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YOUR WORLD TODAY

U.N. to Send 'Vanguard Force' to Lebanon Within Weeks; Rebuilding Lebanon; United Airlines Flight From Heathrow to Dulles Diverted to Boston

Aired August 16, 2006 - 12:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Israel warns that it is not leaving southern Lebanon until a U.N.-led force is in place.
Scare over the Atlantic. A United Airlines passenger jet from London is diverted to Boston.

And nearly a century after their executions for cowardice, hundreds of British World War I soldiers are pardoned.

Hello and welcome to YOUR WORLD TODAY.

I'm Hala Gorani in Beirut.

These are just some of the stories we're following for you in our broadcast seen around the world.

Israel says promises of a multinational force in southern Lebanon are not enough. It wants actual boots on the ground before it will fully withdraw.

Here's the latest.

Israel's army says it's ready to stay for months if necessary until Lebanese troops and a bigger U.N. force deploy. The Lebanese cabinet is meeting right now as we speak to discuss logistics of sending 15,000 of its own troops to the south, as well as the thorny question of whether Hezbollah will remain armed.

Foreign ministers from countries expected to contribute to the expanded U.N. force met with officials in Beirut. The French foreign minister called on Israel to end its air and sea blockade of Lebanon, saying the cease-fire makes it unnecessary.

The U.N. says it plans to send what it calls a "vanguard force" of several thousand troops to Lebanon within weeks, but it could be some time before the entire 15,000-strong force makes it to southern Lebanon.

As Tim Lister reports, some countries say they're interested but won't commit without clear rules of engagement.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TIM LISTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Once again, the blue helmets are fanning out across southern Lebanon. But the 2,000 soldiers at UNIFIL need help.

European negotiator Javier Solana says the expanded force must be deployed "very, very quickly." The head of U.N. peacekeeping admits that's a challenge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Normally a U.N. deployment would take months. This time we need to deploy the first elements in a matter of days or weeks. And that's going to require a huge effort.

LISTER: U.N. officials say they expect to get about 3,000 troops into southern Lebanon within two weeks but the full force may take up to a year to deploy. And that may be a problem given the high expectations.

SEAN MCCORMACK, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: This is an enhanced UNIFIL. This is just a different -- it's just -- it may have -- it may have the same name, but it is -- you know, it is a completely different organization in terms of its size, its abilities and its mandate.

LISTER: The U.S. won't contribute troops, and it's takes time to work out who will, as well as the precise mission at what might be dubbed "UNIFIL Plus"

This much is probable: a veteran of U.N. peacekeeping missions, France will lead the new force and contribute up to 4,000 of a 15,000- strong UNIFIL. French foreign minister Philipe Douste-Blazy was in Lebanon Wednesday to discuss details.

Italy will probably be involved, too. Visiting Egypt earlier this week, foreign minister Massimo D'Alema said Italy was willing to send 3,000 soldiers.

Other likely contributors, Turkey may send a thousand troops but wants more clarity on rules of engagement. Malaysia, a member of the organization of the Islamic Conference, is offering at least 850. Indonesia is also ready to contribute.

Germany says it's also willing to take part. In recent years it's sent peacekeepers to Kosovo and under the NATO umbrella to Afghanistan. But a deployment in southern Lebanon would be awkward.

WOLFGANG BOSBACH, CDU DEPUTY (through translator): Exactly because of our German history, we should be careful that we don't get drawn into a conflict where we face the possibility of one day having to face Israeli troops.

LISTER: The first piece of the puzzle, the dispatch of Lebanese troops to the south, should fall into place in the next few days. UNIFIL's first job, ensure the departing Israelis and the arriving Lebanese army are kept apart. Then secure the border area, a process that could take weeks.

Other issues, how do soldiers from a dozen nations with different languages and equipment work together in such a high-pressure environment? And how do they get around given the damage to roads and bridges and the return of civilians?

But the current UNIFIL commander says the biggest job isn't even the U.N.'s responsibility.

MAJ. GEN. ALAIN PELLEGRINI, UNIFIL COMMANDER: It is up to the Lebanese authorities, to the Lebanese army to find a solution to make Hezbollah giving back its weapons.

LISTER: History has not been kind to U.N. peacekeeping missions. Whether in Somalia, Bosnia, or Rwanda, they've often been helpless when one or both parties to a conflict sees them as an obstacle, lacking the firepower, command structure, or political backing to enforce peace.

