The IDF is preparing for a new reality on the northern border and in southern Lebanon. A senior IDF officer said that at 8 a.m. Monday IDF soldiers will silence their guns.
However, it was decided that the naval and land blockade of Lebanon would not be lifted and vehicles would not be allowed to travel freely to and from the country.
IDF sources sad the blockade would be lifted only after Lebanon establishes a system to supervise over its crossings in accordance with Resolution 1701.
The IDF will work only to defend the safety of soldiers, and any attempt to harm them will be met with fire through all available means.
Defense Minister Amir Peretz said while touring the Northern Command Sunday that “If it turns out that the elements involved in the ceasefire agreement will breach it, the IDF soldiers will not be restrained. We will not accept a situation in which soldiers are hurt and we do not respond; we will retaliate with all means necessary.”
IDF officials estimate that the rocket fire on Israel will cease Monday morning but that the fighting between the army and Hizbullah terrorists in south Lebanon will continue.
Military sources told government officials that the withdrawal of IDF troops from Lebanon should be carried out expeditiously so as not to expose the soldiers to dangers that may stem from remaining in the area for a long period of time.
Land Forces Commander Major General Benny Gantz said Monday evening in a press conference: "We are ready to respect the ceasefire and we hope the other side respects it. The IDF will respect the ceasefire, but will defend its forces, and if fire is renewed, it will act."
"The coming days are days of uncertainty, said Gantz. "They could include operations and fire. But it's important to stress: The ceasefire does not mean the end of IDF operations in Lebanon."
Summing up 33 days of fighting, Gantz said: "Unfortunately, in war there is a painful price and casualties. We lost fighters, yesterday we lost an aircraft, but there are many accomplishments – all thanks to the fighters. In every point where there was engagement – the IDF came out on top. There were wonderful operations from the perspective of combining forces and special units. The reserves showed up and obtained honorable aims, and the home front displayed determination."
Regarding Security Council Resolution 1701, Gantz said: "The decision obligates the Lebanese government to realize its responsibility through the Lebanese army and a UNIFIL force which is widened in its scope and authority. They are supposed to deploy in south Lebanon and to ensure that the situation we saw before, in which Hizbullah acted in the place freely, won't repeat itself. In accordance with this pace of development and with the considerations of the IDF, we will prepare the lines in line with operation needs and the development of the agreement's realization."
Gantz said he believed the attack maneuver of the past two days significantly contributed to reachi9ng the agreement, and hoped that it would contribute to its moderation. "There are more than a few obtainments, including along the strategic front – against long-rang and medium-range rockets," he said.
Hanan Greenberg contributed to this report