President Obama met today with Lebanese President Sleiman. In his comments, Sleiman said:
We ask President Obama and the United States to exert further pressure on Israel to implement Resolution 1701 and to withdraw from Israeli occupied — Lebanese occupied territories namely from the village of Ghajar, Kfar Shouba, and the Shebaa Farms.
And as President Sleiman said, we discussed the enforcement of 1701. We’ve made progress on this front, but it’s incomplete. President Sleiman emphasized his concerns with respect to Israel. I want to be clear that I emphasized to him our concerns about the extensive arms that are smuggled into Lebanon that potentially serve as a threat to Israel. And it is in the interests I think of all parties concerned to make sure that enforcement is exerted with respect to such smuggling, as well as to any other issues.
So one of the things that I want to make clear is that President Sleiman and I aren’t going to agree on every issue with respect to how Israel, Lebanon, the Palestinians, Syria, are interacting.
Notice Obama merely acknowledges Lebanon’s “concerns”, but makes no indication that he shares these “concerns with respect to Israel” or that he would do anything to pressure Israel to comply with U.N. resolution 1701. Then the only “enforcement” of 1701 he says is in “the interests … of all parties” is with respect to Lebanon‘s obligations under that resolution — not Israel’s. Then, if there was any further doubt about how to interpret, he states explicitly that he disagrees with President Sleiman, an apparent reference to Lebanon’s request that the U.S. pressure Israel to comply with the resolution.
In this case, as in the case of illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, Obama makes clear he won’t act to pressure Israel to comply with international law.