UNIFIL itself has often been observer as Israel and its Palestinian or Hezbollah opponents have joined battle in southern Lebanon. Now it must become a different creature.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of that is still very volatile, a very dangerous situation. And I'll be -- I'll be more reassured if, in a few months from now, we've seen this engagement happen peacefully, the deployment happen.

LISTER: Another meeting at the U.N. due Thursday may agree rules of engagement for the peacekeepers. There's a long way to go if "UNIFIL Plus" is to succeed.

Tim Lister, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: Well, there are very important talks going on right now in the Lebanese capital on exactly how this country is going to enforce that cease-fire.

Prime Minister Fouad Siniora is meeting with his cabinet, which includes, of course, members of Hezbollah. They're firming up plans to send Lebanese troops south while also discussing whether Hezbollah will remain armed.

Hezbollah officials have said that issue for them is "not on the table."

Well, a little bit earlier I visited the southern suburbs of Beirut. With support in their traditional strongholds high, Hezbollah says making rebuilding after the war is its priority.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI (voice over): Where to even start rebuilding? The southern suburbs of Beirut, three days after the cease-fire, residents are returning, and before reconstruction can even begin, the cleanup, the heavy lifting. And a surreal gesture. A resident dusts off a picture in a high-rise apartment with no exterior walls.

On the streets, people almost shrug off the devastation. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can live without walls, but I have to be free first.

GORANI: And although Hezbollah has promised to rebuild destroyed homes, there is a dose of realism, too.

(on camera): What are you thinking about rebuilding?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It will take a long period. It will take a very large time. Two years, at least.

GORANI (voice over): In this part of Beirut, it is still Hezbollah that calls the shots. We come accompanied and are escorted around. We are repeatedly told Hezbollah will pay for reconstruction and help residents put their lives back together.

(on camera): Officials here aren't just keen to show us how residents are rebuilding their homes. They also want us to see that Hezbollah's voice is back on the air from the very headquarters that were flattened by an Israeli air strike just a few weeks ago.

(voice over): In this war, information is also a weapon. And Hezbollah has kept its TV station, Al Manar, on the air throughout the conflict from a secret studio location.

Ibrahim Moussaoui is an Al Manar executive.

IBRAHIM MOUSSAOUI, AL MANAR EXECUTIVE: We have the makeshift studio in order to take the reactions of their supporters of devotion and in order to tell the Israelis that, no matter what you do, Al Manar is going to continue to broadcast even from the rubble and the debris that you see here. The voice is going to continue to appear.

GORANI: It may not be a feeling shared by all Lebanese, but there is no doubt as to who residents of south Beirut blame for the destruction and who they think is victorious. Even the bright yellow tape cordoning off flattened buildings call this war a divine victory for Hezbollah.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: All right. Let's take you now to the Palestinian territories. And the impasse between the Palestinian president and Hamas may be easing somewhat.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ismail Haniya have agreed to talk about forming a national unity government, but Haniya has said a broader government cannot be formed until Israel releases a number of Hamas officials arrested in recent weeks.

The discussions will be based on a joint political platform worked out by both sides, which could recognize Israel's right to exist.

All right. Well, a little bit later on in the program I'm going to be speaking with the Lebanese prime minister's senior adviser, Mohamed Chatah, on the planned deployment of 15,000 Lebanese troops, as well as the composition of that UNIFIL force.

All right. We'll have more coming up in a few minutes.

But for now, it's back to Stephen Frazier at the CNN Center -- Stephen.

STEPHEN FRAZIER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hala, thank you very much.

Let's turn now to another story we've been following very closely for the past few moments. A United Airlines flight bound from London to Washington's Dulles airport has been diverted to Boston, Massachusetts, after a female passenger became disruptive, confronted other passengers on board the plane.

For more details now, we are joined on the line from Boston by CNN producer Fran Fifis.

Fran, what's happening now?

FRAN FIFIS, CNN PRODUCER: Stephen, the Massachusetts State Police, the FBI and the Transportation Security Administration are all questioning the female passenger who allegedly became disruptive on board United Flight 923 from Washington Dulles -- I'm sorry, on its way from Heathrow to Dulles airport.

The plain had to be diverted to Boston. Two F-15 fighter jets were scrambled and accompanied the flight as a precautionary measure, but officials are now downplaying the incident, suggesting there is no terror connection.

The woman in question is 60 years old. Some say she became claustrophobic.

