Friday, August 11, 2006

US, France, Israel agree on cease-fire proposal

A revised US-France ceasefire proposal has been submitted to the UN Security Council. A vote is expected later today.

It looks pretty good, to my mind.

sources close to the negotiations said the deal would create a 400-square-mile zone inside Lebanon from which Hezbollah militia would be excluded.

Under the draft resolution, the number of U.N. troops in the area would be increased from 2,000 to a maximum of 15,000; they would be joined by 15,000 Lebanese troops.

This accomplishes two very important things: Makes Lebanon responsible for its entire territory, and gets Hezbollah out of South Lebanon. Those hold real promise if they can be pulled off.

There are still things left undone by this proposal: A related step should be finally settling the Lebanese-Israeli border and signing a permanent peace agreement.

Lebanon's reaction isn't known yet; that might be a hurdle, because Lebanon didn't want an international peacekeeping force. But the UN cover might address that.

Israel has endorsed it even while preparing a new ground offensive.

Cross your fingers and hope Lebanon accepts it.

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