Kofi Annan says the cease-fire will begin Monday at 8:00am:
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced that a cease-fire in the Hezbollah-Israel fighting will take effect at 8 a.m. Lebanese time (1 a.m. EDT) Monday.
Annan said in a statement distributed in Beirut early Sunday that he had been in touch with Prime Ministers Fuad Saniora of Lebanon and Ehud Olmert of Israel to discuss the exact time and date when the cessation of hostilities called for by a U.N. Security Council resolution will enter into force.
“I am happy to annouce that the two leaders have agreed that the cessation of hostilities and the end of the fighting will enter into force on 14 August, at 0500 hours GMT,” the statement said.
Late Friday, the Security Council on adopted a resolution seeking a “full cessation” of violence between Israel and Hezbollah, offering the region its best chance yet for peace after a month of fighting that has killed more than 800 people and inflamed Mideast tensions.
The resolution, adopted unanimously, authorizes 15,000 U.N. peacekeepers to help Lebanese troops take control of south Lebanon as Israeli forces that have occupied the area withdraw.
Hezbollah’s leader on Saturday grudgingly joined Lebanon’s government in accepting the U.N. resolution but vowed to keep fighting until Israeli troops leave and hand over territory to a muscular U.N. peacekeeping force intended to separate the antagonists.
In spite of the cease-fire agreement, the fighting continued as Israel tripled its forces and finally made it to the Litani River. The Israelis expect to maintain their position for another week or two until the UN troops arrive.
This may turn out to be the cease-fire that never was. As Israel continues to clear out as much of Hezbollah as possible, Hezbollah will certainly fire back. If the cease-fire fails to take effect, this could give Israel more time to continue to go after Hezbollah and actually destroy it.
If the cease-fire does take effect, it will end up like all the other cease-fires in the past: Hezbollah will simply get stronger and attack again. Israel has had a difficult time dealing with Hezbollah this time. How will Israel fare the next time around?