She is in custody and charged with interfering with a flight crew. All 182 passengers and 12 crew were deplaned in a secure location on the tarmac. The passengers and crew were bussed to a sterile area in Terminal E. And as you can see, all the luggage is laid out on the tarmac and being inspected by bomb-sniffing dogs.

FRAZIER: All right, Fran. Thank you.

And just to recap, everybody well, nobody injured here, and the plane undamaged. And we'll follow events happening in Boston.

Of course, mindful of last week's alleged terror plot in London which was to target U.S.-bound flights, officials are quick to note that this incident apparently now not related to terrorism of any kind.

Dan Rivers has been following developments from the other side of the Atlantic -- Dan.

DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it seems now, as you say, that this was a false alarm. But nevertheless, it just highlights how jittery everyone is aboard the planes and at the airports, that we are in this heightened period of security and concern about aviation safety.

Just to reiterate what we know, the flight was -- took off from London Heathrow. It was suppose today go to Washington Dulles. It was diverted to Boston when a woman became disruptive.

Now, there were reports that she had a number of items aboard that she wasn't suppose to have, including a screwdriver, a tub of Vaseline, some matches. Now, that does pose questions, if that's true, about how those got on board.

You know, at the moment, people are allowed to take one item of hand baggage aboard, but they're not supposed to be taking any liquids or anything like Vaseline aboard. The only liquids allowed to go aboard are medicines or baby food. And you've got to wonder, you know, in this period of heightened searches, it's -- all of the airports here in the United Kingdom, how those items got aboard. And I would think there will be a big inquiry into that here in Britain.

FRAZIER: And similarly, with another kind of embarrassing breach today at Gatwick Airport, both of which come on a time when the home secretary, who has been so prominent in the investigation of the foiled plot, Dan, was welcoming other ministers from the European Union as they tried to coordinate their security, posture going forward.

RIVERS: That's right. There was another incident at Gatwick airport, the second airport in London, this morning, when a 12-year- old boy managed to get aboard without a flight without a passport or boarding pass. He had run away from a care home in the north of England.

I mean, again, you know, there was no terrorism there, but, you know, again highlights what is going on with the security here. How did he get through all of those checkpoints without showing any form of documentation.

So, again, a big inquiry into that. As you say, on the day when John Reid, the home secretary, has been meeting EU ministers, European ministers to talk about the threat of terrorism.

This is what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN REID, BRITISH HOME SECRETARY: The European Union, indeed the wider world, is now confronted by a form of terrorism that is unconstrained in its evil intention. And given the means of destruction on a massive scale, which is available through modern technology and biological, chemical and other means, is virtually unconstrained in its capacity and its ability to do immense harm, death and destruction.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RIVERS: They are remaining, then, very concerned about the security situation. Separately, the suspects arrested in this latest alleged plot, 23 of them, are currently going through court appearances just around the corner from me in a closed court session in central London. The police are asking a judge to allow them to detain those people for a further period of seven days.

They have a total of 28 days that they can hold them for. And we should get the result of that hearing in the next couple of hours.

FRAZIER: All right. Dan covering a lot of separate but related incidents related to air terrorism and the investigation under way in Britain.

Dan, thank you very much.

And still ahead on YOUR WORLD TODAY, northern Israeli residents returning home after spending so much of the month in bomb shelters.

Up next, though, keeping the peace. As the Lebanese cabinet meets to discuss the army's move to the south, we'll talk to a senior adviser to the Lebanese prime minister.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BOLTON, U.S. AMB. TO U.N.: But in terms of the end state that we're seeking, I think that's spelled out in Resolution 1559, which is that there's only going to be one legitimate government of Lebanon, and that armed militia groups, including Hezbollah, if you want to call them an armed militia group, as opposed to calling them terrorists, have to be disarmed as well. And so that -- that's the -- that's the objective that we're seeking.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: John Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., there speaking about the authority of the central Lebanese government and how he feels, as the U.S. does and Israel, that Hezbollah should be disarmed.

Now, we are hearing in the last few minutes that the Lebanese cabinet has approved plans to deploy 15,000 of its regular army troops to the southern part of Lebanon.

For more, I'm joined by Mohamed Chatah. He's the senior adviser to the Lebanese prime minister.

How is that different from the announcement that was made a few days ago?

MOHAMED CHATAH, SR. ADVISER TO LEBANESE PRIME MINISTER: A few days ago the council of ministers approved the idea of sending 15,000 Lebanese soldiers. Today, the council of ministers actually gave the marching orders. So, in the coming hours, we should see the Lebanese army actually being deployed in the south. GORANI: All right. So they're going to cross the Litani river and take their positions in the south.

