U.S. Failed to Give Israel All Drafts of UN Resolution Ending Lebanon War

Israel forced to obtain other drafts of resolution ending Lebanon war from alternative intelligence sources.

The U.S. government failed to give Israel all the drafts of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 ending last summer's Lebanon war in real time, so Israel had to obtain some of the documents from other sources, Israeli government sources said.

The sources, however, said senior government officials ultimately did get all the drafts in time, and there were no delays or information gaps that impeded decision-making during the war.

According to some sources, Israel obtained the drafts not supplied by the Americans from intelligence sources.

The United States usually represents Israel's positions in the Security Council, and did so during the war as well. Since France served as Lebanon's proxy, Washington and Paris were the main negotiators on Resolution 1701.

The resolution underwent several drafts, some tilted more toward Israel and others toward Lebanon, and these drafts affected Israeli moves during the war, particularly toward the end. As a result, it was critical for Israel to obtain real-time versions of the drafts. However, American-Israeli coordination on this issue was imperfect.

In particular, the second-to-last draft, which Prime Minister Ehud Olmert received on the morning of August 11, seemed to him much less favorable than the version on which he and Washington had agreed the previous night.

He later said this draft convinced him to launch a major ground operation during the war's final days in an effort to influence the Security Council. During these three days of fighting, 33 soldiers were killed.

Defense sources have accused the Winograd Committee, which is investigating the war, of not subjecting the diplomatic maneuvers to the same scrutiny given to military moves.

In response, Foreign Ministry sources have insisted that the ministry performed all its assignments successfully, that all drafts of the resolution were given to the government in real time, and that Israel's information campaign during the war enjoyed success until the bombing in Qana, which killed more than two dozen Lebanese and turned public opinion against Israel.