Israel’s officially-stated goals in Lebanon – to retrieve kidnapped Israeli soldiers and to destroy Hizbollah – have not been accomplished.
Much death and destruction came from the pursuit of these goals.
So, what was the point of using such force?
Alan Ben David, a correspondent with Israel’s most-watched Channel Ten television, offers this answer.
“One of the points was to reconstruct (the) Israeli deterrent image in the eyes of the neighbourhood and that was achieved to a certain extent. It demonstrated that kidnapping two of its soldiers is not something you do without paying a price,” he said.
Criticism was levelled at Israel throughout the four weeks of its military operations that its retaliation was disproportionate.
The figures are not yet official but well over 1,000 mostly civilian Lebanese are estimated to have been killed and some 970,000 – around a quarter of the population – forced to seek refuge.
Agency sources say as many as 156 Israelis – mostly soliders – were killed and some five percent of the Israeli population displaced.
Lebanon’s economic losses are more difficult to gauge but the early damage estimates point to staggering losses for such a small country.
That is against the backdrop of some six billion euros-worth of earlier reconstruction spending, which left the country’s public debt at double its income.
Israel destroyed infrastructure in attempting to isolate Hizbollah. Sea and airports were targeted as well as water-treatment and power plants. Fuel stations, factories and farms were bombed.
Hundreds of kilometres of roads were left impassable. More than 70 bridges were wrecked, and some 7,000 homes.
Altogether, the material cost is thought to be around two billion euros.
The destruction and blocade by Israel makes essential production impossible in many fields.
Agriculture, in parts, is at a standstill. Substantial financial resources from donor countries will be needed to rebuild again.