Monday, August 14, 2006

Cease Fire between Israel and Hezbollah Holds…For Now

Don’t get me wrong, I am more than hopeful that the cease fire that both sides are sticking to today will become permanent.  Yet, some how I suspect that we have not seen the end of this conflict, and this feeling primarily is derived from the statements of leaders on both sides of the conflict.

On Hezbollah’s side, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah, said "We are today before a strategic, historic victory, without exaggeration." He also claimed that the destruction of South Lebanon by Israel was a result of Israel’s “impotency”, and that now was not the time to demilitarize Hezbollah. Perhaps the last statement is the most important to me.

And more fundamentalist Muslims are taking this as an unreserved victory against Israel as well. Reports say that over 50 babies have been named after the Sheik in the past week, and Hamas was so inspired by the victory that they have notched two more kidnappings to their belt, this time Fox News journalists who were kidnapped from Gaza City.

Plus, Hamas has indicated that, from this point on, they are going to using the tactics that were so successful for Hezbollah in this conflict, intensifying missile attacks and making small infiltrations into Israel.  "The accent will be on better equipment and training," an official said. "We expect to see anti-tank missiles, roadside bombs and greater use of tunnels to infiltrate Israel."

On the flip side, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has indicated that the cease fire agreement has eliminated the “state within a state”, or the virtual ruling of South Lebanon by Hezbollah which allowed them to fire rockets into Israel.  Olmert has said the agreement will prevent rockets from being fired into Israel, but based on the words of Nasrallah, that seems doubtful.

The agreement calls for a large peace-keeping force, consisting of both Lebanese soldiers and UN soldiers, to be inserted between the two sides, but these soldiers will not arrive on the scene for 72 more hours.  Already a few small skirmishes have broken out in that time, as Israeli soldiers have felt threatened by oncoming Hezbollah guerillas.  Whether all-out war will break out in those 72 hours is a larger question.

I am a huge believer in peace, and I pray for it every day, so I have to be hopeful that there is a cease fire agreement in place.  But I can’t help but worry that this conflict is not over yet.  Perhaps it needs to continue for Israel to maintain its existence. But either way, I don’t think we’ve seen the end of Hezbollah’s reign of terror inside the Israeli borders.

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Posted by Scottage at 3:30 PM / | |