L-R) Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Transportation Shaul Mofaz, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, an unidentified official and Vice Premier Shimon Peres. Israel will negotiate for the release of two soldiers whose capture by Hezbollah militants on July 12 sparked the Israeli offensive in Lebanon, Livni said.
The Israeli cabinet approved the UN cease-fire deal after a stormy debate on Sunday, clearing a key hurdle to ending the monthlong Mideast war, the government said.
The 24-0 vote, with one abstention, came a day after the Lebanese government approved the agreement, and Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah gave his grudging consent. The truce was to take effect on Monday morning, but the potential for new flareups remained high.
Former Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz abstained in the vote, said a senior government official.
But, will the cease-fire take effect? Or go forward?
Captain Ed of Captain’s Quarters is reporting that the Lebanon government is about to fall and the Cabinet meeting of Siniora’s government has been abruptly cancelled.
Lebanon’s cabinet was supposed to vote on a plan to deploy 15,000 Lebanon troops to displace Hezbollah. These troops along with 15,000 troops from the United Nations are to comprise the international force charged with enforcing the United Nations’ resolution.
If Lebanon does not fulfill its obligations under the cease-fire, then there is no cease-fire and Israel will have no choice but to proceed with the invasion of southern Lebanon.
Lebanese Red Cross and civil defense rescuers search for survivors under the rubble of a collapsed building, as smoke rises in the background, in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Sunday, Aug. 13, 2006, following an Israeli attack. Israeli warplanes pounded south Beirut with at least 20 missiles in a two-minute period Sunday.
A critical Lebanese Cabinet meeting set for Sunday to discuss implementation of the cease-fire between Israel and Hizbullah was postponed, a move that was likely to delay the dispatch of the Lebanese army to the south and an end of the fighting.
A top aide to Prime Minister Fuad Saniora said the meeting had been indefinitely postponed but would give no reason. Published reports said the Cabinet, which approved the cease-fire unanimously Saturday night, had been sharply divided over demands in the cease-fire agreement that Hizbullah surrender its weapons in south Lebanon.
That disagreement was believed to have caused the postponement of the Sunday meeting that was to have taken up the dispatch of some 15,000 troops to the south.
And it doesn’t look like Hezbollah is disarming either with its continuing rocket attacks on northern Israel.Â Moreover, the delay in Lebanon deploying its troops makes tomorrow’s cease-fire deadline unlikely.
But the Lebanese Cabinet postponed its meeting Sunday to discuss implementing the resolution, a Lebanese government minister said.
The meeting was postponed one to two days, the minister said, at the request of parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri, a key negotiator with Hezbollah.
The postponement will give government officials more time to meet with Hezbollah leadership to discuss details of implementing the U.N. resolution, the Lebanese minister said.
The resolution, approved unanimously by the U.N. Security Council on Friday, calls for boosting the number of U.N. troops in the area from 2,000 to 15,000.
They would be joined by 15,000 Lebanese troops and charged with ensuring Hezbollah could not operate anywhere between the Israeli-Lebanese border and the Litani River.
Remember the resolution requires a “full cessation of hostilities” followed by the deployment of Lebanese forces into southern Lebanon. At the same time, Israel is to withdraw its soldiers from the area.
Without Lebanon’s government authorizing the deployment of 15,000 troops pending the arrival of 13,000 additional United Nations troops to join them, Israel will NOT stop hostilities.
They would be fools otherwise.
Technorati Tags: Israel, Hezbollah