Southern Lebanon has been Israel’s Vietnam, not half a world away but on its northern border.
Since Israel invaded Lebanon in 1978, the war with Hezbollah guerrillas has been indecisive in the field and unpopular at home. Nine hundred Israeli soldiers and thousands of Lebanese civilians died.
Tens of thousands of Lebanese families lost their homes. So it was with tumultuously mixed feelings of anger, relief, humiliation and anxiety that people watched the chaotic television images of withdrawing Israeli soldiers and Hezbollah men up from the underground with flags and guns.
A newswoman said on Lebanese state television “there is only one headline in Lebanon tonight: the slinking, servile withdrawal by Israel.”
Southern Lebanon was the last active front in the Arab-Israeli wars, and ending the fighting there is meant to be a key part of the final peace in the Middle East.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)
Richard Norton, Boston University anthropologist and International Relations professor, UN observer when the Israeli occupation first began, and author of “Hezballoh of Lebanon: Extremist Ideals vs. Mundane Politics.” Also, Roger Owen, head of Harvard’s Center for Middle East Studies.