CHATAH: Correct.

GORANI: How does that work when Hezbollah is saying disarmament talks are not on the table?

CHATAH: You'll hear a lot of things from a lot of people. The situation in the south is very clear, and the agreement within the cabinet is very clear.

The Lebanese army is going to go in. It will be the only authority with weapons. It will be in charge of security in the south. And any weapons or any people with weapons would be illegal. That's very clear.

And, in addition to that, there will be full respect of the blue line. That's the area in south Lebanon. So there is no question that the deployment of Lebanese army and the expected deployment of additional U.N. forces will be to make the central authority the only armed force in the south.

GORANI: What do you make of statements coming from Israel saying they will keep their soldiers on Lebanese soil for months, they will keep them here so long as there is no reinforced UNIFIL that will be able to keep the peace?

CHATAH: We believe that would be a big mistake. And that's not our understanding.

The Lebanese army is being deployed and will finish its deployment relatively quickly, in a matter of days, not months. And the assistance from the international force is coming first from U.N. forces already there, like 2,000, and in the coming days we expect a number of countries to send advanced contingents of additional U.N. forces. So we are not going to wait until the full 15,000 or so U.N. troops being deployed before Israel leaves the south.

GORANI: All right. Those are -- those are the statements coming from Israel. It seems to indicate that they would like a really strong, powerful U.N. observer force to be in place before they fully withdrawal.

That's not your understanding?

CHATAH: Our understanding is that, yes, there will be a U.N. force. It will be beefed up. And, more importantly, the Lebanese army is going to be there.

This is a small area in south Lebanon. And when the Lebanese council of ministers takes a decision to deploy 15,000 Lebanese army troops in the south, beefed up and assisted by the U.N., this should be enough for the Israelis to withdraw.

If they do not withdraw, that's a recipe of a resumption of conflict. And that's the last thing that we want. And what we believe is also true, that the international community wants. So we hope that that's not the case.

GORANI: Let me ask you about Hezbollah's disarmament, because skeptics say and pessimists say they're not willing to even start discussing giving up their weapons. In other words, you might have Hezbollah militias and many of these individuals live in the south -- it's not a question of them going to the north, where they don't live -- keeping their arms and coming into conflict with UNIFIL, with the Lebanese army if they're not willing to give up their arms when confronted.

Wouldn't that lead to conflict?

CHATAH: Let me make one thing clear. Hezbollah individuals are people who live in the south. And, yes, they will not leave their homes and villages and go elsewhere. However, an armed Hezbollah will not be in the south.

Now, more broadly, Lebanon-wide, on presence, is an issue that is important and will be addressed, not in an indefinite future, but shortly. The United Nations Security Council resolution sets a timeline. It says, in 30 days...

GORANI: Right.

CHATAH: ... the secretary-general has to report back to the Security Council with plans of how to implement those basic principles, including that Lebanon will not have armed groups throughout the country.

GORANI: Let me ask you about reports that we've heard. I'm sorry to put you on the stop if you haven't heard them.

Reports that Hezbollah is able to get cash in still, despite the fact that they've been prevented -- or that forces have prevented them from doing so from Iran. These are reports that we've heard today, that they're receiving large amounts of cash.

Is that something you've heard? And, if so, would you have a reaction to that?

CHATAH: Look, I'm not aware of wear the money is and how much money, how much cash is coming to Hezbollah. I can say this: if Hezbollah is helping people in this very difficult time, we're not going to stop people from receiving money. That would be very cruel.

However, however, we, as a state, are responsible for the people, and we're responsible for rebuilding. If Hezbollah wants to have a strong nation, a strong state, they should work within the state of Lebanon.

The same thing that we said before, if they want a strong army, a strong military to protect the country, they should not have their separate army. The same thing applies for their other works. If they're going to help with reconstruction and charity, they should work within the state and make it stronger, not establish a state within a state.

GORANI: All right. Thanks, Mohamed Chatah, the senior adviser to Fouad Siniora.

Thanks so much.

You're with YOUR WORLD TODAY.

A short break and we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Daryn Kagan at CNN Center in Atlanta.

More of YOUR WORLD TODAY in just a few minutes.

First, though, let's check on stories making headlines right now.

And here's what we know right now about the United Airlines flight that's been diverted to Boston.

