Friday :: Aug 11, 2006

Israel Reverses Course, Will Accept UN Cease Fire Deal


by Steve

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In an about-face that was hopefully brought about by Bush jawboning the Prime Minister, Israel has reversed course and will accept the UN cease fire deal that John Bolton and the French have worked out. The IDF will apparently maintain their offensive until the UN vote later today or tomorrow.

Update: What’s interesting is that after signaling earlier in the day that they were ready to expand the ground offensive unless the draft resolution was tailored to meet their concerns, the Israelis acceded to a UN resolution drafted by Bolton and the French that did not meet all their concerns. In fact, the draft going for a vote this afternoon does not require an international force to be deployed under aggressive rules of engagement, but rather calls for an expanded UN peacekeeping force whose responsibility will be to take over southern Lebanon as the Israelis withdraw. The resolution calls for Hezbollah to cease all attacks, and for the IDF to cease offensive operations. The resolution also calls for Lebanon to take responsibility for supplanting Hezbollah as a military force inside its borders, while also calling for a demilitarized zone between the border and the Litani River and for Lebanon to uphold all UN resolutions. It is unclear how a battered Lebanon will be able to accomplish any of these things, or who will pay for the Lebanese infrastructure that Israel has destroyed.

There is no mention of the return of the two IDF soldiers, nor is there any linkage to the more permanent solution that Bush called for from the beginning, such as a unilateral disarming of Hezbollah. Instead, it looks like Condi’s demand for an interim agreement first to defuse the situation and get the IDF to withdraw may have carried the day, especially since it was she who called the Israelis to get them to back away from the offensive and give diplomacy another chance.

For some reason, the administration and Israel changed their posture on this matter in the last 24 hours. To the Israelis, it appears that Rice felt she had to save Israel from itself, simply because some in the Bush Administration felt that Israel and the Olmert team couldn't explain what the hell they defined as success. In other words, kind of like the Bush Administration and Iraq.

Or it could be a more basic reason and a growing fear. As commenter whenwego correctly noted, perhaps the reason why Olmert flip-flopped today is because public support for his government has fallen sharply in the last week. Worse yet, accoring to Haaretz, the Pentagon is concerned about Syria's growing confidence in the situation over the last week.

Steve :: 2:13 PM :: Comments (29) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!