Saturday, August 05, 2006

Americans And French Agree On Ceasefire Resolution

Written in San Carlos. California --

If initial reports are correct, the U.S. and French have agreed on a Mideast cease fire resolution in the U.N. Security Council that would direct both Israel and Hezbollah to cease all offensive action, but allow the Israelis to act in self-defense if Hezbollah continued rocket fire.

If the resolution took effect, it would be followed in a week with a resolution implanting an international armed force in South Lebanon between the two sides. when that was in place, the Israelis would withdraw their present force in Lebanon.

First response from both Hezbollah and the Lebanese government which it increasingly seems to control was negative. They said fighting would not stop until all Israelis withdrew from Lebanon first, which is not in the cards.

There may be a lot more maneuvering, bur in any event, the resolution may not be adopted for 72 hours or longer, giving the Israeli army a chance to consolidate its position in a proposed buffer zone intended for South Lebanon.

Altogether, this is probably the best Israel could achieve by the war, since it did not crush Hezbollah in the fighting, as it had apparently hoped.

But the destruction wrought on Lebanon by Israeli forces may inspire the Lebanese to take more of a hand in controlling Hezbollah, and if this proves to be the case, and the international force is successful, then peace may be restored for the indefinite furure.

Nothing has yet been heard from the Hezbollah sponsors, Iran and Syria, although threats have come from Iran of continuing to supply Hezbollah. Iran had backed a ceasefire earlier in the week.

As in so many Mideast wars, the question after a cease fire is whether there would be meaningful negotiations between the various parties. There is little reason to be hopeful about this, but there could always be a surprise.

Israel has shown it is willing to defend itself, and that lesson cannot be lost on whose, like Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who have spoken so freely of destroying it.

Israel owes thanks to President George W. Bush for sticking with it in a trying time. The President was steadfast as always.

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