A federal law enforcement officials tells CNN that a 60-year-old female passenger became disruptive. The flight was en route from London's Heathrow to Washington Dulles. The official says the woman got into a confrontation with two other passengers but says there was no security threat.

As a precaution, the plane made an unscheduled stop in Boston. There are conflicting reports on whether the woman was carrying prohibited or suspicious items.

The alleged airline terror case in court today. British investigators are asking a judge to let them keep the suspects in custody as police continue their probe.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales says there's no indication that the U.S. pressured Britain into arresting the suspects. He spoke with CNN's Wolf Blitzer for "THE SITUATION ROOM."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALBERTO GONZALES, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The British authorities took action when they believed it was absolutely necessary to do so. I'm not aware of any pressure by the United States upon the British to take action when they did.

These are -- these are very difficult decisions that have to be made by prosecutors all the time. They're exercising their best judgment. And when do you have enough information for a successful prosecution?

You don't want to wait too long where you put innocent lives at risk. We support the actions of the British authorities in this particular case.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KAGAN: You can see the entire interview with the attorney general on "THE SITUATION ROOM" at 7:00 Eastern, 4:00 Pacific.

Crisis in the Middle East. Here's what we know about that at this hour.

Civilians going back to southern Lebanon, and the death toll rises. Lebanese security officials say crews have pulled 56 bodies from collapsed buildings.

Lebanon's cabinet is discussing the cease-fire plan. Senior political sources say one item to be considered, integrating Hezbollah fighters into the Lebanese army. But sources say Hezbollah has rejected that idea.

Israeli soldiers move out, United Nations forces move in. The U.N. says it hopes to deploy as many as 3,500 troops to the region within the next two weeks.

A trial has been averted for a Virginia teen battling cancer. After a settlement with social services, Abraham Cheroks (ph) is allowed to choose alternative treatments instead of chemotherapy. Social workers had accused his parent of neglect because they supported his decision.

And a murky verdict in the battle over wind and water. After Hurricane Katrina, many families thought that insurance would cover the damage to their homes, but it didn't. So some sued. A judge has now ruled one couple's insurance company must pay for wind damage but not flood damage. Both sides claiming legal victory.

Attorney Dickie Scruggs explains the plaintiff's position.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD "DICKIE" SCRUGGS, TRIAL ATTORNEY: The court ruled that if there's wind damage, they have to cover wind damage. The companies, up until yesterday, Carol, had been taking the position that if there's any water damage, they don't even have to pay for wind damage, even if the wind is what blew your roof off.

They can't take that position any longer. This is a great victory.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KAGAN: Scruggs won about $1,200 for his clients. They would have had much more if the judge had allowed damages for storm surge. Scruggs plans to have further legal action.

Winds whipping up a fast-moving wildfire in Wyoming. It is threatening hundreds of homes near Casper. That's the state's second largest city.

Residents have been evacuated and the governor has declared a state of emergency. About 7,000 acres are scorched.

Fires are also burning today in California, Washington State, Iowa and Nevada.

(WEATHER REPORT)

KAGAN: A disarmed Hezbollah and Iran as a new power player. Some of the possibilities in the Middle East's future. Terror expert Jim Walsh joins "LIVE FROM" to talk about it.

Meanwhile, YOUR WORLD TODAY continues after a quick break. I'm Daryn Kagan.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FRAZIER: Welcome back to YOUR WORLD TODAY. I'm Stephen Frazier at CNN Center.

Israel says it is ready to stay in south Lebanon for months if necessary, until the Lebanese troops and a larger United Nations force deploy, as required by a cease-fire deal. The Lebanese cabinet is meeting right now to discuss sending 15,000 troops to the south, as well as the thornier question of whether Hezbollah will remain armed.

In the aftermath of last week's alleged terror plot against airliners, London is seeking continent-wide counterterror measures now. Britain's interior minister urged his European Union colleagues to unite for equal security for all countries, and the "London Times" is reporting that authorities are seeking the extradition of the man Pakistan names as the key planner of the alleged plot.

And a U.S. airliner, a United Airlines plane en route from Washington -- from London, was diverted to Boston following a confrontation among passengers en route. One passenger carrying prohibited materials is being questioned by authorities now. Officials say there is no security threat, and they point out that this is not a terror-related incident.

GORANI: All right. We'll get back to Stephen Frazier at the CNN Center in a moment. But now, more from the Middle East and this cease-fire that appears to be holding for three days now between Hezbollah and Israel.

