France wants piece of Gaza action

Sunday, May 04, 2008 |  by Staff Writer

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon last Thursday told a group of American Jewish leaders that France is interested in being the first nation to participate in an international peacekeeping force in the Gaza Strip.

The Jerusalem Post reported that both Israel and the Palestinian Authority have embraced the idea of a European-led force in Gaza, but the territory's Hamas rulers have rejected the proposal and even threatened to treat such a force as a hostile invader.

Israeli military officials have in the past expressed deep reservations over the idea of international peacekeepers in Gaza, noting that similar forces deployed in Hebron and southern Lebanon have for decades failed miserably to prevent violence.

Such has been the history of UN peacekeeping efforts in the Israeli-Arab conflict, the greatest failure coming in 1967 when a large international force stationed in the Sinai Peninsula promptly obeyed Cairo's order to evacuate, rather than prevent Egypt's threatening deployment along Israel's southern border.

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