Transcript: Israeli Ambassador, Lebanese Adviser on 'FNS'

The following is a partial transcript from the Aug. 6, 2006, edition of "FOX News Sunday With Chris Wallace":

"FOX NEWS SUNDAY" HOST CHRIS WALLACE: Joining us now from Beirut is Mohamad Chetah, senior adviser to the prime minister of Lebanon.

Mr. Chetah, is this report out of Beirut official? Has the Lebanese government rejected the draft U.N. Security Council resolution?

LEBANESE ADVISER MOHAMAD CHETAH: Chris, there was no rejection of the proposed resolution. We have a view of how best to have an immediate cease-fire and to make it stick and to solve the problems to prevent the conflict from reoccurring.

We want an immediate cease-fire because, as you reporter said a few seconds ago, people are dying and mostly civilians. We need to put a stop to it.

Now, our plan has a number of important elements that will make it work. The proposed plan lacks the steps after the call for cease-fire to actually have changes on the ground.

Right now we have people locked in battle on the ground, and we have airplanes bombing towns and villages and we have rockets being lobbed to the other side.

What we are saying is that we should have an immediate cease-fire, and right away we should have a mutual separation where Israel does withdraw to the border and the Lebanese army goes into the south of Lebanon, assisted by international force that's already there, and controls all the military sites, all the bunkers, all the weapons that are in the south.

So very quickly we can have not only a call for a cease-fire, but a situation where the Israelis are behind the Lebanese-Israeli border and where the Lebanese army, which should be the army in control of the south, will indeed be the only force in charge of the south.

This is a very clear, laid out plan to get a cease-fire and to make it work.

WALLACE: But, Mr. Chetah, the fact is for the last two years the Lebanese army has not been able to establish control in southern Lebanon.

If, as this resolution provides for in the Security Council, Israel would be allowed to stay in southern Lebanon until an international force comes in at some point — and it probably would be several days or weeks — do you believe that Hezbollah will cease fighting?

CHETAH: Logic of the plan that we have laid out is not only to have steps to follow immediately the cease-fire and prevent it from becoming sheer words.

In addition to that, we have an agreement on the underlying issues that have caused the conflict to recur over the years. We have a very logical and sensible way to deal with the territorial problem we have in the south — namely, the Shebaa Farms area.

As you probably are well aware, this is an area that borders the Golan Heights, and the border is not well-delineated, and we strongly believe that this slice of land, which is about 18 square miles, is Lebanese.

What we are saying is until that issue is settled, the U.N. should have custody of that piece of territories pending delineation.

That way we remove the underlying border dispute, if you wish, and the meantime we can work on all the arrangements, security arrangements, all the monitoring arrangements to go back to a stable and secure situation in the south based on an armistice agreement, something which we had for two decades in the '40s and '50s which can work.

WALLACE: Mr. Chetah, I believe you're not answering my question, however. What I'm asking you — because all of those other issues — Shebaa, the Lebanese army taking control down south — all of those would come in a second resolution.

What I'm asking you directly is, if this week the U.N. Security Council passes this first resolution and it allows Israel to stay in southern Lebanon, do you believe that Hezbollah — if Israel stops fighting, Hezbollah will also stop fighting, that there will be an immediate cessation of violence?

CHETAH: Yes, I do. And just to correct what you just said, the first resolution has the elements, the underlying elements, including Shebaa Farms and the other elements. The second resolution is supposed to include provisions for the international support, the international force.

What we are saying is that these elements in the first resolution will underpin the cease-fire and make it stick. We want an agreement on where we want to be.

In other words, we are now in a crazy war. We wanted the end to have peace and security and to have the Lebanese army in charge of Lebanese territory.

The issue is how to get from here to there. And we have a clear path. We are saying the Lebanese army, right after the cease-fire, right after the first resolution, takes charge of the south, takes over military positions at the same time that Israel withdraws to the border.

If we adopt a fuzzy plan waiting for some international force to be put together, in the meantime things can escalate, and they probably will, and can spill over to other countries in the region, and that's the last thing that anyone wants.

So let's follow a sensible plan, fill in the gaps that are in the current resolution, make it work and make it work now.

WALLACE: Mr. Chetah, we're going to have to leave it there. We want thank you so much for joining us today.

With us now here in studio, Israel's ambassador to the U.S., Daniel Ayalon.

Mr. Ambassador, welcome.


WALLACE: I'm going to ask you the same question I asked Mr. Chetah. Will Israel abide by the draft resolution that is before the U.N. Security Council now? If it's passed, will Israel stop fighting immediately?

AYALON: Well, absolutely. But for the draft resolution to pass, it has to be, I mean, imposed on both sides. And what it calls for very specifically is to deal with the root cause of this immediate conflict, which is the safe return and unconditional return of our two hostages, the two soldiers.

