- Even though the governments of Israel and Lebanon have now approved the UN resolution calling for a ceasefire which is set to take effect Monday morning, fierce fighting continues in Lebanon. On Saturday, Israel lost 19 soldiers and according to Reuters: 'Israeli air raids killed at least 17 people, and more than 200 rockets fired by Hizbollah hit northern Israel, killing a 70-year-old man and wounding at least 18 people. Some rockets hit the center of Israel's port city of Haifa but there were no immediate reports of casualties.'
Further, Monday's deadline for a ceasefire is sure to pass without compliance by Israel since it refuses to have its troops leave Lebanon until the newly mandated UN peacekeeping force is in place - a process that, according to Israel's Foreign Minister could take ten days.
At least 1,082 people in Lebanon and 144 Israelis, including 104 soldiers, have been killed in the war.
Analysts cautioned that a truce may not hold, particularly with Israeli troops still in Lebanon.
"I think this talk of a ceasefire going into effect tomorrow seems to be highly exaggerated and dubious," said Mouin Rabbani, senior Middle East analyst with the International Crisis Group.
So, Monday will come and go. Israeli troops will remain in southern Lebanon while their missiles continue to be lobbed into other parts of the nation. Hezbollah will keep fighting and the international community will be powerless to convince a stubborn Olmert to end his occupation. And, the country and people of Lebanon will continue to be destroyed while Israel will sacrifice more soldiers and civilians because Olmert cannot admit that he has lost. International laws will continue to be violated. Protesters around the world will still have to take to the streets. The humanitarian crisis will go on unabated. The Palestinian people will still be ignored. Israelis in bomb shelters will keep suffering and more children will die.
War does not determine who is right - only who is left.
Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind. ~John F. Kennedy, 1961
The world has achieved brilliance without wisdom, power without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war that we know about peace, more about killing that we know about living. ~Omar Bradley
- CNN now has a little 'Countdown to cease-fire' clock on its teevee screen which will stay up until 1 am ET (the time when the fighting is supposed to end). I think they'll have to keep that little feature up for weeks, not hours, at the rate things are going.
- Israeli government officials are spinning this as a great victory for their country.
"The decision is good for Israel. I am not naive. I live in the Middle East and I know that not every decision in the Middle East is implemented and yet I still say it's good for Israel. It can lead to the real change in the Middle East that we have all been waiting for."
She noted that "The world now understands that Israel will not accept a terrorist organization on our border firing upon our citizens. We achieved most of our goals. If it's implemented, the change has been dramatic."
Livni also added that "nothing from the UN was forced on us. It was the Foreign Ministry acting for our interest from the first days of the war. When it became clear that the Lebanese government was too weak to enforce its takeover of the south, we asked international forces to come in."
Umm...what? International forces (UNIFIL) were already in Lebanon and had been since 1978. And just which 'goals' did they achieve? Their captured soldiers are still missing. Hezbollah has not been destroyed. They've lost soldiers and citizens. They incurred the wrath of the world for their war crimes. They've weakened Lebanon's democratically-elected government. They've destroyed billions of dollars worth of infrastructure and have created a massive crisis in Lebanon.
So, after all of that, which 'goals' have they accomplished? How can this possibly be seen as a 'great victory', as Arye Mekel, the Israeli Consul General in New York just boasted to a CNN anchor?
more to come...