Israel: Still a Lot of Noise in Lebanon


September 8, 2006: Opinion polls in Lebanon show that the population still accepts the idea that Hizbollah was acting in Lebanese interests. For example, 57 percent of Lebanese supported the initial Hizbollah raid into Israel and capture of two Israeli soldiers. Only 34 percent of Lebanese opposed this operation. Moreover, 66 percent described the resulting war as the fault of the Americans and Israelis. In the Arab world, Israel is seen as an extension of the United States. The idea being that the Israelis could not do whatever they do without some powerful external assistance. Some 59 percent of Lebanese considered the war a victory for Hizbollah, while only four percent considered it a victory for Israel. Interestingly, only 17.4 percent want to see Hizbollah preserve its current armed and independent status. Some 44 percent want Hizbollah disarmed, and 33 percent are willing to see Hizbollah keep its weapons, if it submitted to control by the Lebanese government.
Israel is continuing to destroy Hizbollah facilities, mainly well hidden bunkers, in south Lebanon. Hizbollah gunmen are sometimes found in or near these bunkers, and this has resulted into a few gun battles.
September 7, 2006: Israel lifted it's blockade on air travel in and out of Lebanon. The naval blockade will be lifted when there are UN naval forces (from European nations) available to watch what comes into Lebanon. Israel will probably watch the UN watchers, as there will probably be attempts by Hizbollah to smuggle weapons in by sea. Syria has said it will improve security on its border with Lebanon, but it's hard to believe them after so many decades of doing business with Hizbollah.
Qatar pledged to send 300 peacekeepers to Lebanon. This is the first Arab nation to offer peacekeepers for Lebanon. There are still not enough pledges to supply a force of 15,000 peacekeepers. Israel is apparently going to withdraw its troops only when there are what it considers sufficient peacekeepers to at least attempt to cover the abandoned area.
September 6, 2006: The war with Palestinian terrorists continues, with daily air strikes (missiles from jets or helicopters) and raids into the West Bank (to arrest or kill known terrorists.) Several terrorist groups are still trying to make terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians, but have not been able to do so because of the continued Israeli counter-terrorist effort. In the last 24 hours, at least seven Palestinians were killed during these operations, which included a raid into southern Gaza.
September 5, 2006: Israeli troops withdrew from five villages in southern Lebanon, and were replaced by Lebanese troops.
September 2, 2006: About a thousand Italian peacekeepers landed in Lebanon, bringing the size of the UN force to about 3,200. Some 15,000 Lebanese troops have also moved into the south. However, there are still over 10,000 Israeli troops in southern Lebanon, and they have been finding and destroying Hizbollah bunkers (built for people, or for storing rockets).


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