CAIRO: The latest news of the Israeli-Lebanese war continues to find its way into front page headlines. Newspapers report on what some of them have described as “the disorder during the deployment of the United Nations international peacekeeping forces and Lebanese army in the south.
Even as part of its forces withdraws, Israel insists that a portion of the Israeli army will remain across the southern border until the Unifil has arrived in full number and are adequately branched out in the area, reports the independent Al-Masry Al-Youm.
Israel, reports the newspaper, has even hinted that it may halt its withdrawal if these forces are not fully deployed in the next few days, a notion that has spurred speculations about Israel’s intentions.
The UN-backed cease-fire is nevertheless still in effect, despite Israel’s warnings and Hezbollah’s comments that it will neither leave the south nor discuss disarmament, another notion that has caused concerns among Arab analysts.
The cease-fire has guaranteed a period of relative normality for the war-stricken country, according to newspapers, especially as those who had fled Beirut return to their homes. Newspapers feature front page pictures of what they have called “the return – a woman standing on the rubble of what once might have been her house and Israeli soldiers walking back toward their country and away from Lebanon, relief clearly showing on their faces.
People are impatient to go back to their normal life, a volunteer who had been helping with the relief effort in one park was quoted by Al-Jazeera as saying. The network reported that businesses in Beirut have reopened and traffic jams have started to form on the city’s streets for the first time in weeks, after thousands of refugees who fled their homes in the south of the country left the schools and public parks where they had established make-shift camps.
Peace across Israel’s northern borders has also been maintained, despite earlier reports of warning sirens sounding for the first time since the Israeli-Hezbollah truce. The sirens were later reported to be false alarms.
Meanwhile, the Bahrain news agency quotes Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul-Gheit as saying that “Egypt does not accept that its citizens [get killed] in Lebanon by Arab or Israeli forces. Egypt has recently renewed its refusal to participate in the UN peacekeeping forces in south Lebanon, without giving reasons for this unpopular decision.
According to BNA, Abul-Gheit also stressed in a TV interview that cutting the Israeli-Egyptian ties is not a wise policy or even an option because of an agreement between the two countries, adding “Egypt respects its commitments.