An attempt to draft a revised UN Resolution of the Lebanon/Israeli conflict failed yesterday, when the United States refused to consider France’s revisions to the original draft.
The crux of the disagreement stems from a demand on the part of France, rejected by the US and Israel, that a ceasefire be implemented immediately, followed by the implementation of the Lebanese government’s plan to deploy 15,000 soldiers in southern .
French President Jacques Chirac was blunt in expressing his disappointment, saying that "the opposition to a cease-fire is immoral."
France had made it clear to the US on Wednesday that unless a new version of the draft proposal was reached that included the revisions it wanted, it would initiate a new resolution of its own.
The Americans and Israelis are adamant that a resolution must demand that Hezbollah is kept from "reinfiltrating" South Lebanon. They insist that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization and thus it sees Hezbollah as an ”infiltrator" of South Lebanon.
It is clear from the words of Prime Minister Siniora, however, that his government sees Hezbollah as a force resisting the destruction of the country and its people. Hezbollah is a Lebanese organization, more fully integrated into Lebanese society than ever. For example, two Hezbollah members have been elected to the Lebanese parliament.
Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, in a letter published Wednesday in the Washington Post, called on the UN to end the fighting in his country, which he implicitly blamed on Israel without mentioning its enemy, Hezbollah. He pleaded with the UN to impose a ceasefire.
After listing the death and destruction wreaked by Israel over the past four weeks in his country, estimating it in the billions of dollars, he demanded "an international inquiry into Israel’s criminal actions … and insist that Israel pay compensation for its wanton destruction."
Siniora added that the Lebanese people "will remain steadfast and united in the face of this latest Israeli aggression …" "The people’s will to resist grows ever stronger with each village demolished and each massacre committed," he added.
Lebanon also wants the resolution to include a commitment to release Lebanese and Israeli prisoners and an agreement to put the disputed Chebaa Farms area on the Lebanon-Syria-Israel border under U.N. jurisdiction.
A political solution, however, was unattainable, he added, "as long as Israel continues to occupy Arab land in Lebanon, Gaza, the West Bank and the Syrian Golan Heights and as long as it wages war on innocent people in Lebanon and Palestine."
The leader of Hezbolla, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, says his movement backs the Lebanese army’s deployment to the south but that Washington is trying to impose Israeli demands on Lebanon through a UN resolution. He described the draft resolution as unfair and unjust and that it gave Israel everything it wanted and even more, as though they were the victors in a war.