As part of the ceasefire agreement, a joint Lebanese-international force is to position itself between Hezbollah and the Israeli military in an area about 30km north of the Israeli border, just south of the Litani river.
In the face of much criticism, Alain Pellegrini, the force commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), predicted that the UN resolution would strengthen the UNIFIL force, which has been virtually ineffective since its creation in 1978.
UN resolution 425 established UNIFIL in response to the increased fighting between the Palestinian Liberation Organization and Israeli forces on the Israel-Lebanon border. It was meant to assure the withdrawal of Israeli forces, restore international peace and security and assist the Lebanese government in regaining its authority in southern Lebanon. Israeli forces did not leave Lebanon until April 2000.
Regardless of the current ceasefire, hostility remains between Hezbollah and Israel, both of whom declared their plans to continue fighting a war that apparently has not ended. Hezbollah said that it will fight Israel until every soldier has left Lebanon and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert swore to hunt down Hezbollah’s leaders.
These statements raise questions about the sustainability of such a fragile agreement. The French general in charge of the UN peacekeeping force Monday requested reinforcements immediately in order to prevent any “stray act,” which could completely discredit the ceasefire and dissolve the diplomatic effort.
Both parties to the war in Lebanon claim to have won. Hezbollah reported a total of 68 fighters killed by Israeli soldiers while Israel reported that 530 soldiers had been killed by Hezbollah since July 12. Although Olmert and Peretz have endured heavy criticism, Olmert called the war and the UN resolution that stopped it “an important victory for Israel that changed the strategic balance in the region and badly weakened Hezbollah.”
Israel succeeded to not only weaken but destroy much of the civilian structure in southern Lebanon. Currently, 60 countries and aid agencies arrived in southern Lebanon upon Sweden’s invitation to rebuild homes and roads. The amount of aid needed is still unknown.