In meeting with top US officials this week, Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres who is visiting the United States said that Israel has destroyed 70 percent of Hizballah’s long and medium range missile capabilities and 20 percent of the short term missiles. The Israel Defense Forces has destroyed 1,000 buildings used as headquarters, and command, control and communication centers. The IDF has also killed more than 250 Hizballah terrorists, including some of the regional commanders.
In meetings with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, National Security Advisor Steven Hadley, and Senator Hillary Clinton, Peres summarized the IDF’s achievements in the campaign against Hizballah, and laid out Israel’s position regarding the proposed ceasefire.
According to Peres, a ceasefire without a deployment of a multinational force will be only declarative and meaningless. Peres added that Israel demands that within the framework of a settlement, the kidnapped soldiers would be returned, the Hizballah be disarmed of its missiles and would not return to the border with Israel.
According to an internal European report, handed to the European Foreign Ministers, since the beginning of the war, 650 Lebanese, 55 Israelis, and four UN observers were killed. More than 700,000 people were displaced from their homes and are in need of food, water, shelter, and medical attention. About 280,000 people have fled southern Lebanon and 110,000 are still in the area, the report said.
In addition about 50,000 people were evacuated to Cyprus. It seems, according to the report, that most foreign nationals that wished to evacuate, did so. An additional 100,000 to 200,000 foreign workers and their families have also been trying to leave the country, with an emphasis on women and children. Included in those numbers are 170,000 more refugees, 10,000 of which have sought refuge in Syria.
The report adds that because of the Israeli blockade, substantial humanitarian aid still has not reached its destinations. The biggest problem for the humanitarian assistance is a safe passage to the needy areas. The Lebanese government’s ability to deal with the situation is getting extremely difficult, said the European report.