Asian editorial excerpts.
Selected editorial excerpts from the Asia-Pacific press:
NO PEACE UNLESS HIZBOLLAH DISARMS (The Nation, Bangkok)
It would be a gross understatement to say the U.N.-sponsored cease-fire between Israel and Lebanon's Hizbollah Shiite militia, which came into effect on Monday, did not get off to a good start. It has become clear to all parties that disarming Hizbollah, which is the key condition upon which the cease-fire agreement rests, remains as much of a sticking point as before -- if not a catalyst for the resumption of the war that has already devastated Lebanon.
The cease-fire was hailed by some as a victory for Hizbollah, in that they were able to resist Israel's might, supposedly enhancing the prestige of this militant group among Arabs angered by the high civilian death toll.
But few have bothered to ask the Lebanese government or the majority of peace-loving Lebanese citizens, whether they wanted this war -- started for them by Hizbollah -- in the first place.
Now the international community is planning to ensure peace by trying to secure the Lebanese border with Israel through the creation of a buffer zone in southern Lebanon that will be policed by Lebanese government troops, backed up by international forces. However, both Lebanese government troops and international forces have balked at the prospect of being asked to use force to disarm the formidable Shiite militia.
Everybody knows that Hizbollah is not going to disappear simply because the U.N. Security Council decided to pass a new resolution. It is just as evident that a failure on the part of the U.N. to disarm Hizbollah this time round will compel Israel to resume military operations in Lebanon.
What is the international community to do?
Hizbollah's status as a state within a state must not be allowed to continue. The group must be asked to disarm and participate in Lebanon's national politics as one political party competing against others on an equal footing.
The U.N. must back up its resolution with a credible fighting force, in order to ensure that the desire of the international community for genuine peace in the Middle East is realised. The key question is whether the international community has the political will to back up its eloquent rhetoric about lasting peace with the combat-ready troops required to make it happen.