Southern Lebanon holds its breath as the UN ceasefire comes into effect. UN Resolution 1701 dictates that Israel and Hizbollah put an end to hostilities at 7 o’clock central European time. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ordered his troops to obey the ceasefire five hours before the deadline, although there were reports of Israeli strikes with just minutes to go. Hizbollah has also declared it will respect the resolution, but both sides retain the right to act in self-defence.
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni made it clear what Israel expects from the resolution. “This is a test also, not only for the Lebanese government but also for the Lebanese community. I mean we expect the international community not only to take the right resolution which was upheld by the security council a few days ago, but also to implement this resolution.”
The Lebanese government must deploy 15 000 soldiers to the region to help disarm Hizbollah. Israel must let an international force replace its troops in southern Lebanon. It’s a start say analysts, but many tough challenges lie ahead.