BEIRUT (AFP) – Lebanese MPs have continued for a second day their round-the-clock protest at Israel’s continued blockade, almost three weeks after a UN-brokered ceasefire in its deadly onslaught against Hezbollah. Parliament speaker Nabih Berri took part in the protest along with two ministers and nine deputies, with similar size rotations expected to continue until the blockade is lifted, officials said.

Foreign Minister Fawzi Sallukh said Lebanon was taking steps to get the blockade lifted."The Israeli blockade is in violation of (UN Security Council) Resolution 1701, and we have taken steps to make sure it is lifted," Sallukh said according to the official ANI news agency."The sit-in is an important step toward helping the executive branch in its efforts to lift the blockade."Israel imposed a blanket air and sea blockade on Lebanon following the July 12 capture of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah militants, a blockade it has maintained despite the halt to hostilities on August 14 following the passage of Resolution 1701.

The Jewish state has demanded that international forces and Lebanese army troops deploy in south Lebanon to prevent more weapons from reaching Hezbollah, which has not disarmed despite the terms of the UN text which established a truce after 34 days of fighting.

Qatar Airways said it would resume direct flights from Doha to Beirut on Monday despite the Israeli blockade.

The only two companies which have so far been authorized to operate commercial flights to Beirut, via Amman, are Lebanon’s Middle East Airlines and Royal Jordanian.

Lebanese Defense Minister Elias Murr said Saturday he had been assured Israel would lift its air and sea blockade within a week.