"If we adopt a resolution without fully considering the reality  of Lebanon we will face a civil war and, instead of helping Lebanon, we will destroy Lebanon," Sheikh Hamad al-Thani, Qatar's foreign minister, said on behalf of the Arab League.

Al-Thani said that a current French-US proposal for a new UN resolution on the conflict was unacceptable to Lebanon and the Arab League as it did not demand an immediate Israeli withdrawal.

Any resolution should call for "an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire and withdrawal of Israeli forces", Al-Thani said.

The UN Security Council, together with representatives from Lebanon, Israel and the Arab League, is drafting a resolution aimed at ending nearly four weeks of fighting between Israel and Hezbollah.

But while all parties agree on the need for an international peace-keeping force to be deployed in Lebanon, divisions remain.

Israel says that it will not withdraw from Lebanon until the Lebanese government and the UN prevent Hezbollah firing rockets at its cities.

Lebanon says that Israel should withdraw immediately without waiting for an end to Hezbollah's rocket attacks, which the Arab League argues are a legitimate response to foreign occupation.

International force

About 1,000 Lebanese and more than 100 Israelis have been killed since fighting began on July 12

Faced with the strong Arab objections, France and the United States are revising their draft resolution.

Under discussion is when and what kind of an international force would go in to support the Lebanese army, which US officials believe is not strong enough to subdue Hezbollah.

Lebanon announced on Monday that it was sending 15,000 troops to the south, which has been dominated by Hezbollah since Israel ended a 22-year occupation in 2000.

Diplomats in New York initially hoped that a resolution might be passed on Wednesday, but continued negotiations mean that a vote may not happen before Thursday.