The War's Final HoursA Day after resolution 1701 was adopted at the U.N. Security Council, Israel said it started its largest landing operation since the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. The Israeli army clearly wants to reach the Litani River before a cease fire is expected to take effect on Monday's 8 a.m. but it is proving not to be simple.
What is clear is that landing hundreds of troops around southern Lebanon did not turn out to be big success with some 24 Israeli soldiers killed and more than 100 wounded Saturday alone. A helicopter was also shot down and a number of Merkavas were seen burning in television footage.
Lebanese believe that Israel seems to be doing the same mistake that Ariel Sharon did as defense minister 24 years ago.
Although the Israeli army reached Beirut in 1982 within days, after one month of fighting now Israeli troops have not even captured the village of Aita al-Shaab which is just on the border. Although they reached the town of Marjayoun, every one in Lebanon knows that it was an easy target because, first of all, it is a Christian town and Hezbollah has little presence there.
Many analysts have warned that Israel is entering again the quagmire of Lebanon that cost it the lives of hundreds of soldiers until it withdrew in 2000.
News organization reports that there are disagreements among Israeli officials over what is going on in Lebanon especially with the increasing death toll among troops. More than 100 soldiers have died since the war began on July 12.
In 1982, the Israeli invasion of Lebanon was called "Operation Peace For Galilee." The aim was to drive Palestinian guerrillas up to 40 kilometers north of the border with hope that this will end the firing of rockets from Lebanon into northern Israel. Twenty four years later rockets are still raining into northern Israel with a difference that now they are reaching cities as deep as Haifa and Hadera which is few kilometers north of Tel Aviv.
In 1982, Sharon proudly not only drove the troops 40 kilometers to the north but all the way to Beirut where he laid a siege on the capital that was defended by Lebanese and Palestinian guerrillas for 87 days preventing Israelis from entering the city.
What Sharon did not know when he launched the war is that his army was going to get stuck in the Lebanese mud. A year after the war in Lebanon, Israeli Prime Minister Menachim Begin quit politics as he grew increasingly depressed because of the failure in Lebanon until his death in 1992.
As this war is hopefully is in its last hours, what is becoming more and more clear is that war is not the solution.
The region's leaders should sit down and work for a peace settlement that sets up a Palestinian state and let the people of the region live in peace after decades of blood.
Text of U.N. Security Council resolution 1701.
Beirut August 13, 2006