Israel Rejects Peace
Hezbollah signs on to Lebanon's proposal for a cease-fire and prisoner swap, but disarmament is not included. The pace of diplomacy quickens.
By Rone Tempest and Laura King
The Los Angeles Times
Saturday 29 July 2006
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Beirut - After more than two weeks of fierce fighting between Israeli forces and Hezbollah guerrillas, leaders from the Middle East to Washington and the United Nations signaled a sense of urgency Friday to end the conflict.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice returns to the region today for the second round of diplomacy in a week. In the hours before her arrival, Hezbollah political leaders here reversed course and agreed to join a Lebanese government proposal aimed at stopping the fighting in the country's south.
Israel dismissed Hezbollah's offer as disingenuous and said it was an indication of the guerrillas' weakness on the battlefield. But the Shiite Muslim militia's willingness to participate in the initiative shows a flexibility to negotiate not previously evident as the fighting raged in southern Lebanon.