JERUSALEM Aug 13, 2006 (AP)— Hezbollah fired more than 250 rockets into Israel on Sunday, the fiercest attack against northern Israel since the fighting began more than a month ago, the Israeli army reported. One Israeli man was killed.
After a stormy debate Sunday, Israel’s Cabinet approved a Mideast cease-fire, agreeing to silence the army’s guns in less than 24 hours. The Israeli military and Hezbollah both embarked on a last-minute barrage, trying to inflict as much damage as possible before the cease-fire began.
The 24-0 Israeli Cabinet vote, with one abstention, came a day after the Lebanese government approved the agreement and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah gave his grudging consent. The truce was to take effect Monday morning. [1 AM EDT].
But questions as to the truce’s durability quickly arose Sunday, when the Lebanese Cabinet canceled a critical meeting that was supposed to discuss the deployment of 15,000 troops to southern Lebanon, a key part of the cease-fire deal. Published reports said the Cabinet had been sharply divided over demands that Hezbollah surrender its weapons.
We are speculating that the sudden cancellation of the Lebanese cabinet meeting that was to have taken place today may in fact be due to significant rifts forming within the Lebanese government and may be signaling a collapse of the newly established democratic nation. No doubt the central issue is whether or not to permit multi-national troops into Lebanon and to have Lebanese troops supporting the “disarmament” of Hezbolah vs. simply reducing conflict without full disarmament. We would suggest a 5% chance that this U.N. “cease fire” will have any effect at all and predict an Israeli – Syrian – Iranian conflict before the year is out.