Now, as tens of thousands of people return to Lebanon, Hezbollah is stepping up and stepping in to help rebuild some of the homes that were destroyed in the conflict over the last month. Across the border, Israel is also surveying the damage. But there, talk is perhaps moreso of political damage, both from within and outside of Israel. The question everyone there seems to be asking is, was it all worth it?

Now, we'll explore that issue in great detail a little later. But first, Jim Clancy had a chance to walk through the streets of Beirut and find out just how people are greeting the destruction and Hezbollah.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(CROWD CHANTING)

JIM CLANCY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the southern suburbs, the pro-Hezbollah chants infuse the Nasrallah rebuilding campaign with religious and political fervor. On the streets, volunteers assess damage and match their maps to the destruction Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has pledged to repair and rebuild. The promises are many.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

CLANCY: A religious figure from Hezbollah declares the work will extend all across Lebanon -- doctors, engineers and experts will be at the service of the people, and Hassan Nasrallah won't just replace their destroyed homes, he'll build them better ones.

"We believe in everything Hassan Nasrallah tells us," says this young shop owner.

A day after the war is over, Hassan's words are turning into actions. Some argue Hezbollah's aggressive rebuilding campaign smacks of his continued strategy to be a government within a government. He didn't consult Lebanon's elected leadership before carrying out the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers, and he's dictating who does what in the disaster's aftermath.

Tuesday, the government dispatched army engineers to create bypass roads around broken bridges. Heavy equipment was seen making emergency repairs to the runway at Beirut International Airport. Their job is bigger, more expensive and more difficult than Nasrallah's own, but it won't be seen that way among Lebanon's Shia Muslims.

While the government may have to take out loans or appeal for international aid, Nasrallah is able to make his promises, estimated to cost a billion dollars. If Iran is the one really paying, no one is willing to say.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: All right, well, Jim Clancy joins us live now. He's outside of the parliament building here in the Lebanese capital. And we've had a development in the last few minutes, Jim, with the cabinet approving that plan to send 15,000 soldiers to the south. Tell us more about that.

CLANCY: Well, the soldiers had already been earmarked to go to the south, so that much we already knew. The question is, step-by- step, how they are going to move in with UNIFIL forces or with the new UNIFIL forces that are coming from France, Turkey and other nations; how they're actually going to go through the process of deploying. And that altogether sticky issue of disarming Hezbollah or reaching some kind of a deal.

Now, we -- Prime Minister Fouad Siniora left just about two minutes ago without making a comment. Behind me, you can see some cars of the other ministers that are going out. We're going to trying to get some details of this. Because there's no doubt, the devil is in the details. Hezbollah has steadfastly said it is not going to remove its fighters. It has offered instead to have them in the south, but not carrying their arms.

There may be a law passed, there may be other measures. But many people look upon that as just wallpaper over the larger problem here and ask the question, is that going to be enough to satisfy the international community? -- Hala.

GORANI: All right. Jim Clancy, outside the parliament building in Beirut. Thanks very much, Jim.

Well, as the Lebanese pick up their lives and try to move on, so are many Israelis. Our Fionnuala Sweeney returns -- reports on some homecomings from Kiryat Shmona, Israel.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(AUDIO GAP)

FIONNUALA SWEENEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): ... three children have just arrived in Kiryat Shmona, after sitting out the conflict at her sister's home in Jerusalem.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): It was pleasant for me. I felt safer, and the kids were safe.

(AUDIO GAP)

SWEENEY: ... is known as Katyusha capital. Located minutes from the border with Lebanon, rockets rained down on the city almost daily for more than a month, resulting in about 80 percent of its residents seeking refuge farther south.

(AUDIO GAP)

SWEENEY: ... picking up the pieces. And, while they don't expect the cease-fire to last, for them, there was only one winner.

"I don't think that Nasrallah won," she says. "He didn't win. I just think that the...

(AUDIO GAP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I think the shooting should have stopped and there should be peace.

SWEENEY: Assaf's (ph) father, Yegal (ph), stayed behind when his family went south. Last week he was injured when a rocket exploded...

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: All right. We're having audio problem with Fionnuala's story there. We're going to fix those and get back with her report as soon as we can.

Now Lebanon is at a crossroads. How should the country proceed to help strengthen its government and its army. We'll speak to a panel of experts after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: Welcome back to YOUR WORLD TODAY, seen live in more than 200 countries around the globe on CNN International. I'm Hala Gorani in Beirut.

