With the composition of the new UN force in Lebanon about to become clear, Israel has said that until the peacekeepers are deployed, its soldiers will not withdraw from southern areas of the country. After meeting her Greek counterpart, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said that much was at stake.
“This is a moment of opportunity to change the situation in the region but it depends, of course, not only on Israel. It depends mainly on the Lebanese government and on the international community’s determination,” she said in Tel Aviv. Israel has also vowed to maintain its partial sea and air blockade until peacekeepers are monitoring Lebanon’s border with Syria – something which has been rejected outright by Damascus. Many Israeli soldiers meanwhile have been heading home, where criticism continues over the government’s handling of the conflict.