[Marxism] US-French UN resolution: "a recipe for continuation of the war"

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Sun Aug 6 23:27:35 MDT 2006


Lebanon rejects UN truce proposal which it claims favours Israel 

Oliver Burkeman in New York and Clancy Chassay in Beirut
Monday August 7, 2006


Guardian

Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, piled pressure on Hizbullah
to comply with the proposed UN call for a truce yesterday, reiterating
Washington's insistence that a cessation of hostilities would be the
first step towards a longer-term settlement. "We're trying to deal with
a problem that has been festering and brewing in Lebanon now for years
and years and years," she said. 

But Nabih Berri, the speaker of the Lebanese parliament, rejected the
6,500-word text thrashed out by Washington and Paris. Mr Berri, who has
been negotiating on behalf of Hizbullah, said the draft resolution
legitimised Israel's occupation, adding that it would "open the door to
never-ending war". Philippe Douste-Blazy, France's foreign minister,
said obtaining Lebanese and Arab support for the plan was his
government's priority.

The draft's demand that Israel halt "offensive operations" leaves open
the option of pursuing defensive activities - a definition that could be
interpreted not just as permitting a response to Hizbullah attacks, but
also pre-emptive action. "If we see there are launchers who are going to
fire Katyusha [rockets] at Israel, we have the right to respond," said
the country's justice minister, Haim Ramon, though he broadly welcomed
the UN text.

The resolution was the result of concessions on both sides. If the text
is passed, Paris will have won on the basic structure: a two-part
process, consisting of a halt to violence, followed soon after by a
second resolution to approve an international peacekeeping force. Any
such force would be led by France. But Washington, which has supported
Israel, gained crucial concessions - above all the terminology on
"offensive operations" - and the absence of any mention of troop
withdrawal.

Lebanese diplomats tried to overturn that yesterday, circulating a
proposed amendment calling on Israel to hand over its positions in
Lebanon to the Lebanese armed forces. The amendment would also have
required Israel to withdraw from the disputed Sheba'a Farms area and
hand it to the UN, a key Lebanese demand that goes unmentioned in the
US-French text.

Nouhad Mahmoud, Lebanon's UN ambassador, said his proposals only
represented "what everybody asked for", and that there was "no excuse"
not to accept them. But Israel has repeatedly said it will not withdraw
in the absence of a multinational force to maintain a buffer zone.

Syria and Iran, Hizbullah's main backers in the region, opposed Paris
and Washington's terms for a cessation of hostilities.

In a telephone call with Syria's president, Bashar Assad, Iran's
president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said the US, "which has been supporting
the Zionist regime until today" had "no right to enter the crisis as a
mediator". Syria's foreign minister, Walid Moallem, visiting Lebanon,
said it was "a recipe for the continuation of the war". 

Guardian Unlimited C Guardian Newspapers Limited 2006

 
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