The U.N.-brokered cease-fire between Hezbollah and Israel will begin at 8 a.m. (1 a.m. ET) Monday, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a taped statement Saturday.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora agreed on the time, though Annan urged both sides to stop fighting immediately.
According to CNN "preferably, the fighting should stop now to respect the spirit and intent of the council decision, the object of which was to save civilian lives, to spare the pain and suffering that the civilians on both sides are living through," Annan said.
I have not been wrong before in my blog, but my post of yesterday did not give much hope to Hezbollah agreeing to such a plan. Today, however, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said that his militia would honor the call for a cease-fire once a deal on the timing was reached. And the Lebanese government, which includes two members of Hezbollah, unanimously approved Security Council Resolution 1701 today.
What is unfortunate is that Israel is preparing to expand its operations in Lebanon before the cease-fire will take effect. This might be a strategic move that will aid in military success and is part of operations, but it will not help Israel in the eyes of public opinion and the United States should lay a firm hand on its ally and prevent more violence this weekend. As to this actually happening and to the cease-fire let me say that hopeful optimism is what is needed.