Lebanon bars way to peace accord

THE United States Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, arrived in Damascus yesterday to find the agenda dominated by one word: Lebanon, writes Charles Richards.

It says something of Mr Christopher's commitment to the region that, at a time of crises in Haiti and Bosnia, he should have returned once more to the Middle East only two weeks after he left. After agreements reached between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation, and Israel and Jordan, he is investing his personal efforts in a Syrian-Israel accord. Agreement over an Israel withdrawal from the Golan in exchange for a Syrian commitment to peace is not beyond reach. But Lebanon stands in the way.

Lebanon is both symptom and cause of the rivalry between Israel and Syria. Israel blames Syria for any upsurge of violence by Hizbollah, the radical Shia force. Two Israeli soldiers on patrol in southern Lebanon were killed on Saturday by Hizbollah fighters, and rockets were fired into northern Israel. The Israeli Foreign Minister, Shimon Peres, warned that Israel would continue to attack Hizbollah targets if provoked.

Syria maintains that Hizbollah are Lebanese resistance fighters engaging in a legitimate struggle to rid their country of foreign - that is, (in their eyes) Israeli - forces. The truth is somewhere in between.

Meanwhile yet another brick in the wall dividing Jordan and Israel was removed yesterday when Israel's President Ezer Weizmann phoned King Hussein in Amman in the first call between the two states, formally inaugurating direct links between their countries. Since the creation of their state in 1948, Israelis have not been able to dial their Arab neighbours directly (except Egypt, which made peace in 1979). Phone calls have had to be routed through Atlanta or Nicosia.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Designer / Developer

£12000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: New Full-time, Part-time and Fr...

Recruitment Genius: Multidrop Van Driver

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Due to rapid expansion, this family owned comp...

Recruitment Genius: Electrical Engineer

£26500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is going through a period o...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Optimisation Executive - Marketing

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral