Yesterday was a noteworthy day because the Lebanese government pushed forward a proposal to finally send the Lebanese Army into southern Lebanon with the objective of filling the vacuum that would ensue from an immediate Israeli withdrawal. Although not explicit, the Lebanese government also stated that Hizballah would remove its militia from the Southern border as well (numerous officials claimed that the Lebanese Army would be the only armed presence in the South).
Most people though, missed the more important development that took place yesterday – one that was subtle, but nevertheless fundamental in importance.
The major news of the day, for me at least, was the Lebanese government’s actual act of proposing a solution, as opposed to the solution itself. As if to emphasize that point even more, foreign ministers from all over the region traveled to Beirut, despite the war, and held their conference in the Lebanese Serrail (House of the Lebanese Government). These ministers’ apparently exclusive role was to show support for the Lebanese government, and to support a Lebanese initiative to bring this conflict to an end.
The message was clear, and very much needed: the way out of this mess is through the Lebanese state. Only the Lebanese state can absorb the remnants of Hizballah's military wing and subordinate it. More importantly however, the Lebanese state can only do so if it is given the opportunity, and provided with the needed resources and moral support.
Time is not on its side though. Every extra day the conflict lasts, it loses its legitimacy as a result of its impotence, and its resources are stretched to the point where even its current humanitarian functions become untenable.
I hope those seeking a diplomatic solution in New York remember that reality as they try to arrive at an agreement: the only way out of this mess is the Lebanese state. There is no other choice.