visited Paris.
Shit..France is actually about to use force now?? I wonder if they'll actually do it considering thier records..
Opinions of this?
Do they remember how to shoot? Well, I guess they do, as long as it is against anyone who is for their interests.
The IAF has twice fired on German navy forces off the coast of Lebanon in the last two weeks for no apparent reason other then intimidation, or deep seated hatred. I think this is just France trying to diffuse the same situation happening to them before it actually happens.
Meh true..Yeah ive heard about the German Navy vs IAF stand off...was it even resolved?? (as ive said in an older thread..to me and others it sounded similar to the USS Liberty incident..although thankfully with the germans it never materialized)
I wonder if the IAF will continue thier incursions into lebanese space and taunt UNIFIL anymore though..
Makes sense, cease fire states if they feel threatened by IAF planes over their airspace they can use force for self defence. I see no problems, lets just hope they don't actually shoot down a plane.
off topic (kinda): I have some French in me, my last name is a dead give away, and basically I’m a mutt. Guess my ancestors liked to try every ethnic group at least once:naughty: , anywho…I like to kid people that the French and Irish in me are at odds and that I’m passively aggressive towards myself with much to do about nothing.
The point: I know I’m going to offend :rolleyes: someone :rolleyes: in this thread given the nature of it, so before anyone gets their tighty-whities in a bunch, just remember I have a lot of French in my blood. So learn to take a joke or a punch.
-DarthMaul-;3379180Meh true..Yeah ive heard about the German Navy vs IAF stand off...was it even resolved?? (as ive said in an older thread..to me and others it sounded similar to the USS Liberty incident..although thankfully with the germans it never materialized) I wonder if the IAF will continue thier incursions into lebanese space and taunt UNIFIL anymore though..
Some how I think if it came to blows...the French would get their backsides kicked...
From what Ive heard i thought the french have some pretty hardcore special forces units. I'm no expert though. They seem to be the goto guys when the UN needs help enforcing something.
Yeah they do, and the Foerign Legion(they have funny uniforms) :p..Anyhow, Im wondering what kind of anti air equipment thier fielding in Lebanon. MANPADS? Im guessing maybe mostly vehicles..
Bob L. Scrachy;3379207From what Ive heard i thought the french have some pretty hardcore special forces units. I'm no expert though. They seem to be the goto guys when the UN needs help enforcing something.
Probably true... But the UN doesn't have much credibility when it comes to enforcing anything, which is why both the Isrealis and Palestinians heed them (UN forces) no mind.
I didn't make it!
I'd love it if the French tried to shoot down an Israeli aircraft. Just when you think you can't possibly hate the French government anymore, this happens.