Looks like your friend FF called this in advance.
In spite of all the noises about what would have been at best a temporary `ceasefire', the Israeli government appears to have come to its senses. The security cabinet voted unanimously to deploy the 30,000 Israeli reserves who were called up yesterday and widen the offensive against Hezbolah.
This move came after Israel's unilateral 48 hour ceasefire to allow humanitarian aid into Lebanon was answered by Hezbollah rocket fire into Israel and the shelling of an Israeli tank.
"The war will end when the threat to the Israeli people ends and the kidnapped soldiers are returned. And we will win." Olmert made this declaration to an audience of mayors, rabbis and civic leaders of the beseiged northern Israeli towns today, July 31.
Addressing the Knesset Monday, July 31,Defence Minister Amir Peretz said, "A truce now would let the extremists raise their heads anew."
Perhaps, now, having seen that a small, selective use of boots on the ground and an overreliance on airpower was not the way to win, Israel's leaders may be ready to commit to the major offensive General Dan Halutz wanted from the beginning and let the IDF win this war.
In Beirut, Lebanese officials said Lebanon would accept nothing but an unconditional immediate Israeli ceasefire before any further discussions. At this point, I'm sure that's fine with the Israelis.
Also in Beirut, there was a very interesting behind the scenes meeting between Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki and French foreign minister Philippe Douste-Blazy in Beirut Monday.
Remember that the proposed `multinational force' that will supposedly police the borders and disarm Hezbollah will consist mostly of French troops..and the draft language for the proposed ceasefire came from France....most likely after the French conferred with Hezbollah, with whom France has very close relations.
The French are not only opening up face to face contact with Tehran and Hezbollah to negotiate their conditions for accepting a multinational force, ..but are directly acknowledging Iran’s part in the Lebanon war and Iran's control of Hezbollah, something Iran has consistently denied.
Aside from the multinational force and any ceasefire that results, Iran's activity in Iraq and Iran's nuclear weapons program are also likely a part of negotiations.
Iran may very well try to barter a decrease in the violent activity of the Iran trained and armed Shiite militias in Iraq and a ceasefire in Lebanon for concessions on its nuclear weapons program.
Iran is reportedly considering arming Hezbollah with missiles that are heavier and of longer range than the Katyusha rockets and which can be fired from the Lebanon-Syria border..which of course would widen the regional conflict and bring Israel into open war with Iran.
They may be hoping to leverage this threat and the threat of increased violence in Iraq in exchange for non-interference with Iran's nuclear program.
The next week or so will be interesting.