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Elusive Peace

Since Dr. Boutros-Ghali became Secretary-General of the United Nations at the beginning of 1992 he has injected a new dynamism into the Organization. Radical adnnnistrative changes were made at the New York headquarters in an attempt to re-shape what had become a cumbrous and inefficient bureaucracy. His leadership style has been confidently aggressive, with emnhasis on the need to exnand the United Nations neace-keepin~ mandate.

Under Boutros-Ghali United Nations peace-keeping forces have been developed in Cambodia (18,900), the Balkans (22,063), Somalia (650) and Mozambique (7,500). The Secretary-General has been firm in urging member states to make up arrears in their contributions to the United Nations budget. He advocates the formation of multi-national forces under United Nations control and available at short notice. "I need to be able to send a United Nations peacekeeping force within three days, not wait for three months of negotiations before responding", he is reported as saying.

Yet experience confnms that the United Nations simply cannot operate in a place where there is no political will for peace. This has been tragically illustrated in the Balkans since the break-up of Yugoslavi~ Numerous cease-fires have been arranged and United Nations peace-keeping observers have been sent in: but time and

again fresh fighting has broken out between various factions.

In some instances the United Nations Security Council has approved the use of armed forces to ensure that its resolutions were carried out. Somalia was a case in point. Distribution of aid had become impossible because the country was torn apart by rival war lords, who fought one another and seized food supplies intended for the relief of a starving populace. United States marines mounted Operation Restore Hope, gained control of key towns, disarmed many of the warring factions, and ensured safe passage for supplies to reach the worst famine stricken areas.

The problem inevitably emerged that armed forces were available to see that United Nations resolutions were enforced in some contexts, but elsewhere its resolutions were flouted with impunity. This criticism was bitterly emphasized in regard to the 413 Palestinians who had been deported from

Israel because accused of belonging to the fundamentalist Hamas and Islamic Jihad group which had carried out terrorist attacks in Israel. Forcibly expelled from Israel the 413 Palestinians were refused entry to Lebanon, and confined to a no-man 5 land between the Israeli and Lebanese borders.

Among the deportees was a history professor from the University of Hebron. "A United Nations resolution says we should be allowed to return home", he remarked. "But the West uses a double standard: if fraq or Libya disobeys the United Nations, they are punished. Only Israel is not held accountable". Some of the deportees felt that their exile would work to the advantage of the Palestinian cause. As one of them put it: "The Israelis helped us a lot by doing this... (they) created great sympathy for us, not only among Palestinians, but in the whole Islamic world".

It is not difficult to see that pressures such as these will have their influence on United Nations policy towards Israel. Resolutions requiring Israel to withdraw from the "occupied territories" have not been complied with for over twenty five years. Until now it has not been in the interests of the United States and her western

allies to take severe action in support of the resolutions. The time may not be far distant when inconsistencies between dealings with Israel and dealings with others who resist United Nations resolutions will have to be addressed if the Organization is to retain its credibility. Scripture predicts Israel's international isolation, with concerted ,niilitary action against her, at the time of the end (Zech. 12:3). Present trends may well be leading towards that final crisis.

Apart from Israel's situation, how tragically peace eludes the nations! Strenuous efforts are being made by many well motivated people to promote international understanding and peace. Yet it is true that as in Jeremiab's day there are many who say "Peace, peace; when there is no peace" (Jer. 6:14). Tbe deep longing for peace in the hearts of a great majority of mankind is continually frustrated because this world has rejected the Prince of peace. Only through His advent will abiding peace be brought about, when "He shall judge between the nations and shall reprove many peoples: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more" (Is. 2:4).