Government and security establishment officials estimate that the fighting in Lebanon will end within days, this following the US-French resolution regarding a ceasefire drafted ahead of the UN Security Council meeting on the issue.
Israelis officials have expressed Sunday their satisfaction with the resolution, with some saying it is ‘too good to be accepted by the other side.’
A senior State Department official in Beirut said the resolution undermines Lebanese sovereignty, but added that the country has yet to decide on an official stance.
Despite the resolution, the forum of the seven senior ministers approved Saturday the continuation of the fighting in Lebanon with a focus on the establishment of a security strip six to eight kilometers inside Lebanese territory and the carrying out of special operations to prevent the firing of rockets on Israel.
The US-French proposal’s main guidelines include:
- Immediate and mutual cessation of hostilities
- Unconditional return of kidnapped IDF soldiers to Israel
- Demilitarization of area south of Litani River and an embargo on weapons sales to non-governmental elements in Lebanon
- Deployment of international force in the area
Israel, according to the resolution, will not be forced to withdraw to the Blue Line - the UN-demarcated boundary that Israel withdrew behind in 2000 - until the arrival of the international forces. In addition, Israel will maintain the right to act of “self-defense” inside Lebanon to prevent the firing of rockets; this clause is a bit vague, and there are those who claim that it allows Israel to carry out preemptive strikes on rocket launchers.
The resolution leaves the Shebba Farms sovereignty issue open for future debate. During the war Israeli officials stated that the government would be willing to discuss the matter, but Israel later made it clear that it opposes any change in the disputed area’s status so as not to ‘reward’ Hizbullah.
In the coming days the 15 UN Security Council countries are expected to vote on the draft resolution. It appears that during the initial phase UNIFIL forces in Lebanon will be reinforced. Israel has voiced its objection to the continued deployment of UNIFIL in the region due to what it contends is the peacekeeping force’s inability to contain Hizbullah.