There has been some respite for Lebanese civilians but not for Hizbollah in the Middle East. Israel has agreed to a 48-hour suspension of air attacks after more than 50 people were killed in strikes on the village of Qana on Sunday. Dozens more bodies have since been discovered by rescue teams in other villages and towns bombarded by Israeli aircraft in the past three weeks.
The official death toll in Lebanon is close to 600, but the real figure is thought to be much higher. The conflict has claimed some 50 lives on the Israeli side. Despite the suspension of air strikes, there has been no respite in the land offensive with further border clashes claiming more lives on both sides on Monday.
Israel had warned any Hizbollah assaults would meet retaliation. In a heated debate in parliament, defence minister Amir Peretz said Israel could not agree to an immediate ceasefire. “That would allow the extremists to rear their heads again.(…) In a few months, we would be back in the same place again,” he said, drawing heckling on the part of several Arab Israeli lawmakers who were escorted out.