Well, finally. Someone has come to their senses within the Israeli government. Or at least begun to come to their senses. Whether they’ve fully done so or not will become evident in the near term. Defense Minister Amir Peretz announced today that Israel would drop its earlier objection to any international peacekeeping force meant to keep the peace between Israel and Hezbollah:
Defense Minister Amir Peretz said Sunday that Israel would agree to the deployment of a multi-national force in Lebanon.
“Due to the weakness of the Lebanese army, we support the deployment in the south [of Lebanon] of a multi-national force with broad authority,” Peretz said.
Following a morning meeting with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Peretz said the force would be from NATO and added that also act to prevent weapons smuggling from Syria into Lebanon. Peretz also noted Israel has no intention of entering into a war with Syria…
Steinmeier was involved in efforts to secure a deal between Israel and Hezbollah in 2004 leading to the return of an Israeli businessman and the bodies of three IDF soldiers kidnapped and killed by Hezbollah in 2000.
It is no accident that this development occurs just as Condoleeza Rice is to arrive in Israel for negotiations to end the hostilities. Either Israel’s acquiescence was pre-arranged with Washington; or else the former saw the handwriting on the wall and realized the days of raging missiles were numbered.
Of course, much remains to be negotiated and nothing is guaranteed. You have to watch these guys like a hawk since an agreement can be signed, sealed and practically delivered and yet it somehow fails. But let’s hope that Peretz is right and Israel does come to its senses enough to realize that the current conflict must stop and soon.
Two Israelis Dead from Katyusha Fire in Haifa
Haaretz announced that two Israelis were killed today from Hezbollah rocket fire in Haifa. It was a deadly day as shells rained down on many cities in the north causing many casualties, a few of which were serious. What is interesting about this development is that the IDF has begun to denude Lebanon’s south of its civilian population in order to strip Hezbollah of its “cover” so that the former may pinpoint the guerrillas and impede their actions. But it doesn’t seem to have worked in this case–or at least not yet. One wonders whether it ever will work no matter what the IDF does there. And even if the IDF does rid the south of guerillas, why wouldn’t Hezbollah get longer range missiles allowing them to hit Israel from longer distances? That’s why the only way to end this is through negotiation. There is no military solution.