The UN Security Council resolution for a ceasefire to the fighting in Lebanon is certainly good news in terms of ending the carnage. Passed on August 11, Resolution 1701 is also a marked improvement over the original U.S. draft and contains some positive language. Both sides, for instance, are called upon to honor “a full cessation of hostilities.” And Israel must provide the UN with maps of landmines planted in southern Lebanon during Israel’s 22-year occupation that ended in 2000.

But the ceasefire resolution took longer than necessary to achieve. The fighting could have ended weeks ago if the United States had played a more constructive role.

Perhaps more troubling for the future, Resolution 1701 contains some disturbing ambiguities that may make a permanent peace between Lebanon and Israel elusive.

  • There is no timetable for the Israeli withdrawal.
  • The resolution refers to the suffering of “both sides,” implying a symmetry in the two country’s experience.
  • The resolution makes no reference to the widespread evidence that Israel–with strong encouragement from the Bush administration–had actually been planning this assault on Lebanon for many months or that Israel had repeatedly violated Lebanese air space and engaged in other border violations in the months and years leading up to the July 12 attack by Hezbollah on the Israeli border post.
  • The resolution calls for the “unconditional release of the abducted Israeli soldiers” seized by Hezbollah commandoes inside Israel, but only for “encouraging” efforts to settle “the issue of Lebanese prisoners detained in Israel” who were abducted by Israeli commandoes inside Lebanon.

For the full article, go to The United States, the UN, and the Lebanon Ceasefire.

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