TEL AVIV (Aug. 1)
Israel has rejected an American request to join a U.N.-sponsored international military force for a possible invasion of Haiti.
Speaking on Army Radio on Monday, Deputy Foreign Minister Yossi Beilin said Israel was willing to send humanitarian assistance to Haiti.
But he ruled out sending members of the Israel Defense Force, saying the climate in the Middle East prevented Israel from taking such a move.
“I don’t think as long as there is not peace in the Middle East we can send military aid,” said Beilin, adding that the United States had asked Israel to provide military, logistical or humanitarian support in case an international force were to invade Haiti.
“We responded to an appeal by the U.S. so that if and when a peacekeeping force is created for Haiti and democracy is restored, we will agree to participate in humanitarian aid to Haiti, with medical, not military, staff,” Beilin said.
Prospects for an invasion of Haiti became more likely this week after the U.N. Security Council voted Sunday to support a U.S.-led international force that will use “all necessary means to facilitate the departure from Haiti of the military leadership” and restore ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to power.
Despite Israel’s refusal to send armed forces to Haiti, the U.S. request marked the first time that Israel has been included in U.N. planning for an international military operation.