Monday, August 14, 2006

Hope Springs Eternal

Much as I think the Israel-Lebanon cease-fire is as artificial as it is tenuous--much as I've found CNN's self-conscious countdown and breathless second-by-second pulse-taking since "the time" rather frivolous, if somewhat endearingly hopeful--I still can't make myself go to bed (for crying out loud!).

I am riveted. But alone?

You tell me.

Update: This is not reassuring, and not just because it repeats the obvious problem of Hezbollah's holding out for non-disarmament, which in and of itself, renders the whole exercise futile, more likely than not, later if not sooner.
Nahum Barnea, a columnist with the country’s largest paper, Yediot Aharonot, said, “We did not win.” Israel, he wrote, “comes to the cease-fire announcement bruised, conflicted and disturbed.”

Although the war had not quite ended, Mr. Barnea said, “the declaration of the cease-fire allows the war of the Jews to officially begin.” He called it a war of all against all — “the government against the general staff, Olmert against Peretz and vice versa, Olmert against Livni and vice versa, general against general, legislator against minister, the current government against its predecessors.’’ He referred to Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister.
Still, Israelis will wait to see what the Lebanese Army and a new Unifil accomplish in southern Lebanon. Israeli officials, no fans of the French role in the diplomacy, were disturbed by suggestions that France, despite the language of the United Nations resolution, did not see the mission of Unifil as disarming Hezbollah.

Philippe Douste-Blazy, the French foreign minister, told Le Monde on Saturday that the purpose of the enlarged Unifil would not include the disarming of Hezbollah by force. “We never thought a purely military solution could resolve the problem of Hezbollah,” he said. “We are agreed on the goal, the disarmament, but for us the means are purely political.”

That is the kind of immediate backtracking from the resolution that worries the Israelis, and which they say justifies their continuing military offensive to push Hezbollah back beyond the Litani, because they do not believe that the Lebanese Army, even with Unifil, will do it.

Well, it's not as if the previous track record bears out that skepticism--oh, wait.

Or that some speakers on the world stage don't provide ample fodder to keep skepticism well-fed and healthy.
A Foreign Ministry official pointed out that it was Mr. Douste-Blazy who, in Beirut, called Iran “a force for stability in the region” when Europe is trying, with the United States, to ensure that Iran does not develop nuclear weapons.

What's that Albert Camus said? (Speaking of a post from just a few hours ago... .)

"I learned that familiar paths traced in the dusk of summer evenings may lead as well to prisons as to innocent, untroubled sleep."

Well, good--night!

Update II, 3:05 a.m. Central Well--not quite yet. CNN (live on cable) is reporting that refugees, in response to the cease-fire, are driving back to their homes in Lebanon. (Talk about hopeful!) Yet, according to reporters, the ban on vehicles is still in effect, and thus these people are putting themselves at risk.

Tenuous, indeed.