Will the cease fire hold? I doubt it - some breaking news
The IDF has received clear instructions to hold their fire unless absolutely necessary, three hours in they opened fire and killed a Hezbollah fighter as they were threatened, a similar event occurred again later in the day. Approaching the 20th hour Hezbollah fired a number of rockets (from what I hear it was 4, CNN says 10) into Israel that fell short and hit south Lebanon instead. No one was injured. While the people in both Lebanon and Israel decided the situation deescalated quickly and decided to return to normal life as soon as possible, not so. Events such as that can trigger wider hostilities and we might get back to what we had before quite fast, at any moment.
The Hezbollah of course declared a glorious victory and announced that it will not disarm. The Lebanese army has no intention of disarming Hezbollah, an advisor to the Lebanese PM and government official went on CNN and dodged the issue entirely but did utter the above statement. It's becoming painfully clear that the situation will remain as it was before all of this started, differing in only two things; An expanded UNIFIL and Lebanese force, and two of our kidnapped soldiers still missing.
But the effect of this month long war is significant. Lets start with some background on Israeli politics. Ariel Sharon, the former PM of Israel created a new political party called "Kadima" (forward) to carry out his plan of disengagement. It was a major political event in Israel, the new party's main purpose was to "end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and achieve two states for two nations will be the road map. It will be carried out in stages: dismantling terror organizations, collecting firearms, implementing security reforms in the Palestinian Authority, and preventing incitement. At the end of the process, a demilitarized Palestinian state devoid of terror will be established." Shortly before the elections Sharon's health deteriorated and he basically fell into a coma (there is virtually no chance of him recovering), Olmert took over as PM until the elections. Sharon was a major political force in his own right and it was unclear if the new party would survive without him, nonetheless It emerged as the prominent force in Israeli politics and won the elections, and the most seats in the Knesset (cabinet). In my opinion, Kadima enjoyed the momentum it gathered and an extra block of voters who ironically enough would not have voted in support of it with Sharon as it's leader.
This landed us with an Olmert as PM, and Peretz as the defence minister. Peretz up till now concentrated on social issues such as unemployment, worker rights, and education, but I suppose that's what political turbulence can do. Neither of them are experienced military men. The election was also the one with the lowest voting turn out in Israel's history.
The effect of this war on Israeli politics is probably not smaller then Sharon's breaking from the Likud and his subsequent illness. 65% think that Peretz didn't do a good job (which is correct), a similar percent think that Israel did not achieve it's objective and lost, if elections were to happen today the Kadima and Labour party's would lose badly. Making a comparison here with the Iraq war and Lieberman's loss for supporting the war which was used as political ammunition by both Republicans and other Democrats (oh you know it's true, come on - Lemont won because his not Lieberman, what kind of a campaign is that?) - The Likud party is probably sharpening it's political weapons as we speak, but out of respect for the casualties they choose to take the high road and show unity, for now. In my opinion, elections are eminent and will happen in the next 12 months or sooner. And so it is that Nasrallah (and Ahmadinejad) who claimed victory and who is supposedly fighting for the benefit of the Palestinians, has managed indirectly to create a political shift where the party who's leading political agenda I quoted above have lost power. Sometimes I wonder if that scarf of his isn't on too tight.
At least we will have what might be a stronger and better government in place, because this conflict obviously effected more then just us.
Enter stage right Assad, the Syrian president, a man who needs no introduction since he has been there all along. Ynet has learned that in a press conference his about to hold he will use the situation to push for his own interest, aka The Golan Heights. Hezbollah is very popular in Syria, it will be more so after these events. Assad said that: "The chances for peace has decreased and that the Golan will be freed by Syrian hands, if the political road won't be successful it will open the road to resistance." Last couple of days he has been saying: "The coming age is the age of resistance for the liberation of Arabian lands." It's not hard to figure out whats going on here, Israel has backed down, Hezbollah's tactics "worked out" in a way, and he can and will easily use this to his advantage.
If your wondering what was in it for him, by supporting Hezbollah he not only increased his popularity domestically and with other Arabs but set the stage for his play for the Golan heights, and that play is eminent. I won't be surprised if a branch of Hezbollah might suddenly turn up in Syria and start firing rockets into Israel (covering a whole new geographical area, Haifa perhaps targeted again but instead of the northen towns having it the worse, towns around the Kineret lake) demanding the stop of Israeli occupation of Syria, why not? It worked once, it might work again.
He also threatened to attack Israel if Israel strikes anything on Syrian territory, have the conflict drag on for a month while the UN gets it's pitiful act together, at one point declare that the Syrian civilian toll is too great for him and perhaps invade Israel on that premise. On one hand the cost for him would be very high, on the other this past conflict showed that perhaps the cost is not too much to bear as Israel grew softer. All of these smoke and dagger tactics might drag on for quite a bit, it's not impossible to envision one conflict dying down and another restarting, in sync. With all the attention focused on that, guess who gets more and more time to finish their nuclear weapons? If you think this is all far fetched read some quotes by the Syrian and Iranian leaders, they have made their intentions clear.
This is not over, it's not over by a long shot. The best we can hope for is this cease fire holding for a long enough time until we have a government in place that can deal with the situation, if I get to vote by that time I'm voting for Mr. Netanyahu.
Update: I know of somebody that was killed in the fighting. If on the off chance that one of the people concerned are reading this you have my sympathy.