Israel won't wait.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel confirmed on Friday that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had ordered the army to expand its ground offensive against Hizbollah in Lebanon but said the decision "does not exclude a diplomatic solution".
The move, announced by Israel's Foreign Ministry, came shortly after U.S. and British ambassadors at the United Nations said Security Council members were on the verge of a deal on a resolution aimed at halting the month-old war.
Can Lebanon survive this one?
Update. LBC reported that Siniora has received the final draft of the UNSC resolution. Reuters has some details on the changes: (these links keep expiring)
The agreement, coming amid an expanded Israeli offensive in southern Lebanon, calls for an immediate "cessation of hostilities" followed by a phased withdrawal of Israeli units as the Lebanese army and an expanded U.N. peacekeeping force move into the south.
LBC said that there is no mention of either chapter 6 or chapter 7 in the resolution. Instead, the text details the role of the UN force, which could reach 15,000 troops. In an apparent compromise, the new text does not mention the prisoners, Lebanese or Israelis. It acknowledges the Shebaa farm request, but asks the UN Secretary General to follow up on the issue. Kofi Annan is also charged with reporting to the council in 30 days on the implementation of the resolution by both parties.
LBC added that Siniora is currently holding talks with Hizbullah and Berri.
THE UNSC is expected to vote on the resolution shortly.
Update 2. Who runs Israel? I keep reading conflicting statements regarding the resolution. Olmert thinks it's positive, his spokesman says it's unacceptable (tayyar.org). And the tanks roll...
Update 3. According to Aljazeera, the resolution calls for immediate cease fire, and does call for the release of the Israeli soldiers.
Update 4. Olmert has accepted the "deal" and will "recommend that his government approve the deal in its meeting on Sunday."
Meir said the military offensive in Lebanon would continue for the time being. It was not immediately clear if it would be halted after the U.N. Security Council vote on the cease-fire deal later Friday, or only after the Israeli Cabinet has endorsed it. (AP)