Is The Ceasefire About To Break Down?

As per usual with any significant UN led endeavor, the Israeli/Lebanese ceasefire agreement is quickly turning into a complete debacle.

Of course, from the beginning, Hezbollah wasn’t required to turn over the kidnapped soldiers and they’ve only slowed down their attacks, not stopped.

Moreover, Hezbullah isn’t planning to turn over their weapons:

“Hizbullah will not hand over its weapons to the Lebanese government but rather refrain from exhibiting them publicly…”

Nor have they withdrawn from the South:

“Hezbollah refused to disarm and withdraw its fighters from the battle-scarred hills along the border with Israel on Tuesday, threatening to delay deployment of the Lebanese army and endangering a fragile cease-fire.

The makings of a compromise emerged from all-day meetings in Beirut, according to senior officials involved in the negotiations, and Prime Minister Fouad Siniora scheduled a cabinet session Wednesday for what he hoped would be formal approval of the deal. Hezbollah indicated it would be willing to pull back its fighters and weapons in exchange for a promise from the army not to probe too carefully for underground bunkers and weapons caches, the officials said.”

Of course, the only surprise here is that Hezbollah is so openly breaking the ceasefire agreement this early on in the process and risking another major Israeli incursion:

“Israel will resume operations in Lebanon if a United Nations force being assembled to deploy in the south of that country does not disarm Hezbollah guerrillas, the Jerusalem Post daily reported Wednesday, quoting ‘an official in the prime minister’s office.’

The Israeli warning comes in reaction to reports in the Israeli media that Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Sinora reached a deal with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah allowing the guerrilla group to retain its weapons but to refrain from exhibiting them in public.

….’The resolution is clear that Hizbullah needs to be removed from the border area, embargoed and dismantled,’ the Israeli official said.

The resolution calls for implementation of all previous resolutions which require ‘the disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon’ and states that the area between the Israeli border and the Litani River must be ‘free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the government of Lebanon’ and the United Nations force.”

This ceasefire hasn’t been particularly popular and there are a lot of people, myself included, who’d like nothing better than for Israel to declare it a failure and go back to bombing Lebanon (and, cross your fingers, Syria) in order to force a resolution that’s more to their liking. Will that happen? We don’t know yet, but given the unpopularity of this ceasefire in Israel, the terrorist claims of “victory,” and Hezbollah’s immediate and flagrant violations of the terms of the agreement, it’s looking more likely every day that this ceasefire won’t last.

Let’s hope that’s the case. The more destruction in Southern Lebanon and the more dead Hezbollah fighters, the better things will go for Israel in the long run.

Besides, if the Israelis, and for that matter the Bush Administration, roll over and accept a ceasefire when Hezbollah isn’t even pretending to go along with it, what does that do to their credibility? We’re talking about a ceasefire that most people seem to think was a bad deal for Israel in the first place and a win for Hezbollah. If Hezbollah is allowed to break the agreement with impunity before it really gets started, then that would seem to indicate that Israel and the Bush Administration aren’t really serious about dealing with the situation.

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