Israeli drone strike on convoy kills 7
By JOSEPH PANOSSIAN, Associated Press Writer
Retrieved from Yahoo.com on August 12, 2006
BEIRUT, Lebanon - An Israeli drone fired at a convoy of refugees fleeing southern Lebanon on Friday night, killing at least seven people and wounding 22, an Associated Press photographer said. The Israeli military said it was investigating the incident.
Early Saturday, Israeli warplanes struck several targets in north and south Lebanon, killing at least two people and wounding several others in the village of Kharayeb, security officials said, hours after the UN. Security Council adopted a resolution calling for an end to the war.
Security officials said warplanes destroyed a power station in the southern port city of Sidon. There was no immediate word on casualties. Local media also reported airstrikes in Akkar province, 60 miles north of Beirut, and in Tyre.
The attack on the convoy was the most dramatic on a day of fighting Friday that saw Israeli airstrikes pound south Beirut and border crossings to Syria, killing at least 15 others as ground fighting picked up intensity in the south of the country. An Israeli soldier was killed in fighting in southern Lebanon, the army said.
Hezbollah on Friday sent another barrage of more than 150 rockets toward northern Israel. Rescue workers said eight people in the port of Haifa were wounded by shrapnel.
The ongoing clashes have killed more than 800 people — including at least 741 Lebanese and 123 Israelis.
Lutfallah Daher, the photographer, was with the convoy when it was hit near the Bekaa Valley town of Chtaura, about 30 miles north of the Litani River. Israel has said it would attack any vehicle on roads south of the Litani, assuming it was carrying Hezbollah weapons or fighters.
The photographer said that when the convoy left the Israeli-occupied town of Marjayoun in southern Lebanon, it was made up of more than 600 civilian vehicles in addition to vehicles carrying 350 Lebanese soldiers and police. A few vehicles had left the convoy before it was hit, the photographer said.
Daher lives in Marjayoun and was fleeing with his wife in one car. His mother, brother, sister-in-law and their child were in another car. None was harmed.
Two armored U.N. peacekeeping vehicles were to have accompanied the convoy, Daher said, but were not present when Israeli forces in Marjayoun gave the convoy permission to head north. Israeli tanks and infantry took control of Marjayoun on Thursday.
Israel's military said no convoys had been coordinated with the army.
The region around Marjayoun, a mainly Christian town, was hit by Israeli warplanes and artillery during and after the Israeli advance.
In other developments Friday:
• Polls indicated that the Israeli government is losing domestic support for its conduct of the conflict against Hezbollah, and doubt is growing among Israelis that they are winning the war. One survey, by the independent Dahaf Institute, said Olmert's personal approval rating dropped from 73 percent to 66 percent.
• The U.N.'s World Food Program said civilians cut off by fighting in south Lebanon find themselves in increasingly desperate conditions as the region remains inaccessible to aid agencies.
• U.N. humanitarian chief Jan Egeland said the anger on all sides in the Middle East is the greatest he has seen in two decades of trying to help the troubled region make peace.
1 pic : flag of the united nations
Security Council OKs Mideast peace deal
By NICK WADHAMS, Associated Press Writer
Retrieved from Yahoo.com on August 12, 2006
UNITED NATIONS - The U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution seeking a "full cessation" of violence between Israel and Hezbollah, offering the region its best chance yet for peace after a month of fighting that has killed more than 800 people and inflamed Mideast tensions.
The resolution, adopted unanimously, authorizes 15,000 U.N. peacekeepers to help Lebanese troops take control of south Lebanon as Israeli forces that have occupied the area withdraw.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the "hard work of diplomacy" was only beginning with the passage of the resolution and that it would be unrealistic to expect an immediate end to all violence. She said the United States would increase its assistance to Lebanon to $50 million and demanded other nations stop interfering in its affairs.
"Today we call upon every state, especially Iran and Syria, to respect the sovereignty of the Lebanese government and the will of the international community," Rice told the council. Iran and Syria back Hezbollah and supply it rockets and other weapons.
"We will now end to work very hard," Rice told reporters afterward. "This is a first step but it is a good first step.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert endorsed the resolution late Friday, after a day of brinksmanship including a threat to expand the ground war. Lebanon's Cabinet was to consider the draft on Saturday, but Rice said the Lebanese government assured her that it supported the text.
