Israeli defence sources say they hope a prisonner swap with Hezbollah will go ahead within the next two weeks. The deal should see the return of the remains of Israeli army reservists Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser whose seizure two years ago on the border with Lebanon triggered Israel’s month-long campaign against Hezbbollah. Israel now accepts the two soldiers are dead.
The Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said: “In this case, we have had to have indirect talks with Hezbollah, a cynical and brutal terrorist organisation that was deliberately manipulating the feelings of the loved ones of our servicemen.”
There are hopeful relatives in Lebanon too. Samir Qantar’s family has waited 29 years for him to come home. Israel jailed him for life for a 1979 raid on the town of Nahariya, in which he was said to have killed one man and his four year old daughter.
The mood in Beirut remains defiant. Today’s Lebanese papers summed up the atmosphere, saying two years after the July war Israel had finally bowed to the inevitable.