Once we get them back, then there is no reason to continue right now. Secondly, of course...

WALLACE: But wait, because that's not what it says. What it basically says — these are issues that are going to have to be dealt with down the line.

AYALON: No, no.

WALLACE: You're saying that you're going to continue fighting until you get the hostages back.

AYALON: Absolutely. And also, the resolution clearly marks this as the root cause, and when it talks about a cease-fire, it's more than a cease-fire, Chris. It's the end of hostilities.

The end of hostilities includes this correcting the violation of the kidnaping. That means the return of the hostages. This is part of the hostilities. So this is embedded right there in the resolution.

Secondly, of course, it's the end of all the violence from the Hezbollah, and the most important is the disarming and the arms embargo — that is, to make sure no more armaments from Syria and Iran go into the Hezbollah.

This is all part and parcel of this resolution. And once all these elements are in there, I can guarantee you that Israel will cease fire.

By the way, I'm quite surprised at the Lebanese of not taking it and endorsing this resolution. They are the ones who have said all along we want cease-fire, it's our people who suffer.

Well, what do they do in order to stop the suffering? I suspect that they do not work for Lebanese interests here, but for Syrian and Iranians.

WALLACE: Well, let me ask you about one of the points that they made, though. They say that as part of this cease-fire that Israel should pull out of southern Lebanon and let the Lebanese army take over.

Will Israel agree to do that or are you going to stay in southern Lebanon until an international peacekeeping force comes in?

AYALON: We will stay as long as we know that there is a new regime in place, which will make sure Hezbollah doesn't deploy there and disarm. The Lebanese...

WALLACE: Do you trust the Lebanese army to do that?

AYALON: Not quite. The Lebanese army had six years to do it. They have not done it. 2004, there was Resolution 1559 by the U.N. Security Council which was (inaudible). It was not implemented.

2000, Israel pulled all together implementing Resolution 475 of the U.N., and they had chance to implement their side — that is, disarming the Hezbollah and deploy their own army. They didn't do it.

Back in 1989, Taif Agreement calls for the disarming of the Hezbollah and all other militias. All other terror organizations there were dismantled but the Hezbollah, because of the strength of Syria and Iran in Lebanon.

So we have to cut this Gordian knot. This is the root cause here, the grip of Iran and Syria over Lebanon.

WALLACE: What you're saying is that Israel — even if this resolution is passed on Tuesday, Israel will keep fighting until you get your kidnapped soldiers back, until the end of rearming of Hezbollah from Syria and Iran, that you're going to continue to fight.

AYALON: Chris, this resolution has requests or demands from both sides, but first and foremost is for the other side to return the soldiers to us, the kidnaped soldiers, and to disarm the Hezbollah, and to impose an arms embargo on all the international crossings in Lebanon so Syrian and Iranian arms cannot go in.

If this is done by the Lebanese, of course we'll stop the fighting immediately.

WALLACE: And if it's not done?

AYALON: We will have to do it ourselves.

WALLACE: You'll have to do it yourselves, meaning...

AYALON: Absolutely.

WALLACE: ... more fighting.

AYALON: Yes, defending ourselves.

WALLACE: In the meantime, will Israel continue offensive operations in southern Lebanon?

AYALON: Yes. We have an obligation first to protect our own soldiers, our own towns. You've seen today we are receiving 100, 200 Katyusha rockets every day. This is a terror weapon, indiscriminate, which was especially converted to kill civilians like we had today, with shrapnels, ball bearings which are put in there.

These weapons is not against military. It's against civilians only, so of course we have to do it. We have to make sure that the Hezbollah is no longer on our border, at a safe distance, but most importantly that they are disarmed.

WALLACE: Ambassador Ayalon, hasn't this war been a very mixed success so far for Israel? Didn't your government badly underestimate the ability of Hezbollah to resist moderate Arab countries which in the beginning were condemning Hezbollah, are now lining up against Israel?

In fact, has the situation — are the forces of extremism in the Middle East stronger or weaker at this moment than they were 25 days ago?

AYALON: I think when all is said and done, they will be much weaker. I don't think Israel miscalculated. I don't think we have handled ourselves badly. We have been very careful.

You have to remember, we are fighting an enemy which doesn't have positions. Hezbollah doesn't have camps per se. They embed themselves in and among heavily populated areas, so it's very tough for us to deal with that, because we do not want to harm innocent civilians.

Now, people are telling me well, the Arab world is mad now. They've always been mad. But what's more important now, frankly, is to deal the blow to terrorism. We will deal with the P.R. later. Most important now is to make sure that terrorism doesn't reign.

WALLACE: Ambassador Ayalon, we want to thank you so much for coming in today.

AYALON: Thank you.