U.N. To Debate Mideast Peace Plan

Tyre, LEBANON: Katyusha rockets are fired from the outskirts of the southern Lebanese port city of Tyre into Israel, 06 August 2006. Israel's army will carry on fighting Hezbollah in southern Lebanon until two soldiers, whose capture sparked the conflict last month, are returned, its ambassador to Washington said today. AFP PHOTO/SAMUEL ARANDA (Photo credit should read SAMUEL ARANDA/AFP/Getty Images) ARANDA/AFP/Getty

The U.N. Security Council is to debate Monday a diplomatic solution to the Mideast war, beginning with a cease-fire and followed by a return of prisoners, a withdrawal of Israeli troops, the disarming of Hezbollah and deployment of international peacekeeping troops.

The phased-in cease-fire plan, says CBS News foreign affairs analyst Pamela Falk, would also give the Lebanese army the job of protecting the border with Israel. The U.N., says Falk, will also be discussing an amendment presented by Lebanon Sunday which would require U.N. peacekeeping troops to hand over control of border territories to the Lebanese army within 72 hours of a ceasefire.

"The resolution is not dead in the water," says Falk, "but it needs some diplomatic life support and perhaps some revisions which take into account the Lebanese government position, to get a positive vote at the U.N."

Sunday, Hezbollah fired its deadliest rocket barrage to date, killing 15 Israelis, among them 12 soldiers heading for battle in Lebanon, and pounding Haifa, Israel's third largest city.

Three Israeli civilians were killed and dozens wounded in the Sunday attack on Haifa. Flames shot from damaged homes as firefighters tried to rescue panicked residents.

Israel hit back. Israeli warplanes attacked Beirut's southern suburbs at daybreak Monday, renewing bombardment of the Hezbollah stronghold a day after guerrilla rockets killed 15 Israelis in northern Israel.

The sound of four loud explosions in a spate of 20 minutes from the southern suburbs and the roar of raiding jets shook the Lebanese capital. The missiles kicked up smoke and dust in the sky.

Earlier on Sunday, warplanes attacked the Lebanese town of Qana and near the port of Tyre and destroyed the launchers that fired rockets on Haifa, the army said. Israeli ground forces destroyed seven long-range rocket launchers in the area of Tyre on Sunday, the military said. They encountered Hezbollah guerrillas and killed three.

Israel struck hard across Lebanon Sunday, killing 14 Lebanese, including five members of one family crushed in their home by an air strike. Warplanes attacked near Beirut and in southern Lebanon, where some villages were bombed continually for a half-hour, security officials said.

Both sides appeared to take advantage of the days before a cease-fire resolution, formulated by the U.S. and France, is put to a vote in the U.N. Security Council. The plan envisions a second resolution in a week or two that would authorize an international military force and creation of a buffer zone in south Lebanon.

Arab League foreign ministers are to meet in Beirut on Monday for a hastily convened session.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, speaking in Cairo, said the gathering "is a clear message to the world to show the Arab solidarity with the Lebanese people and in support of their demands."

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called the measure "the first step, not the only step," at a news conference in Washington. Israel has not commented, except to say the draft is important.

In Other Developments:

  • Iran on Sunday gave its ally Hezbollah a green light to keep fighting in Lebanon, saying that the U.S. can't be a mediator in the crisis because of its support for Israel.

  • The pope made a new appeal for Mideast peace, saying his earlier calls for an immediate cease-fire have gone unheeded. Benedict called on all sides to build what he calls a "just and lasting peace." He said that requires a commitment that no one should evade.

  • The Israeli army announced Sunday that it had captured one of the Hezbollah guerrillas involved in the July 12 raid that captured two Israeli soldiers and sparked this devastating round of fighting.

  • At least 600 people have died in Lebanon, including 507 civilians, 29 members of the army, one Palestinian militant and 53 guerrillas acknowledged dead by Hezbollah, CBS News correspondent Allen Pizzey reports. Israeli security officials told the Cabinet on Sunday they had confirmed the deaths of 165 Hezbollah fighters and estimated 200 more had been killed, according to a participant in the meeting.

  • The death toll in Israel stood at 90 dead — 44 killed by rocket attacks and 46 soldiers killed in the fighting.

  • Palestinian officials said Israeli forces arrested the speaker of the Palestinian parliament at his house early Sunday. The director of the speaker's office and security officers said about 20 Israeli army vehicles surrounded the house of parliament speaker Abdel Aziz Duaik, a member of Hamas, and took him into custody.

    While Hezbollah has not issued an outright rejection of the plan, its two main allies said it was without merit because it did not call for an immediate Israeli withdrawal, among other demands.

    • Lloyd Vries

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