Thursday, November 09, 2006

France Says
They Were
Seconds Away
From Firing
On Israeli Jets

"Zis is true, we were just seconds away from surrendering."

Laugh out loud. Can you imagine what would have happened if they had?

PARIS (Reuters) - French peacekeeping troops in Lebanon recently came within two seconds of firing missiles at Israeli fighter jets that approached as if to attack them, French Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said.

Speaking to the lower house of parliament on Wednesday night, she said it was the latest in a string of incidents in which Israeli warplanes had "adopted a hostile attitude" to French and German forces and added it was "not tolerable".

"A catastrophe was narrowly avoided by our troops," Alliot-Marie said, according to a transcript of her comments. A foreign ministry spokesman said the events occurred on October 31.

Israeli F-15s descended rapidly and then rose quickly as if they were dropping bombs or firing at the French ground forces, which are part of U.N. peacekeeping force UNIFIL, she said.

"In legitimate defense, our soldiers removed the covers from the missile battery and were two seconds away from firing at the planes that were threatening them," she said.

Israeli jets have often flown over Lebanon since a 34-day war with Hezbollah guerrillas ended on August 14.

Israeli ambassador Daniel Shek said the flights were reconnaissance operations designed to counter Hezbollah efforts to rearm and re-establish itself in southern Lebanon and he denied the jets had deliberately targeted French troops.

Question, hasn't France been just seconds away from firing on every one of their enemies for the past 70 or so years?

But seriously folks, Israel has to fun these reconannaissance missions because France, who brokered the peace agreement calling for French and Lebanese troops to act as peacekeepers and to disarm Hizbollah, has made it clear that they will not, in fact, disarm Hizbollah.

Additionally, the French-led UN peacekeeping troops have admitted that they are afraid to actually do their job during the nightime:

Hizbullah terrorists are free to roam at night without fear of being identified by the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), according to a report by the German paper Der Spiegel.

Spanish UNIFIL official Richard Ortax admitted to the paper that no patrols are carried out at night “because of the danger involved.” UNIFIL commanders said their function is to “observe changes in the behavior of the local population.”

One junior officer told Der Spiegel he was glad that his battalion had only left its camp once. “It’s absurd,” he said. “We landed here and set up our tent city, but since then we’ve only left the camp to drive around and to make sure that we’re seen.”

The report cites a long tradition of UNIFIL inaction, which it says allowed time for a Finnish contingent to construct a giant sauna and an Indian contingent to decorate its base with traditional Indian artwork.

UPDATE: While we're bashing the French, this is laugh out loud funny.