The next point of contention will be when to implement the cessation of hostilities. Israel said its campaign would continue until Sunday, when its Cabinet will meet to endorse the resolution. Long columns of Israeli tanks, troops and armored personnel carriers streamed over the border early Saturday, and Israel launched airstrikes in several cities, security officials and local media said, killing at least two people.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he planned to meet Lebanese and Israeli officials as soon as possible to determine the exact date of a cease-fire.
With tough language in remarks before the vote, Annan said hundreds of millions of people around the world shared his frustration that the council had taken so long to act. That inaction has "badly shaken the world's faith in its authority and integrity," he said.
"I would be remiss if I did not tell you how profoundly disappointed I am that the council did not reach this point much, much earlier," he said.
The Security Council resolution leaves out several key demands from both Israel and Lebanon in efforts to come up with a workable arrangement.
Despite Lebanese objections, Israel will be allowed to continue defensive operations — a term that Arab diplomats fear the Israeli military will interpret widely. A dispute over the Chebaa Farms area along the Syria-Lebanon-Israel border will be left for later; and Israel won't get its wish for an entirely new multinational force separate from the U.N. peacekeepers that have been stationed in south Lebanon since 1978.
Lebanon's acting foreign minister, Tarek Mitri, suggested that his nation would accept the resolution though he said its call for a cessation of fighting could not be implemented. He criticized it for allowing Israel to continue some operations.
"A cease-fire that by its terms cannot be implemented is no cease-fire," Mitri said. "A cease-fire that retains the right for one side the right not to cease firing is not a cease-fire."
There is also no call for the release of Lebanese prisoners held by Israel or a demand for the immediate withdrawal of Israeli troops. Although the draft resolution emphasizes the need for the "unconditional release" of the two Israeli soldiers whose July 12 capture by Hezbollah sparked the conflict, that call is not included in the list of steps required for a lasting cease-fire.
Diplomats said the negotiators' main goal had been to come up with a draft that spells out a lasting political solution to the hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah along the Israel-Lebanon border. The standoff has bedeviled the region for more than two decades.
At the heart of the resolution are two elements: It seeks an immediate halt to the fighting and it spells out a series of steps that would lead to a permanent cease-fire and long-term solution.
That would be done by creating a new buffer zone in south Lebanon "free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the government of Lebanon and UNIFIL" — the acronym of the U.N. force deployed in the region since 1978. The force now has 2,000 troops; the resolution would expand it to a maximum of 15,000.
South Lebanon had been under de facto control of Hezbollah, a Shiite militia, for several years until Israeli forces occupied parts of it after the start of the fighting last month. The political solution would include implementation of previous Security Council resolutions calling for Hezbollah's disarmament.
Under the resolution, UNIFIL, the U.N. force in south Lebanon, would be significantly beefed up to help coordinate when 15,000 Lebanese troops deploy to the region. As Lebanese forces take control of the south, Israeli troops would withdraw "in parallel."
Israel is chiefly concerned that Hezbollah not be allowed to regain its strength in south Lebanon once a cessation of hostilities goes into effect. It had originally demanded the creation of a new multinational force separate from UNIFIL, which it claimed was powerless.
The resolution gives Annan one week to report back on how well it has been implemented. The council leaves open the possibility of another resolution to further enhance UNIFIL's mandate and other steps to achieve a permanent cease-fire.
The draft also asks Annan to come up with proposals within 30 days on resolving various border disputes including the one over Chebaa Farms. Lebanon had wanted a direct demand in the draft that Chebaa Farms be put under U.N. control.
Diplomats at the U.N. said the adoption of the resolution must spur them to solve the wider conflict in the Middle East, particularly between Israel and the Palestinians. The Lebanon war has overshadowed the turmoil there, caused by the capture of an Israeli soldier on June 25.
Qatar's Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassem Al Thani said that in the coming days Arab states would submit formal requests for a Security Council meeting in September to hammer out a new regional peace plan.
