Israeli online daily Haaretz quoted Meretz member of Knesset Ran Cohen
stating that Israeli Army Chief of Staff, Dan Halutz, said on Tuesday
that the Israeli soldiers will pull out from Lebanon by the Jewish New
Year Holiday that begins on Friday evening.
Cohen Halutz told him after addressing the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that all troops in southern Lebanon would return to Israel by the start of the holiday.
Cohen added that Halutz told him that “If everything goes well, soldiers will be out of Lebanon by then”.
In a related event, the German Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said on Tuesday that her urged lawmakers to support plans that aim at providing the UN peacekeeping force with warships, and stressed on the importance of a wider Middle East peace process.
Thursday, September 7, Steinmeier concluded a surprise visit to Lebanon and German border police will be positioned at Beirut international airport to help the Lebanese security forces.
He also thanked UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan and his team for securing the lifting of the Israeli air and sea blockade on Lebanon.
Moreover, Germany offered to send 2400 soldiers and to lead a multinational force that would monitor the Lebanese coast in order to prevent arms smuggling to Hezbollah.
Also, German leaders vowed that Germany would push for a broader peace process in the Middle East when Berlin starts the six-month presidency of the European Union that starts in January.
Steinmeier also stated that the Quartet committee (the United Nations, the United States, the EU and Russia) has that has vowed to guide and revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
He added that peace talks should not only address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, “the talks should also address the regional conflicts with Lebanon and Syria.
Steinmeier also stated that a Middle East peace conference is needed “to settle open questions”, but first a “climate of good will, and trust should be created”.