The fighting rages on in Lebanon between the Israeli army and Hezbollah guerillas even though both parties signed off on the U.N. cease fire resolution. The Lebanese Cabinet approved the measure Saturday morning during an all out military assault by the Israelis. The Israeli Cabinet did likewise on Sunday after a stormy debate as their troops inflicted further damage in southern Lebanon. The cease fire is slated to go into effect at 8:00 am Monday morning.
But will it? Will the seemingly gratuitous violence inflicted on Saturday and Sunday burn in hearts of fighters on both sides? How easy will it be for those intent on destruction to lay down their arms as the clock ticks past 8:00?
Will the month long yet to be negotiated cease fire turn into a week’s long yet to be implemented cease fire? The Hezbollah leader said his soldiers would have the right to fight as long as Israeli troops occupied Lebanon. The deployment of Lebanese and International troops could take weeks.
The Israel leader noted their country would continue to have the right to “defend itself”. Noting a month long war arose from Israel’s right to defend itself, I wonder what new limits the cease fire brings on these two words, if any.
Might that have been one of the topics during President Bush’s phone call with the Lebanese Prime Minister?
President Bush had an 8-minute phone call Saturday with Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora to discuss the truce. The White House said it is determined to vanquish the hold of Hezbollah - and that of its Syrian and Iranian benefactors - on the south.
"These steps are designed to stop Hezbollah from acting as a state within a state, and put an end to Iran and Syria's efforts to hold the Lebanese people hostage to their own extremist agenda," Bush said.
As a hostage did the Prime Minister ask Bush for help? With the gun pointed at his head did Mr. Saniora reveal his captor? At the moment the kidnapper of the Lebanese democracy appears to be Israel. Did the Lebanese P.M. reveal the extremists' plot? Destruction of one of the most liberal democratic countries in the Middle East to impose Western values certainly sounds twisted, reminiscent of Vietnam when soldiers said “we destroyed the village in order to save it”.
I don’t imagine Mr. Saniora thanked President Bush for anything but not being on the call, I wouldn’t know. However, I can hazard a guess what the two Christian leaders said after they hung up and it likely had little to do with loving one’s neighbor. That message disappeared over a month ago.