Israel has no intention of stopping its offensive against Hizbollah until a international force is in place. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert also wants the peacekeepers to have a mandate which includes enforcing the UN resolution that calls for Hizbollah to be disarmed.
He said: “We are ready to end the ceasefire not when the international force will be ready but will be deployed. OK? This is an entirely different thing. First of all the international force should be made of countries which have a genuine concern for change in this part of the world. I would consider France a natural candidate and many other European countries, British soldiers, Italian soldiers.”
Lebanon’s pro-Syrian president Emile Lahoud rejects the idea of an international force which is not headed by the UN, saying he doesn’t want to see a repeat of past errors.
He explained: “You will have another Kosovo in Lebanon. You will have the French who will want their influence, the Americans… And we had these four countries in Lebanon in 1982 and what happened. We had a war.”
The Shi’ite militia, Hizbollah, first took root in Lebanon as a direct result of Israel’s invasion in 1982 in pursuit of the Palestine Liberation Organisation.