The U.S. and France have apparently agreed on a resolution that could end the fighting. And I certainly stress “could.”
The U.S. and France agreed on a proposed United Nations Security Council resolution designed to end the fighting between Israel and the militant Islamic group Hezbollah in Lebanon. Lebanon and Qatar voiced reservations.
The resolution calls for a “full cessation of hostilities,” including the “immediate” end of all Hezbollah attacks and “all offensive military operations” by Israel, according to a copy provided by the French mission to the UN. Hezbollah is classified as a terrorist organization by Israel and the U.S.
U.S. President George W. Bush is “happy” with the agreement and “signed off on it,” White House press secretary Tony Snow told reporters in Crawford, Texas, today. Jean-Marc de la Sabliere, the French envoy to the UN, called the draft a “unique opportunity for the people of Lebanon and Israel” during a press conference in New York.
This particular resolution calls for the release of the two Israeli soldiers held by Hezbollah, and what Bloomberg describes as “progress on resolving the fate of Lebanese prisoners held in Israel.” I’ll translate that to mean, “If you give us our guys, we’ll think about giving you back some of your guys…maybe…probably not.” However, I imagine that Lebanon will be fine with this so long as they don’t get bombed to kingdom come by Israel.
One question lingers though…what about Israel’s responsibility to leave Lebanon?
Praise was not unanimous. The ambassador for Qatar, the Security Council’s only Muslim member, said his country required further negotiations on some elements of the draft.
“Today we call for a cessation of hostility, and what after that?” Nassir al-Nasser said. “The Israeli forces are on the territory of Lebanon. They should go back beyond the Blue Line,” he said, referring to the Israel-Lebanon border.
So this seems to be a sticking point, and one I don’t think Israel can avoid. Either they leave Lebanon or the subsequent outcry is just going to make this latest resolution null and void.
Still, is this World War III? Hardly.
More from the Guardian.