Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Israel begins handing over positions

The Lebanese government finally approved plans to deploy troops to South Lebanon, and Israel began handing positions over to the United Nations. The Israeli Army said it had already handed over half of the Lebanese territory it holds.

As expected, the developing reality is not perfect:

The Lebanese Cabinet decision fell short of agreement on disarming the Shiite Muslim militant group, which has insisted it has the right to defend Lebanese territory as long as Israeli troops remain in the country.

But we shouldn't let the perfect get in the way of the pretty good. Hezbollah is being ejected from south Lebanon, arms or no arms. And Lebanon is insisting that the government will have a monopoly on the use of force.

In a televised address, Prime Minister Fuad Saniora praised Lebanon's resistance, saying it showed that Israel's military was "no longer a force that cannot be resisted, an army that cannot be defeated."

He said Lebanon has the right to take charge of its destiny and warned of foreign meddling that has made the country into a battleground for Israelis, Palestinians, Syrians and Iranians over the decades.

The government ordered the army to "insure respect" for the Blue Line, the U.N.-demarcated border between Lebanon and Israel, and "apply the existing laws with regard to any weapons outside the authority of the Lebanese state."

This is progress.

The Lebanese are assembled north of the Litani River and will begin crossing into south Lebanon on Thursday.

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