Arab press reports on process leading to ceasefire in north
How was a ceasefire established in the north? According to reports, Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, and his political patron Saad Hariri, were involved in contacts which resulted in the IDF holdings its fire.
The ceasefire followed unequivocal threats by Israel and determined diplomatic action by the United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
London-based Arabic newspaper al-Hayat said that in an attempt to prevent the crisis, Siniora turned to the United Nations’ representative in Lebanon, Gier Pederson, and the American and French ambassadors, as well as to Hizbullah leadership.
Siniora pushed the three foreign representatives to become quickly involved out of a fear that a wide-scale escalation could ensue, and go out of control. Pederson spoke with the UN secretary-general, and the French and American ambassadors spoke with their counterparts in Israel.
After various attempts, including efforts by Lebanese intelligence, which held discussions with the Hizbullah leadership, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and Islamic Jihad , failed, Saad Hariri, son of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri, intervened directly. Hariri today heads the anti-Syrian camp. He spoke with the Hizbullah leadership a number of times, we well as with European and international sources.
These talks succeeded in the end in finding an agreement that a ceasefire between the sides would begin at 5:17 p.m. exactly. It was also said that the ceasefire was only made possible after a direct intervention by the UN Security Council and the US Secretary of State. Lebanese newspaper al-Nahar said that after Israel threatened to bomb Beirut if the Katyusha rockets continued, Rice directly intervened through the American embassy in Lebanon.
Druze leader in Lebanon Walid Jumblatt has his own interpretation of Sunday’s events. In an interview with Lebanese newspaper al-Mustaqbal, Jumblatt accused Syria and its allies in Lebanon of planning the rocket fire after a recent decision in the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1680, calling for Beirut’s sovereignty to be respected.
On Monday afternoon, two operatives killed in the Israeli attack on Sunday, including a Hizbullah member and a member of the Popular Front – General Command were buried.