October 30, 2006

On Israeli Border, a Surprising Optimism

Via Washington Post:

For years, whenever Asher Greenberg left his home in the frontier town of Metulla to work in the orchards along the Lebanon border, he took his M-16 rifle in case Hizballah attacked. Since the war ended in August, Greenberg's rifle hasn't left his closet once. At Zarit, a nearby farming village, farmers are beginning to return to orchards they abandoned during the years when Hizballah controlled the Lebanese side of the line. More than two months after the war, many of those Israelis who live closest to Lebanon say it altered their lives dramatically for the better. "The war erased a threat we lived with for years,'' Greenberg said. "We aren't afraid of snipers or kidnappings anymore. We can breathe.''

The army sometimes has to deal with Hizballah supporters throwing stones over the fence at soldiers, but Lt. Col. Ishai Efroni, a senior army officer in an Israeli border unit, said he only has to call a UN liaison officer and "within half an hour'' UN or Lebanese troops arrive.