Now we've been able to fix the technical problems on Fionnuala Sweeney's story on Kiryat Shmona in Israeli, on the homecoming many Israelis are going through now that the conflict has ended. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SWEENEY (voice-over): Coming home after the war, Mali Cohen (ph) and her three children have just arrived at Kiryat Shmona after sitting out the conflict in her sister's home in Jerusalem.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): It was pleasant for me. I felt safer, and kids were safe, spending their summer vacation in Jerusalem.

SWEENEY: Kiryat Shmona is known as Katyusha capital. Located minutes from the border with Lebanon, rockets rained almost daily for more than a month, resulting in about almost 80 percent of its residents seeking refuge farther south. Three days into the cease- fire, the Cohens are picking up the pieces. And while they don't expect the cease-fire to last, for them, there was only one winner.

"I don't think that Nasrallah won," she says; "He didn't win. I just think there's some mistakes, but I believe everything will be OK. They cannot beat us."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I think the shooting should stop and should be peace.

SWEENEY: Assaf's father, Yegal, stayed behind while his family went south. Last week he was injured when a rocket exploded nearby.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: All right, we apologize again there for those audio problems. We will fix them, we promise, and we'll get back to Fionnuala's report as soon as we can.

Now the cease-fire is in place. It appears to be holding. It's three days old. And many Lebanese and Israelis, as we saw there in their stories, are returning home after a 34-day conflict.

To discuss ways Lebanon and Lebanon's relationship with Israel can move forward, I'm joined by Hisham Jaber from Paris, a former general in the Lebanese army, also David Gergen joins us from Boston. He's a former presidential adviser, and currently an author and professor at Harvard University. And Isaac Herzog joins us from Jerusalem. He's a member of the Israeli security cabinet.

Thanks to all three of you for joining us here on YOUR WORLD TODAY.

Mr. Herzog, if I could start with you.

Hezbollah has said it is not willing, right now, to discuss the issue of disarming itself. If it sticks to that line, will Israeli troops withdraw from Southern Lebanon as planned?

ISAAC HERZOG, ISRAELI SECURITY CABINET: First of all, it's a very problematic development. It's the responsibility of the Lebanese government. It's the responsibility of the United Nations. And I think it unravels and unveils the real truth in the Middle East, the fact that the international community is cheated time and again by Iran, by Hezbollah, by Syria.

This is the real problem we are faced with. This is the full responsibility of the Lebanese government. And now let's wait and see if all of their rhetoric was worth anything.

GORANI: All right. Well, let's ask the former Lebanese general, Hisham Jaber. Do you think that Hezbollah is going to hand over its arms to the regular Lebanese army, or if the regular Lebanese army confronts Hezbollah fighters with their arms, will that create conflict in Southern Lebanon again?

HISHAM JABER, FMR. GENERAL, LEBANESE ARMY: First of all, I have to say something, if Israel respect the resolutions of the United Nations and respect the sovereignty of Lebanon, there is no reason that Hezbollah would keep its arms and claim resistance to liberate Lebanon. We have only a little request from Israel, that to get finally out of Lebanon, and to leave Shebaa Farms and to give the Lebanese army, I think Hezbollah would not claim that it would keep its arms. If you are talking now, you create a problem when there is no problem. I think this invasion, which was barbarian, and the pretext for two prisoners was prepared before, and it didn't succeed in my option.

GORANI: Well, General Jaber, I need to bring in my other guests, I'm afraid. I'm sorry for interrupting, General Jaber. I'm going to get to David Gergen here. Thanks for being with us as well.

You see there already the disagreement. The cease-fire agreement has not even been implemented and interpretations appear to be very different there, David Gergen.

DAVID GERGEN, FMR. PRES. ADVISER: Well, they certainly do, and I think this is a major, major stumbling block. There has to be a way forward for at least a disarmament for Hezbollah that makes Israeli feel secure and safe from yet another attack. And absent that, I think it's going to be very difficult cult to get a United Nations force to go in. France has said -- has made it pretty clear that it was looking to Lebanese government to do this, and the Lebanese government is basically saying, we're not doing this; we don't think it's necessary. Until that dispute is resolved -- and that's why these meetings could be pivotal -- I don't think you're going to see a U.N. force go in, and I don't think you're going to see the Israelis leave.

So this is a critical moment now where the truth -- we're facing a moment of truth. Is Hezbollah going to be dismantled? And you know, if you look at it from the internal part of the Lebanese politics, it looks very hard to do.

