The United Nations Security Council's deliberations on the
US-French draft resolution, begun on Saturday, represent the
organization's first substantive effort to end the conflict between
Israel and Hezbollah. However, hopes that things can be settled
easily must be tempered.
The draft, which represents a compromise between the United
States and France, carries too much dubiety to be accepted by the
Where the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah will head from
here remains in question.
The draft calls for "a cessation of hostilities" based on "the
immediate cessation by Hezbollah of all attacks and the immediate
cessation by Israel of all offensive military operations."
It calls in the longer-term for a buffer zone in southern
Lebanon, which Hezbollah controls and where Israeli troops are now
fighting. Only Lebanese armed forces and UN-mandated international
troops would be allowed in the zone.
Lebanon swiftly rejected the draft because it failed to call for
an immediate Israeli withdrawal from its soil, and has proposed an
Israel, however, warned its offensive would last until the
resolution took effect.
The parties involved in the conflict, including the Lebanese
Government, Hezbollah and Israel, did not have a hand, directly or
indirectly, in mapping out the draft. Whether the solutions in the
draft will be accepted by the dispute's chief actors is the
question that has still not been solved.
The draft makes no explicit mention of the withdrawal of Israeli
troops currently engaged in major incursions into southern Lebanon,
and implicitly allows Israeli offensive operations. About 10,000
Israeli troops are thought to be currently fighting on foreign
The resolution does not offer a timetable for international
troops to enter Lebanon. It sets no deadline for Israel to stop its
air, sea and land embargo on Lebanon. Neither does it respond to
the Lebanese Government's request that Israel immediately hand over
the Chebaa Farms area, seized in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, to UN
One note of the draft says that Israeli prisoners of war should
be released. However, Lebanese prisoners can continue to remain in
Israeli custody with negotiations concerning their freedom promised
"later," under the auspices of the United Nations.
Israeli combat jets struck villages across southern Lebanon,
killing at least eight civilians, hours after the Security Council
began debating the resolution.
Three members of the Chinese contingent serving with the United
Nations Interim Force in Lebanon were lightly wounded on Sunday
when a mortar round from the Hezbollah side struck their
Four weeks of fighting between Israel and Hezbollah has put the
authority of the world organization at stake.
Since the conflict began on July 12, the Security Council has
failed to take any action, except issuing two statements reacting
to Israeli attacks on a UN observer post and a building crowded
with civilians in Qana. The UN has been criticized for its
Though still under discussion, the resolution still marks the
first joint diplomatic effort to end the fighting.
It is expected that the Security Council will vote on the
resolution this week. But it will still take time to bring the
fighting to a halt.
(China Daily August 8, 2006)