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Condoleezza Rice
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Officials: Ceasefire? Not so fast
Government officials say ceasefire with Hizbullah still far off despite Israel’s satisfaction with US-French draft resolution; ;we are currently speaking of a draft that has not been discussed in the UN Security Council and cannot be implemented yet’ one official says

Government officials said a ceasefire with Hizbullah is still far off despite Israel’s satisfaction with the joint US-French draft resolution on the matter.

 

 

“We are currently speaking of a draft that has not been discussed in the UN Security Council and cannot be implemented yet,” one senior

official said.

 

The government is awaiting the Lebanese response to the draft and for the conclusion of the Security Council meeting. The most burning issue for Israel is that of the make-up of the international force to be deployed in Lebanon and the duration of its mandate; it is no coincidence that this clause does not appear in detail in the proposal.

 

Government officials estimate that discussions of the draft resolution are expected to commence this Monday or Tuesday; only following these discussions and after Israel receives clarifications regarding the international force will Israel decide whether or not to accept the proposal. 

 

Among questions facing Israel are the needed operations by the IDF, which has positioned itself on the 6 – 7 kilometer line from the international border.

 

Thus, for example, it is still unclear whether the force will remain on the ground until the arrival of the replacement multi-national force. It is also unclear how the UN will enforce a ceasefire in Hizbullah, in order to prevent long-range rockets being fired at Israeli population centers.

 

The opposition, which positioned itself alongside the government during the war, has called for a delay of the American-French motion.

 

"The real significance of the decision is the creation of a historic precedence of giving up territory in exchange for returning kidnapped soldier and an obedient recognition by the UN of Hizbullah's right to continue to possess a missile system with which to threaten Israeli citizens," said Yuval Steinitz.

 

His Likud colleague Knesset Member Danny Naveh said that "gaps had to be filled" in the decision, with an aim of obtaining the central goal – the lifting of the Hizbullah threat.

 

Jerusalem is satisfied – despite a number of question marks – with the initial draft for a ceasefire, which was formulated between Washington and Paris.

 

"It is unclear to us when this ceasefire will begin, it is unclear to us whether the draft will be received by all countries involved, including the countries supposed to send a force to southern Lebanon. There is more hidden than shown, and therefore at this stage we don't intend to express our official opinion on the matter," a senior diplomatic source said.

 

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