Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

22 Av 5766 - August 16, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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A Tense Cease-Fire and Hopes for the Future

by M Plaut and Yated Ne'eman Staff

Under UN Security Council Resolution 1701, Israel and Hizbullah are to stop fighting, Hizbullah is to be removed from southern Lebanon and the border is to be patrolled by an enlarged U.N. peacekeeper force of 15,000 personnel. The Lebanese army is also expected to send thousands of troops to the South in an implementation of previous U.N. resolution 1559 that was passed six years ago when Israel withdrew from Lebanon.

As we go to press under our summer schedule on Monday, the Resolution has taken effect, but Jerusalem planners reportedly do not expect it to hold. On Sunday, the Lebanese government did not meet to approve sending its army to south Lebanon as called-for under the cease-fire agreement, and no venue was given for a later meeting. The approval was reportedly blocked by Hizbullah, which is part of the Lebanese government, but its forces in the south must be disarmed according to the agreement.

On Monday hours after the cease-fire took effect, IDF troops shot and killed a Hizbullah fighter who was threatening them.

Israel announced that it would cease all its initiatives to clear the areas of Hizbullah fighters, but feels empowered to respond forcefully to any Hizbullah violations or threats.

On Sunday the IDF took up positions along the Litani River, in anticipation of the cease fire. After weeks of hesitation about launching a wider ground move into Lebanon, the IDF began such an operation late on Friday, just before Shabbos. Shabbos itself was the bloodiest day of the conflict so far, R"l, and 24 soldiers were killed Hy"d.

Hizbullah fired 250 rockets into Israel on Sunday, the largest amount yet in a single day. Apparently it wanted to indicate that it could still fight the day before the cease- fire. Through chasdei Shomayim the salvos were relatively ineffective and mostly fell in open areas. Seven soldiers were killed on Sunday Hy"d and more than 30 were wounded.

Israeli authorities asked many communities in the north to remain in bomb shelters until Hizbullah intentions become clearer. OC Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin was very pessimistic about the chances of Hizbullah abiding by the agreement.

UN Security-General Kofi Annan sent a letter to the Israeli government warning that if one side was fired upon, the other side should not respond except in immediate self-defense. A source in the Prime Minister's Office called Annan's letter unacceptable. Israel asserts its right to respond vigorously to Hizbullah if it breaks the cease-fire.

Israeli diplomats were trying to stress the importance of an agreement being binding on both sides. In the past, Israel has been held to international agreements, while Arab parties have been excused with the assessment that they are wild and cannot be expected to fully comply. Israeli spokesman have been stressing that such asymmetric implementations have no hope of being sustainable.

The agreement calls for the Lebanese army and an international force based on the expanding the existing UNIFIL soldiers in south Lebanon to ensure that Hizbullah does not remain a "state within a state" in the south and build up its arms once again. The Lebanese army is not a very effective fighting force, and many of its troops are also Shiites like Hizbullah. The UN force will be made up of soldiers from many nationalities, and it will be armed. However it is not expected to be strong enough to disarm Hizbullah by force. The hope is that the combined forces will be enough to keep Hizbullah arms out after Israel has disarmed the militants.

Analysts said that Israel was hoping to withdraw as soon as possible so as not to be subject to attacks from Hizbullah. It has no territorial ambitions but to live in peace within its recognized borders.


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