From the AP:
Meanwhile, Israeli military officials said the offensive could last several more weeks.
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said diplomatic efforts were under way, but that a cease-fire would be impossible unless Israel's three captured soldiers were returned unharmed and Lebanese troops were deployed along the countries' border with a guarantee that the Hezbollah militia would be disarmed.
Are we still supposed to be pretending that this is about captured soldiers? Really?? Because this seems more like a cheap excuse for continuing their offensive for several more weeks. Especially as it seems kind of odd to kill many many civilians in an attempt to rescue three soldiers. I just didn’t think it was supposed to work like that.
And frankly, I’ve never quite understood how it’s supposed to be a legitimate negotiating technique when you continue to insist that your enemy has to disarm and stop attacking before you stop attacking. That makes sense after it’s become apparent that your enemy is willing to surrender. But otherwise, it just seems like a cheap tactic to justify a continued assault by people more concerned with the appearance of diplomacy than with actual diplomacy.
That was always one of their demands against the Palestinians, which they knew would be rejected; and it looks like they’re going this route again now. Because the general rule is that if your negotiating position insists upon something that you know your opponent will never cede, then you’re really not negotiating.
And whether the Palestinians are trying to destroy Israel or merely trying to protect themselves, it would be foolish for them to give-in to this demand; which is probably one reason why Israel insisted upon it. If the Palestinians submitted, then they’d lose their entire negotiating position. But if they refused, then Israel could claim that its efforts at diplomacy failed and they were forced to act. And even if the Palestinians submitted, it would only take the actions of a small group of extremists to end the cease-fire and Israel would have made significant gains in the meantime. And it’s absurd to suggest that Israel hasn’t made the mental calculations that appear obvious to me.
And the same goes for this current disaster. I honestly don’t see why anyone thinks this is a valid tactic. I suspect that most Arabs don’t. Nor do I think that Israel does either. And yet people continue to describe this as an “overreaction” on Israel’s part, rather than a planned offensive that was merely waiting for a pretense.