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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 August 2006, 10:40 GMT 11:40 UK
UN powers rethink Lebanon draft
Israeli soldiers 8 August 2006
Israel is not required to pull out of Lebanon under the current text
French and American diplomats at the UN are starting work on re-drafting their plan to end the Middle East crisis.

An Arab League delegation argued that a resolution should call for an immediate Israeli withdrawal from south Lebanon.

France and the US do not want major changes to their text and diplomats say prospects for an early vote are fading.

Israel's cabinet is meeting to discuss an army plan to push deeper into Lebanon and take control of areas used by Hezbollah to fire rockets.

It is believed that this would involve deploying an additional 30,000 troops, up to the Litani River and possibly beyond.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has refrained from expressing his view about the plan.

Earlier, the Israeli military announced that it was sending one of its most senior generals, Maj-Gen Moshe Kaplinsky, to co-ordinate the offensive.

Israeli media say this is a response to growing criticism of the conduct of the campaign.

Refugee camp hit

Meanwhile Israel's campaign continued, with 120 air strikes overnight and clashes with Hezbollah militants in southern Lebanon, as the militant group continued rocket attacks.

We requested an immediate ceasefire - what has taken so much time is still not an immediate ceasefire
Tarek Mitri
Acting Lebanese Foreign Minister

At least six people were killed when a two-storey building in the town of Mashghara in the eastern Bekaa Valley was hit and collapsed on top of them.

Medical sources told Reuters news agency a local Hezbollah official lived there.

In other developments:

  • Israel struck Lebanon's largest Palestinian refugee camp, Ein al-Hilweh, near the port city of Sidon, killing two people. The Israeli army said it was targeting a house there belonging to a Hezbollah member
  • The death toll from an Israeli air strike on a residential building in southern Beirut on Monday went up to 41 after more bodies were found in the rubble
  • International Committee for the Red Cross chief Jacob Kellenberger was forced to take refuge in an air-raid shelter during a Hezbollah rocket attack soon after crossing the border from Lebanon to Israel
  • Al-Arabiya TV reported that four Israeli soldiers had been killed in a rocket attack in southern Lebanon. There is no confirmation from Israeli sources
  • At least five Hezbollah rockets landed in a border area of the West Bank. No-one was hurt


Diplomatic efforts are continuing, with US Assistant Secretary of State David Welch holding talks with Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora. No details have been released of the meeting.

The Arab League's representations to the UN Security Council come after Lebanon said it found aspects of the draft resolution unacceptable.


As well as the demand for an Israeli pullout to be included, there is also dispute over wording which currently demands that Hezbollah ends all attacks and Israel only ends "offensive" military operations.

"It is most saddening that the council stands idly by, crippled, unable to stop the bloodbath which has become the bitter daily lot of the defenceless Lebanese people," the delegation head, Qatar's Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabr al-Thani, told the meeting.

Lebanon, which has put forward its own seven-point proposal for peace, said the current resolution was flawed.

"Regrettably, the draft resolution not only falls short of meeting many of our legitimate requests, but it also may not bring about the results that the international community hopes it would achieve," acting Foreign Minister Tarek Mitri told the council.

UN resolutions are not for the dispossessed - they are written by the wielders of power for their own purposes
Mohsin Meghji, London

"We requested an immediate ceasefire. What has taken so much time is still not an immediate ceasefire."

French President Jacques Chirac backed the call.

"Our objective is to achieve cessation of hostilities so that ... the thousands of deaths, suffering and destruction should be put to an end. This is our absolute priority," he said.

Veto-wielding Russia earlier said it would not vote for any resolution which did not have the backing of Lebanon.

The BBC diplomatic correspondent says the UN is likely to offer some new language to bolster Lebanon's government and push on towards a vote in the next few days.

The decision came a day after Israel imposed an open-ended curfew on all residents south of the Litani River.

Nearly 1,000 people, most of them civilians, have been killed in the conflict, the Lebanese government has said. More than 100 Israelis, most of them soldiers, have also been killed.

Members of the Arab delegation arrive at the UN

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