Five Lebanese terrorists released by Israel on Wednesday as part of a prisoner exchange with Israel were given a hero's welcome at Beirut International Airport that was attended by all of the nation's top leadership, including representatives of factions that had previously been harshly critical of Hizballah.
Dressed in Hizballah military fatigues, the five terrorists - including four Hizballah members and the Lebanese terrorist Samir Kuntar - ascended a podium to be presented to the gathered dignitaries after being flown in aboard Lebanese military helicopters.
Arab media commentators noted the significant show of unity at the event, just months after Lebanon was on the verge of civil war. Also noted was the fact that the presence of faction leaders traditionally opposed to Hizballah was seen as a acknowledgement that Hizballah's tactics against Israel were effective and had brought glory to the nation.
The entire affair was expected to end any national debate over whether or not Hizballah should be allowed to operate as an autonomous armed group, despite the fact that several UN resolutions demand that all Lebanese militias be disarmed.
During the Beirut airport event, newly installed Lebanese President Michel Suleiman, a long-time ally of Hizballah, laid the groundwork for the next round of violence with Israel, insisting that Lebanon and Hizballah would use "all legitimate means" to capture a part of the Golan Heights he claims belongs to Lebanon.