Skip to main content

 » Special Report | Video archive | E-mail us: Your stories | How to help civilians

Arab League takes Lebanon concerns to U.N. council

The U.N. Security Council and Arab League on Tuesday discuss a draft resolution on the Mideast conflict.



United Nations

UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- An Arab League delegation urged the United Nations on Tuesday to pass a resolution that would require an immediate Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon, diplomats said.

Intense talks followed the Security Council session, in which the Arab delegation proposed that U.N. peacekeepers -- and then the Lebanese army -- replace the Israeli army after the pullout.

Meanwhile, Israeli helicopters fired five shells at an administration building in Lebanon's largest Palestinian refugee camp early Wednesday, according to the head of Fatah in Lebanon. At least one person was killed and six others injured at the Ain El-Helwe camp near Sidon, Sultan Abu Alaynen said.

Israel said it was targeting the home of a Hezbollah militant.

The camp houses about 50,000 registered refugees and probably at least that many who are unregistered, Abu Alaynen said.

Along the Israel-Lebanon border, Israeli troops wearing black face paint and camouflage accompanied numerous tanks into Lebanon. The Israeli military launched grenades, rocket-propelled grenades and tank shells from multiple locations as the sound of machine gun fire filled the air.

Lebanon and its Arab League allies have been pressing the U.N. for an immediate Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon as part of a deal to end the nearly month-old war.

Such a withdrawal is not mentioned in a U.N. draft resolution by the United States and France, an omission that Lebanon and Arab League diplomats called unacceptable. (Key points in the Arab League plan)

The Arab proposal also asks for an immediate cease-fire, as opposed to the U.S.-French proposal for a cessation of hostilities.

"We come to this body asking for an immediate and comprehensive cease-fire," Tarek Mitri, Lebanon's special envoy to the U.N., told the council. "Twenty-seven days ago, we asked for an immediate cease-fire. More than 900 lives ago, we asked for an immediate cease-fire."

Diplomats say the Arab proposal has piqued France's interest. Negotiations are set to continue Wednesday, and Arab League chief Amr Moussa said he hopes those talks will produce "at least the skeleton" of a new draft.

The proposal also calls for Hezbollah to move out of the south and into positions north of the Litani River, but it makes no mention of disarmament.

Israel has resisted calls for a withdrawal, saying it will only do so once Hezbollah is disarmed. (Watch an analyst describe why Hezbollah is ready for war -- 2:13)

"It is time to bring this conflict to an end," said Dan Gillerman, Israel's ambassador to the U.N. "But speeches and resolutions do not themselves end conflicts. Neither do good intentions. Conflicts are ended by actions, not by words. They are ended when those who sparked the conflict and those who seek to continue to threaten the region are confronted and overcome."

Lebanon's government late Monday approved the deployment of 15,000 troops from its national army to southern Lebanon, where Hezbollah has held sway since Israeli troops withdrew in 2000. (Full story)

Lebanon also proposes that a U.N. force move into the disputed Shebaa Farms, a sliver of Israeli-occupied land that the Lebanese claim but the U.N. says is Syria's.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called the move "interesting," but also said his Security Cabinet was meeting Wednesday to discuss expanding the military campaign.

A Bush administration official said the Arab-backed proposal threatens to tip "a very delicate balance" and could set back the process. Diplomats said the U.N. needs to get "back on the same page" in time to vote on a resolution Thursday.

Red Cross: Israel violates Geneva Conventions

The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross accused Israel of violating the Geneva Conventions by preventing aid convoys from getting into areas targeted by Israeli airstrikes.

Jakob Kellenberger demanded more access to civilians in southern Lebanon. He will meet with Israeli officials Wednesday.

Earlier, a Red Cross spokesman said the group was able to win "freedom of movement" for convoys after repeated requests to Israel.

Thousands of people are still believed to be in shelters in southern Lebanon villages, Red Cross spokesman Roland Huguenin-Benjamin said. While the Red Cross is allowed to bring ships into Tyre and Sidon, damaged roads have hindered the delivery of aid into the countryside, he said.

The destruction of a main road and a makeshift bridge by airstrikes forced Doctors Without Borders to bring supplies into Tyre by forming a human chain across the Litani River, said a spokesman for the aid group.

Israel to southern Lebanese: Stay off roads

The Israeli military dropped leaflets Tuesday over Tyre, warning of stepped-up operations and urging people to stay off the roads or risk being targeted. (Watch Israeli troops go on a secret mission -- 3:26)

One leaflet, which a Lebanese Broadcasting Corp. reporter showed on the air, said that "terrorist elements ... are using you as human shields by launching rockets toward the state of Israel from your homes."

The translated leaflet continued, "All cars and of any type will be shelled if seen moving south of the Litani River because it will be considered a suspect of transferring rockets, military ammunitions and those causing destruction."

The warning is for all residents south of the Litani River.

Hezbollah launched 145 rockets into Israel as of Tuesday evening, Israeli police said.

The IDF reported it carried out 82 airstrikes in Lebanon overnight, targeting buildings, access routes and missile launchers. (Watch residents claw for survivors -- 1:08)

Also Tuesday, Israel attacked the town of Ghaziye near the port city of Sidon, killing eight civilians and wounding more than 30, according to Lebanese Internal Security Forces.

The death toll from Monday's Israeli attack on the southern Beirut suburb of Shiyah has risen to 30, according to Lebanon's security forces. Another 64 were injured in the attack.

Israeli casualties in the conflict stand at 98 dead, including 35 civilians, and more than 700 wounded, according to the IDF.

Lebanese security forces say that 781 people have died, most of them civilians, and 2,923 have been wounded.

CNN's Karl Penhaul and Elise Labott contributed to this report.

Story Tools
Subscribe to Time for $1.99 cover
Top Stories
Get up-to-the minute news from CNN gives you the latest stories and video from the around the world, with in-depth coverage of U.S. news, politics, entertainment, health, crime, tech and more.
Top Stories
Get up-to-the minute news from CNN gives you the latest stories and video from the around the world, with in-depth coverage of U.S. news, politics, entertainment, health, crime, tech and more.

© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines