UNITED NATIONS, August 7 (AP): The United States and France ran into strong opposition from Lebanon and the Arab world Sunday in their drive for speedy adoption of a U.N. resolution aimed at ending the escalating Israeli-Hezbollah conflict, primarily over the withdrawal of Israeli troops.
Washington and Paris had hoped to put the draft in final form for a Security Council vote Monday. But they delayed action after Lebanon and Qatar, the council's only Arab member, proposed many amendments to the US-French draft resolution - first and foremost demanding Israel pull its forces out of Lebanon once hostilities end.
The council was scheduled to meet Monday morning when the US and France are likely to present a revised text, taking into account some of the Arab concerns, with a view to a possible Security Council vote on Tuesday, council diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity because negotiations have been closed.
"The most important thing for us is to obtain the agreement of the Lebanese government (and) the Arab world," France's Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said on France-Info radio.
The flurry of UN meetings involving Security Council experts and the five veto-wielding council nations was accompanied by phone calls between key leaders trying to end 3 1/2 weeks of combat that have killed more than 600 on both sides, forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes and left Lebanon in tatters.
Since fighting began on July 12, the council has failed to take any action, except issuing two statements reacting to Israeli attacks on a U.N. observer post and a building crowded with civilians in Qana. The main obstacle has been U.S. refusal to support an immediate cessation of hostilities without addressing the requirements for a lasting peace.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Sunday urged the council to adopt the resolution, stressing it was aimed at stopping the large-scale violence to allow a focus on the underlying problems in the conflict.
"It's the first step, not the only step," she said at a news conference in Crawford, Texas, where she was meeting with President Bush at his ranch.
Meanwhile, Israeli warplanes repeatedly bombed Beirut's southern suburbs and pounded other areas of Lebanon on Monday, killing at least 15 people. Fierce fighting between Israeli soldiers and Hezbollah guerrillas in south Lebanon killed one soldier, the army said.
The new strikes and ground battles came hours before Arab League foreign ministers were to meet in Beirut for a hastily convened session to show solidarity with Lebanon.
Both sides appeared to take advantage of the days before a cease-fire resolution, formulated by the US and France, is put to a vote in the UN Security Council. Hezbollah rocket launched its deadliest rocket barrage on Israel Sunday, killing 12 Israeli soldiers and three civilians.
Israeli warplanes began carrying out a series of air raids on southern Lebanon early Monday.
Seven people were killed when a missile hit a house in Qassmieh on the coast north of the port city of Tyre, civil defense official Youssef Khairallah said. A woman and her daughter were killed in an attack near a Lebanese army checkpoint between the villages of Harouf and Dweir, security officials said. Four other people were killed in a raid on that destroyed a house in Kfar Tebnit.
Air raids on the town of Ghaziyeh also destroyed several buildings, killing at least one person and wounding 14, hospital officials said.
A building collapsed on its residents in the village of Ghassaniyeh, and at least one body was retrieved from under the rubble. Witnesses and civil defense workers at the scene said six more people were buried under the rubble but that could not be confirmed.