Arab League slams UN inaction

The Arab league has accused the security council of doing nothing while weeks of fighting between Israel and Hezbollah sow “the seeds of hatred and extremism” in the Middle East.
Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani, the Qatari foreign minister, spoke for an Arab league delegation at a special UN security council meeting.

He said: “It is most saddening that the council stands idly by, crippled, unable to stop the bloodbath which has become the bitter daily lot of the defenceless Lebanese people.

“What is happening will sow the seeds of hatred and extremism in the area and provide a pretext for those who feel that the international community is taking sides and lacks fairness as to this dispute.”

Al-Thani said any UN resolution should call for “an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire and withdrawal of Israeli forces behind the Blue Line” – the unofficial frontier between Israel and Lebanon.

Israeli response

France and the United States have proposed a draft UN resolution that does not call for an Israeli withdrawal.

In response to the speech, Dan Gillerman, Israel’s UN envoy, called for effective action to restrain what he called Hezbollah “terrorists”.

Without responding to the call for an Israeli withdrawal, he said there had to be a “strong, robust and effective international force” in Lebanon that can counter Hezbollah.

Gillerman also said there had to be international action to stop Syria and Iran supplying arms to Hezbollah.

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