(photo credit: Associated Press)
Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah said on Saturday that his organization would abide by the United Nations resolution calling for a cease-fire although he was not completely satisfied with its text.
Nasrallah's announcement came as the Lebanese government met in Beirut to accept the cease-fire.
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Nasrallah warned, however, that despite the UN resolution, the war was still not over. "We must be aware of the fact that the war will continue for another few days," he said. "That's why we are continuing to fight today. We will fight as long as Israeli soldiers are in Lebanon."
"We believe that the resolution that was taken last night was unfair," Nasrallah said. "But if there is an agreement on the cessation of hostilities between the Lebanese government and the enemy, we will observe it without delay."
He said that Hizbullah would support any decision by the Lebanese government to end the war. "We will not be an obstacle to any decision that it finds appropriate, but our ministers will express reservations about articles that we consider unjust and unfair," he said.
Nasrallah also expressed his support for plans to deploy Lebanese army and additional UNIFIL troops in southern Lebanon. "Regardless of our reservations and political positions, we will cooperate when the Lebanese soldiers and UNIFIL forces are deployed," he said.
Nasrallah described the decision to dispatch Lebanese soldiers to the south of the country as an "achievement" for Hizbullah and Lebanon, saying it resulted from the steadfastness of the Lebanese people and the "heroes" of his organization.
Nasrallah's speech was his ninth since the war broke out, forcing him and the top leadership of Hizbullah into hiding.
Hizbullah's Al-Manar TV, which continues to broadcast despite repeated IAF attack on its studios and transmitters, declared "victory" over the weekend, saying that the IDF had failed to score military achievements.
The broadcasts are being aired under the banner of: "We won!"; "We have defeated the invincible army"; and "July-August 2006 - the shattering of the myth [of the mighty Israeli army]." The station has also been airing video clips showing thousands of Lebanese hoisting Lebanese flags and chanting slogans in support of Hizbullah.
Like several other Arab television stations, Al-Manar has been repeatedly reminding viewers that this was the second "defeat" for Israel, coming after the IDF's May 2000 withdrawal from Lebanon.
Arab commentators and journalists were almost unanimous in saying that Hizbullah had won the war. Most of them pointed out the heavy casualties that Israel has suffered, as well as the destruction of a large number of Merkava tanks and the firing of rockets at many Israeli towns and cities.
Hussein Rahal, a spokesman for Hizbullah, told the Bethlehem-based Maan News Agency that his organization was "surprised by the weakness of the Israeli army." He added, "Our men remain in very high spirits and are continuing to inflict heavy losses on the enemy. The Israelis have lost both politically and militarily."
Arab and Muslim leaders reacted with cautious optimism to the UN resolution passed Friday. Jordanian Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit called it a critical "first step," while Turkey suggested that it could send peacekeeping troops to Lebanon.
The Arab League criticized the resolution for not clearly labeling Israel as the aggressor in the Lebanon conflict but said it was the best option to halt fighting that has claimed more than 850 lives in Lebanon.
"The resolution is the best that can be achieved in the meantime under the unbalanced international equation," said Ahmed bin Heli, the league's assistant secretary-general.
Egypt's Foreign Minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, urged Israel to acknowledge the international community's will by immediately ending attacks and pulling out of Lebanon.
"Israel now should be committed and show total commitment by [announcing] an immediate cease-fire so that the elements of a political settlement - which were reached after a big effort and after a heavy price was paid by the families and civilians - can take place," he said.
He also demanded investigations into alleged "massacres" committed by Israeli forces during the war.