A year ago only the sound of bombardments could heard echoing over Hizbollah’s stronghold in Beirut’s southern suburbs. Despite the massive damage caused, many Lebanese say they are proud of what they consider victory. “Lebanon has won the aggresive war waged by Israel. It’s a victory that many in Lebanon were slow to admit until the Israelis themselves said it was a victory for Hizbollah,” according to one man on the streets of the capital. The war started after Hezbollah fighters launched a cross-border attack into Israel from a southern village. They captured two Israeli soldiers and killed several others.
Of the 5.5 billion euros pledged for reconstruction, less than one billion has been received as most of it was tied to economic rreforms which Lebanon’s government has failed to enact. On the eve of the anniversary, Prime Minister Fouad Siniora issued an appeal for unity: “We face many different challenges – the first of which is rebuilding what Israel destroyed and making up for the losses we suffered from our internal fighting,” he said. The 34-day war between Israel and Hezbollah claimed nearly 1,200 Lebanese lives – most of them civilians. Thousands more were injured and hundreds of thousands were forced to flee their homes