UN Security Council Resolution 1701
Saturday 12 August, 2006
The Security Council,
PP1. Recalling all its previous resolutions on Lebanon, in particular resolutions 425 (1978), 426 (1978), 520 (1982), 1559 (2004), 1655 (2006) 1680 (2006) and 1697 (2006), as well as the statements of its President on the situation in Lebanon, in particular the statements of 18 June 2000 (S/PRST/2000/21), of 19 October 2004 (S/PRST/2004/36), of 4 May 2005 (S/PRST/2005/17) of 23 January 2006 (S/PRST/2006/3) and of 30 July 2006 (S/PRST/2006/35),
PP2. Expressing its utmost concern at the continuing escalation of hostilities in Lebanon and in Israel since Hezbollah's attack on Israel on 12 July 2006, which has already caused hundreds of deaths and injuries on both sides, extensive damage to civilian infrastructure and hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons,
PP3. Emphasizing the need for an end of violence, but at the same time emphasizing the need to address urgently the causes that have given rise to the current crisis, including by the unconditional release of the abducted Israeli soldiers,
PP4. Mindful of the sensitivity of the issue of prisoners and encouraging the efforts aimed at urgently settling the issue of the Lebanese prisoners detained in Israel,
PP5. Welcoming the efforts of the Lebanese Prime Minister and the commitment of the government of Lebanon, in its seven-point plan, to extend its authority over its territory, through its own legitimate armed forces, such that there will be no weapons without the consent of the government of Lebanon and no authority other than that of the government of Lebanon, welcoming also its commitment to a UN force that is supplemented and enhanced in numbers, equipment, mandate and scope of operation, and bearing in mind its request in this plan for an immediate withdrawal of the Israeli forces from Southern Lebanon
PP6. Determined to act for this withdrawal to happen at the earliest,
PP7. Taking due note of the proposals made in the seven-point plan regarding the Shebaa farms area,
PP8. Welcoming the unanimous decision by the government of Lebanon on 7 August 2006 to deploy a Lebanese armed force of 15,000 troops in South Lebanon as the Israeli army withdraws behind the Blue Line and to request the assistance of additional forces from UNIFIL as needed, to facilitate the entry of the Lebanese armed forces into the region and to restate its intention to strengthen the Lebanese armed forces with material as needed to enable it to perform its duties,
PP9. Aware of its responsibilities to help secure a permanent ceasefire and a long-term solution to the conflict,
PP10. Determining that the situation in Lebanon constitutes a threat to international peace and security,
OP1. Calls for a full cessation of hostilities based upon, in particular, the immediate cessation by Hezbollah of all attacks and the immediate cessation by Israel of all offensive military operations;
OP2. Upon full cessation of hostilities, calls upon the government of Lebanon and UNIFIL as authorized by paragraph 11 to deploy their forces together throughout the South and calls upon the government of Israel, as that deployment begins, to withdraw all of its forces from Southern Lebanon in parallel;
OP3. Emphasizes the importance of the extension of the control of the government of Lebanon over all Lebanese territory in accordance with the provisions of resolution 1559 (2004) and resolution 1680 (2006), and of the relevant provisions of the Taif Accords, for it to exercise its full sovereignty, so that there will be no weapons without the consent of the government of Lebanon and no authority other than that of the government of Lebanon;
OP4. Reiterates its strong support for full respect for the Blue Line;
OP5. Also reiterates its strong support, as recalled in all its previous relevant resolutions, for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence of Lebanon within its internationally recognized borders, as contemplated by the Israeli-Lebanese General Armistice Agreement of 23 March 1949;
OP6. Calls on the international community to take immediate steps to extend its financial and humanitarian assistance to the Lebanese people, including through facilitating the safe return of displaced persons and, under the authority of the Government of Lebanon, reopening airports and harbours, consistent with paragraphs 14 and 15, and calls on it also to consider further assistance in the future to contribute to the reconstruction and development of Lebanon;
OP7. Affirms that all parties are responsible for ensuring that no action is taken contrary to paragraph 1 that might adversely affect the search for a long-term solution, humanitarian access to civilian populations, including safe passage for humanitarian convoys, or the voluntary and safe return of displaced persons, and calls on all parties to comply with this responsibility and to cooperate with the Security Council;
OP8. Calls for Israel and Lebanon to support a permanent ceasefire and a long-term solution based on the following principles and elements:
· full respect for the Blue Line by both parties,
· security arrangements to prevent the resumption of hostilities, including the establishment between the Blue Line and the Litani river of an area free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the government of Lebanon and of UNIFIL as authorized in paragraph 11, deployed in this area,
