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Saul Singer

Jerusalem, Israel

Saul Singer, a columnist and former editorial page editor at the Jerusalem Post, is co-author of the forthcoming book, Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle. He has also written for the Wall Street Journal, Commentary, Middle East Quarterly, Moment, the New Leader, and bitterlemons.org (an Israeli/Palestinian e-zine). Before moving to Israel in 1994, he served as an adviser in the United States Congress to the House Foreign Affairs and Senate Banking Committees. He is also on Twitter. Close.

Saul Singer

Jerusalem, Israel

Saul Singer is a columnist and former editorial page editor at the Jerusalem Post. more »

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World Community Must Pressure Siniora Harder

Jerusalem, Israel - As Mahmoud Sabit notes, because of the way the UN Security Council Resolution 1701 is constructed the government of Lebanon needs to ask UNIFIL to help it with the two key demands: disarming Hezbollah and preventing its rearmament. But while the UN force takes its cues from Lebanon, Lebanon is taking its cues from Hezbollah itself.

This is obviously not a promising situation for all those desperately hoping that 1701 does not become a dead letter. No international force, no matter how "robust," will be effective if the Lebanese government is basically siding with Hezbollah. This is what must be changed.

The weakness of the Siniora government is leading the international community to lower its expectations and not push too hard. This is exactly the wrong approach, since a weak government will not do what it knows is best for the country, but will simply gravitate toward whichever side is able to pressure it harder.

The job of the international community, therefore, is to pressure the Lebanese government hard enough so that Siniora can say to Hezbollah, "I'd like to help you, but the price we will have to pay is too high." Another critical way to help Siniora is to be tougher on Hezbollah and its sponsors in Damascus and Tehran.

Now is the time for the European Union to announce that it will finally put Hezbullah on its terrorist list, unless the group disarms and becomes a true political party. At the same time, the EU could tell the Lebanese government that if it continues to include an armed, terrorist organization in its government, than Lebanon could be subject to sanctions itself.

The UN should also launch an investigation, modeled on the Mehlis report, implicating Syria in the Hariri assassination and Syria and Iran in support for Hezbollah, violating 1701. Such a report should trigger sanctions on both countries, finally imposing a price on states for brazenly supporting terrorism.

Under this sort of pressure, and with the help of a "robust" international force -- Turkey is reportedly willing to help and could provide serious numbers -- it is possible that Hezbollah could be gradually disarmed, rather than quickly rearmed. If it is the latter, the main loser would not be Israel, which can defend itself and will learn from its mistakes in this war, but Lebanon, which is currently unable and unwilling to do either.

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