GORANI: And so you sound pessimistic, David Gergen. Do you think this is going to stick, or do you think the seeds of conflict are still there?

GERGEN: Well, it's been interesting how many people on both sides, on the both the Israeli and Lebanese sides, said, well, this is round one, another round is probably coming.

I've been pessimistic since the beginning. This was a very spongy agreement, that did not have real teeth in it. The United Nations has twice passed resolutions that say that Hezbollah should be dismantled and disarmed. That has not occurred.

So what reason do we have to believe that a Lebanese government, which is even weaker now than it was, and with Nasrallah emerging stronger, in the minds at least of his own people, what reason do we have to believe that a Lebanese government, which is even weaker now than it was, and with Nasrallah emerging stronger in the minds, at least, of his own people, what reason do we have to believe that suddenly the lion is going to turn into a lamb?

GORANI: All right. We're going to get back to General Jaber in a moment, but first a question to Isaac Herzog, a member of the Israeli Security Cabinet. Can Israel -- and this is a fundamental question, Mr. Herzog. Can Israel live with an armed Hezbollah in the south that is not fighting?

HERZOG: Israel made it clear that this is impossible, and that's why, of course, we went to this operation, and that's why we adhered to the Security Council resolution. And we stick by its word. Namely, we're pulling out. We're coordinating with the United Nations. We will coordinate with the Lebanese army.

It's a real tragedy if, as Mr. Gergen rightly said, the Lebanese government fails in this moment of truce to exercise its full sovereignty. This will show the whole world and explain to the world why Israel went out there in the first place, and why it's impossible to do any deals with such a government.

GORANI: All right. Isaac Herzog, General Jaber, David Gergen, please stand by. A short break here on YOUR WORLD TODAY. We'll have more of our discussion in a few minutes.

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GORANI: Welcome back to YOUR WORLD TODAY. We're going to continue our discussion with our panel on the future for Lebanon and Israel and the relationship between the two countries. We're hearing that the Lebanese cabinet has approved and has discussed the logistics this day of the deployment of 15,000 of its regular troops of southern Lebanon. I'm going to bring back in the former Lebanese General Hisham Jaber, on what that might entail on the ground.

General, let me ask you this, and this is a very open question that I hear not only in Lebanon, but other countries around the world. What happens if a regular Lebanese army soldier encounters an armed Hezbollah fighter? Will it lead to confrontation? Will the Hezbollah fighter give up his arms? What might happen then?

JABER: I don't think the Lebanese army could make any political decision. The Lebanese army is executing the orders of the political authority in Lebanon, which is the government. When the political authority ordered the army to go to south Lebanon, the army is -- from those people, he will be welcome. He will execute the order, and I didn't think that Hezbollah would oppose the Lebanese army, which considered them like brothers.

And whether you like it or not, 80 percent or 70 percent of the Lebanese people support Hezbollah, even -- and especially after this war, because they were really credible and they made a clean war, even the aggression was not -- was no reason.

If you look at the casualties, for example, you'll find 90 percent of the casualties of 1,100 Lebanese who died are civilian, and you look to the other side, that 90 percent of the casualties among the Israelis are military. You see that there is a clean war here and dirty war here. Half of Lebanon was destroyed. Now the Lebanese people ...

GORANI: General Jaber, we're almost out of time. I apologize. I just want to get one quick last word in from David Gergen. Who is the victor, who is the loser in all of this? And give us a sense of what you expect in the next few weeks.

GERGEN: Well, I think the next few days are critical in the decision-making process about exactly what's going to happen to Hezbollah. The reports here in the United States are that the Lebanese people are going to be very reluctant to participate in time to disarm Hezbollah.

And more -- just as interestingly, Hezbollah, its social arm, is now moving very aggressively to help people in the south rebuild. I mean, they're promising money, they're trying to help them get apartments and that sort of thing.

Hezbollah seems to be in high standing there, and that's going to be a real threat to Israel. It's also going to help Iran. I think Iran is probably feeling very stronger now, and I think it's going to have some repercussions in Iraq. So I think these next few days are very, very critical.

GORANI: All right. David Gergen, former presidential adviser and Harvard professor, thanks so much. A big thanks as well to the former Lebanese general, Hisham Jaber, joining us live from Paris, as well as Isaac Herzog of the Israeli Security Cabinet.

That's it for this edition of YOUR WORLD TODAY, but stay with CNN. The news continues after a short break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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