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Sunday, August 06, 2006

Lebanon rejects UN ceasefire draft

AFP is reporting that Lebanon has already rejected the UN cease fire draft:
Lebanon rejects a draft UN Security Council resolution which aims to brings about a ceasefire with Israel, and wants the text to be amended, a government source told AFP on Saturday.

"The Lebanese government is opposed to the Franco-American draft and has sent Lebanon's representative to the UN, Acting Foreign Minister Tarek Mitri, an amended text which includes Lebanon's demands," the source said.
Blogger From Beirut to the Beltway has more details:

In an interview with LBC, Mitri said the Lebanese side is trying to introduce a few changes to the resolution to ensure it's not just "ink on paper", i.e. useless.

According to Mitri, the Lebanese government wants the resolution to:
* Call for an immediate withdrawal of Israeli troops and return of the refugees
* Place the Shebaa farms under UN control
* Stronger language on the issue of Lebanese prisoners in Israel
The resolution currently "reiterates support for the full respect of the Blue line" by both parties and the "territorial integrity of Lebanon" but does not explicitly call on Israel to withdraw its troops, which could be used by Hizbullah as a pretext to continue its attacks.

The United States reportedly wants "a halt to hostilities for a week during which the creation of an international force would be discussed while the Israeli army maintained its positions on the ground." This position was communicated to the Lebanese government by David Welch earlier today.

Another potential pretext the Lebanese government wants to see addressed in the resolution is the issue of the Shebaa farms. The draft resolution calls for the "delineation of the international borders of Lebanon, especially in those areas where the border is disputed or uncertain, including in the Shebaa farms area". The Lebanese government probably feels that it's been down that road before, and efforts to delineate that area have been sabotaged by the Assad regime and were addressed in resolution 1680, which was never implemented.

The third issue is that of the Lebanese prisoners. The minister said the language is too timid on this issue and wants Israel to agree to an exchange.

Hizbullah has already rejected any resolution not calling for an Israeli withdrawal. (LBC)
A few comments:

1. Israel won't agree to a resolution that calls for an immediate withdrawal of Israeli troops. Not without a peacekeeping force in place.

2. The Shaba Farms are a non-issue that was invented by Hezbullah as an excuse for continuing their terror activities after 2000. It's a pity to see the Lebanese government trying to turn them into a real issue. The UN says they belong to Syria, and Israel is not going to negotiate with Syria right now. If the Syrians sign a waiver - which it refuses to do (and this blogger at least recognizes that Assad has sabotaged any attempts to resolve the issue in Lebanon's favor) - there might be something to discuss. But Israel liberated Shaba Farms from Syria in 1967. Lebanon was not a part of that war.

3. On the issue of Lebanese prisoners in Israel, there are a grand total of four. I don't know about the other three, but Samir al-Kuntar just isn't coming out in exchange for anyone or anything. And while we're at, what happened to Zecharia Baumel and Yehuda Katz (Israelis missing since the battle of Sultan Yaqub in 1982). But the last thing the Israeli government can afford to do is to do another prisoner exchange like the Elhanan Tannenbaum exchange.

4. The US position described above - a one-week halt to fighting with the IDF maintaining its position while an international peacekeeping force is negotiated - is probably the most the Israelis will agree to.

5. As to Hezbullah, given the destruction they have brought down on Lebanon, it amazes me to see Lebanese who still find them worthy of being heard.


At 7:02 AM, Blogger Guy Spier said...

"As to Hezbullah, given the destruction they have brought down on Lebanon, it amazes me to see Lebanese who still find them worthy of being heard."

They don't - its just that they don't have a chance - they're being held hostage by hezbollah - and can't speak freely.

At 7:43 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


I noticed Chapter VII. But it doesn't kick in until the second phase, and at the moment, I don't think the first phase is going to happen. I didn't read Glick's Friday column yet (I assume that's what you're referring to).

Guy Spier,

I don't think Lahoud or Aoun or Berri are being held hostage. And I don't think they oppose Hezbullah.


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