Lebanon Presses Its Own Ceasefire Plan; No Vacuum, Bush Says
Jerusalem (CNSNews.com) - Diplomatic efforts to stop the Israel-Hizballah war are proceeding slowly because the parties still have not agreed on the wording of a resolution that might end the military part of the conflict.
Press reports on Tuesday said a vote on a U.N. Security Council resolution is expected later this week -- maybe on Thursday. That means the fighting will continue unabated for at least a few more days.
Lebanon -- backed by the Arab League -- is calling for an immediate ceasefire and the deployment of 15,000 Lebanese Army troops in southern Lebanon.
The plan has the support of Hizballah ministers in the Lebanese government, something that concerns Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the fact that Hizballah ministers support the plan could be "an indication...that Hizballah cannot keep up fighting against Israel..."
The Arab League is scheduled to present Lebanon's plan to the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday, and the presentation will be followed by more diplomatic wrangling.
Israel insists that U.N. resolution 1559 must be implemented. That resolution calls for the deployment of the Lebanese army throughout Lebanon -- as well as the disarmament of all militias -- a reference to Hizballah, which is described as a "state within a state." The Lebanese army, by most accounts, is weak and ineffective.
"The essential element is the deployment of the Lebanese army and removing Hizballah from the area," Olmert said. "This [Lebanese] proposal is an interesting step, which we need to study and examine its implications."
President Bush on Monday said there must be no vacuum into which Hizballah (and its sponsors, Iran and Syria) can move more weapons. "Sometimes the world likes to take the easy route in order to solve a problem," Bush said from his ranch in Crawford, Tex. "Our view is, it's time to address root causes of problems. And to create a vacuum...is unacceptable"
In other developments Tuesday, the Israeli Air Force reportedly hit more than 80 Hizballah targets in Lebanon during the night.
Israel also imposed a curfew on vehicle traffic south of the Litani River in southern Lebanon.
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