France has submitted a written proposal to Beirut aimed at reaching a settlement on the disputed border between Lebanon and Israel, in an effort to end the fighting between Lebanon's Hezbollah and Israel. . The mutual bombing runs parallel to the war in the Gaza Strip, raising fears of a catastrophic and all-out conflict.
The plan aims to end fighting between the Iran-allied Hezbollah group and Israel across the border. The mutual bombing runs parallel to the war in the Gaza Strip and has raised fears of a catastrophic and all-out conflict. The goal of the proposal is to prevent a conflict that would “threaten the spiral of control” and impose a “possible cease-fire when the conditions are right” and eventually seek negotiations to demarcate the disputed land border between Lebanon and Israel. Hezbollah has refused to officially negotiate a ceasefire before the end of the war in Gaza.
The three-step plan calls for a 10-day escalation process that ends with border talks. A French diplomatic source said the proposal was presented to the governments of Israel and Lebanon, as well as Hezbollah.
The plan proposes that Lebanese armed groups and Israel cease military operations against each other, including Israeli airstrikes in Lebanon. It also proposes that Lebanese armed groups demolish all buildings and facilities near the border and withdraw combat forces and military capabilities, such as anti-tank systems, at least 10 kilometers north of the border.
Any such withdrawal would bring Hezbollah fighters much closer to the border than the 30-kilometer withdrawal to the Litani River in Lebanon stipulated in a 2006 United Nations resolution that ended the war with Israel.
The proposal also calls for the deployment of 15,000 Lebanese Army soldiers along the border in southern Lebanon, Hezbollah's political stronghold.
Responding to a question about the motion, prominent Hezbollah politician M.P. Hassan Fadlallah said the group would not discuss “any matter related to the situation in the south before the end of the aggression against Gaza”.
Fadlallah, who said the “adversary is not in a position to impose conditions,” declined to comment on the details of the proposal or whether Hezbollah had received it.
A Lebanese official said the document collects ideas discussed in contacts with Western diplomats and communicated to Hezbollah. French officials told the Lebanese it was not the final document after Beirut objected to parts of it.
A Lebanese official said several elements raised concern in Beirut, such as the armed groups' demand to demolish buildings and facilities near the border, which the official said was vaguely worded and could be used to demand action against Hezbollah's civilian institutions.
A French diplomatic source said the proposal was presented to the governments of Israel and Lebanon, as well as Hezbollah. An Israeli official confirmed that the government had received the proposal and was discussing it.