There are fears that the week-old peace between Israel and Hizbollah could easily unravel, leading to further bloodshed. The uneasy peace has been tested over the past two days by an Israeli raid in the eastern Bekaa Valley, which the UN said was a violation of resolution 1701. Senior UN envoy Terje RD Larsen said “At the same time, we are at the tilting edge still and this can easily start sliding again and lead us quickly into the abyss of violence and bloodshed.”
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has called for the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon to be led by Italy. The call came following France’s apparent reluctance to commit more than 200 extra troops to the region. The US and the UN had hoped that the French contingent would form the backbone of an expanded UN force. Rules of engagement for the UN force in South Lebanon should come out in the next few days, a UN envoy said yesterday.
France has called for a meeting of EU ministers to co-ordinate the actions of member states. As many as 15 thousand troops could be deployed to Southern Lebanon to enforce the ceasefire. The aim is also to support the Lebanese Army as it supervises the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the area.