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Israel, Hezbollah Claim Victories After Weeks of Fighting

After more than three weeks of fighting, both Israel and Hezbollah continue to claim victory for differing reasons. Middle East policy experts discuss how the two sides are evaluating their progress.

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  • MARGARET WARNER:

    This 24th day of the war brought an expansion of the conflict. The Israelis bombed farther north into Lebanon; Hezbollah launched rockets farther south into Israel than ever before.

    Israeli troops and Hezbollah forces continued their fierce ground fighting in southern Lebanon, as well. And as the casualty count grows, each side insists its victory is at hand. The U.N.'s deputy secretary general, Mark Malloch Brown, commented on that phenomenon on the NewsHour earlier this week.

  • MARK MALLOCH BROWN, United Nations Deputy Secretary General:

    The worry for us is that the longer the fighting goes on, both sides are getting more intransigent. This is a very odd war, where both sides think they're winning, so neither side is particularly quick to sue for peace in this.

  • MARGARET WARNER:

    That observation was echoed in recent statements by the leaders of the two warring parties. On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert touted Israel's achievements, saying, "The infrastructure of Hezbollah has been entirely destroyed." And today, the Israeli defense minister said Israel is determined to keep up the pressure.

  • AMIR PERETZ, Israeli Defense Minister (through translator):

    Hezbollah should not be under the illusion that we are about to give up. Nasrallah should not think that he is facing a force which will give up completing the mission.

  • MARGARET WARNER:

    Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, in a televised speech yesterday, touted the achievements of his fighters against the vaunted Israeli army.

  • SHEIK HASSAN NASRALLAH, Hezbollah Leader (through translator):

    These fighters are still holding their positions, fighting, resisting and even taking the initiative in attacking and inflicting material damage and casualties on the enemy. This is, indeed, a miracle by military standards.

  • MARGARET WARNER:

    Hezbollah also appears to have enhanced its stature elsewhere in the Muslim world, as evident today in demonstrations from Baghdad to Indonesia. Yet diplomats at the United Nations continue their intense efforts to come up with a negotiated solution, in hopes they can persuade Israel and Hezbollah to stop fighting.

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