· full implementation of the relevant provisions of the Taif Accords, and of resolutions 1559 (2004) and 1680 (2006), that require the disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon, so that, pursuant to the Lebanese cabinet decision of July 27, 2006, there will be no weapons or authority in Lebanon other than that of the Lebanese state,
· no foreign forces in Lebanon without the consent of its government,
· no sales or supply of arms and related materiel to Lebanon except as authorized by its government,
· provision to the United Nations of all remaining maps of land mines in Lebanon in Israel's possession;
OP9. Invites the Secretary General to support efforts to secure as soon as possible agreements in principle from the Government of Lebanon and the Government of Israel to the principles and elements for a long-term solution as set forth in paragraph 8, and expresses its intention to be actively involved;
OP10. Requests the Secretary General to develop, in liaison with relevant international actors and the concerned parties, proposals to implement the relevant provisions of the Taif Accords, and resolutions 1559 (2004) and 1680 (2006), including disarmament, and for delineation of the international borders of Lebanon, especially in those areas where the border is disputed or uncertain, including by dealing with the Shebaa farms area, and to present to the Security Council those proposals within thirty days;
OP11. Decides, in order to supplement and enhance the force in numbers, equipment, mandate and scope of operations, to authorize an increase in the force strength of UNIFIL to a maximum of 15,000 troops, and that the force shall, in addition to carrying out its mandate under resolutions 425 and 426 (1978):
a. Monitor the cessation of hostilities;
b. Accompany and support the Lebanese armed forces as they deploy throughout the South, including along the Blue Line, as Israel withdraws its armed forces from Lebanon as provided in paragraph 2;
c. Coordinate its activities related to paragraph 11 (b) with the Government of Lebanon and the Government of Israel;
d. Extend its assistance to help ensure humanitarian access to civilian populations and the voluntary and safe return of displaced persons;
e. Assist the Lebanese armed forces in taking steps towards the establishment of the area as referred to in paragraph 8;
f. Assist the government of Lebanon, at its request, to implement paragraph 14;
OP12. Acting in support of a request from the government of Lebanon to deploy an international force to assist it to exercise its authority throughout the territory, authorizes UNIFIL to take all necessary action in areas of deployment of its forces and as it deems within its capabilities, to ensure that its area of operations is not utilized for hostile activities of any kind, to resist attempts by forceful means to prevent it from discharging its duties under the mandate of the Security Council, and to protect United Nations personnel, facilities, installations and equipment, ensure the security and freedom of movement of United Nations personnel, humanitarian workers, and, without prejudice to the responsibility of the government of Lebanon, to protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence;
OP13. Requests the Secretary General urgently to put in place measures to ensure UNIFIL is able to carry out the functions envisaged in this resolution, urges Member States to consider making appropriate contributions to UNIFIL and to respond positively to requests for assistance from the Force, and expresses its strong appreciation to those who have contributed to UNIFIL in the past;
OP14. Calls upon the Government of Lebanon to secure its borders and other entry points to prevent the entry in Lebanon without its consent of arms or related materiel and requests UNIFIL as authorized in paragraph 11 to assist the Government of Lebanon at its request;
OP15. Decides further that all states shall take the necessary measures to prevent, by their nationals or from their territories or using their flag vessels or aircraft,
(a) the sale or supply to any entity or individual in Lebanon of arms and related materiel of all types, including weapons and ammunition, military vehicles and equipment, paramilitary equipment, and spare parts for the aforementioned, whether or not originating in their territories, and
(b) the provision to any entity or individual in Lebanon of any technical training or assistance related to the provision, manufacture, maintenance or use of the items listed in subparagraph (a) above, except that these prohibitions shall not apply to arms, related material, training or assistance authorized by the Government of Lebanon or by UNIFIL as authorized in paragraph 11;
OP16. Decides to extend the mandate of UNIFIL until 31 August 2007, and expresses its intention to consider in a later resolution further enhancements to the mandate and other steps to contribute to the implementation of a permanent ceasefire and a long-term solution;
OP17. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council within one week on the implementation of this resolution and subsequently on a regular basis;
OP18. Stresses the importance of, and the need to achieve, a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, based on all its relevant resolutions including its resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967 and 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973;
OP19. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.