Mindful of all those who wait for these reports, I will continue to send them out to the best of my ability. But, I confess, it becomes increasingly difficult. I have in the past sent out long and complex descriptions of a situation that we were contending with, and those times didn’t feel nearly as difficult as writing this does.
The over-riding reason is a sense of grief that approaches, but does not reach, despair. Despair is not permitted. Coupled with this is a great deal of confusion. We didn’t expect the ceasefire to hold. But the way in which it is falling apart is mind-blowing. Shouldn’t be surprised, when all is said and done, but mind-blowing, none the less.
What we are seeing now is this (although within ten minutes of my sending this out the situation may change):
— Hezbollah doesn’t need to break the ceasefire by shooting rockets again, because everything is going their way. They are being rearmed by Iran via Syria. They will not be disarmed below the Litani River and will not be forced by the Lebanese army to move north of the Litani (all of which was theoretically required by the UNSC resolution).
According to the Post, a senior Hezbollah official, Hassan Fadlallah, told al-Jazeera, that Hezbollah will not evacuate its operatives from southern Lebanon since they are the ones who populate the region. "Any such withdrawal means the evacuation of southern Lebanon," he said. Please note the import of this statement. All those who have seen the population of south Lebanon as innocent might want to think again.
Apparently Hezbollah will be allowed to just sort of merge in with the Lebanese army or walk around with their guns hidden, looking innocent. And members of Hezbollah who currently are north of the Litani seem to be sneaking south with returning Lebanese refugees.
They want to rebuild the country, Hezbollah says — after which, it will be THEIR country.
— The Lebanese army — after much hesitation — will move down south of the Litani, reportedly starting tomorrow, but without really fulfilling the mandates of the ceasefire. The only function they will fill will be to take the place of the IDF (in terms of living bodies in uniform, not in any other sense) so that Israeli forces can go back to Israel.
— According to Deputy Chief of General Staff Maj.-Gen. Moshe Kaplinsky, if the Lebanese army takes up its positions in the south, the IDF will be able to leave within weeks. This apparent readiness of the IDF to leave Lebanon is a bit confusing, because they said they wouldn’t leave until the strengthened UNIFIL forces came (I’ll get to that in a minute), and certainly wouldn’t leave if Hezbollah wasn’t disarmed and was actually being rearmed. So? Will they walk out anyway?
The gov’t is still talking about diplomatic process. Foreign Minister Livni’s position is that the Lebanese have to answer for this, and if they don’t "international pressure" must be placed upon them until they do. In fact, Livni is meeting today with Annan.
Is there any courage anywhere without our alleged leadership to stand against the world here and say that we don’t have to conform with the ceasefire stipulations because everyone else is breaking them?
— As to the enhanced, greatly empowered UNIFIL forces to be led by France, I have this mind-blowing news: Even though they have soldiers on a boat and ready to come, they are thinking twice about sending them because they’re a bit vague about the mandate they’d have (remember that France helped to draft this), and they think it may be up to a year before they can send them. This is not a typo: up to a year. Of course, other nations are reluctant to move ahead if France is stalling.
I won’t ask about what Kofi Annan is doing in this situation. That would be downright stupid of me. But what about John Bolton, a very decent guy? And George Bush? And Condoleezza Rice? What do they have to say now? Am I missing something monumental that is going on behind the scenes?
If someone were writing a novel, or a movie script, and attempting to incorporate what I’ve just described, he would be accused of painting a scenario too ludicrous to be believed. But, hey, that’s life.
The UN should have been disbanded yesterday. It is less than worthless.
Defense Minister Peretz has now appointed a commission, headed by Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, a former IDF chief of staff, to investigate what mistakes were made in the war. Get ready for a lot of finger-pointing.
And I end with very good news, which is a significant example of why despair is forbidden (and also inappropriate):
Three planes of new olim (immigrants) coming from the US, Canada and the UK, arranged via the organization Nefesh b’nefesh, have arrived. This is the single largest influx of immigrants to come at one time (not counting those rescued from danger, such as the Ethiopians). That they come with joy at this time is the greatest sign of hope for our future. Welcome to them all.
This posting can be found at: https://arlenefromisrael.info/current-postings/2006/8/16/posted-august-16-2006.html