As Lebanese troops moved in to Hizbollah territory in the south of the country for the first time in decades, the Israeli army started handing over positions to the United Nations and heading home. Israel said more than half of the areas it occupied have already been transferred. One soldier expressed his feelings on the end of their mission as he said: “We had a hard time there, we did what we needed to do and we hope it’s finished and we won’t need to come here again.”
On the streets of Jerusalem there was relief that Israeli is pulling out and guarded hope for future peace, but also concern about how effective the Lebanese army will be in controlling Hizbollah. One resident said: “ I hope that the Lebanese army will be in the south of Lebanon and there will be a border frontier between Israel and Lebanon which will be recognised between the two states.”
Another commented: “I think it’s going to be hard for them to fight the Hizbollah because it’s an internal conflict for them and the Hizbollah is apparently very strong, so I hope that it will be a good step.”
Israel had as many as 30,000 troops in southern Lebanon during the conflict. All reservists have reportedly now left and only regular Israeli army troops were still patrolling there.