Thursday, September 07, 2006
The Blockade Ended... And For What?
This makes no sense to me:
JERUSALEM -- Israel's government said Wednesday that it would end its air and maritime blockade of Lebanon on Thursday to make way for an international force that is to deploy as part of a cease-fire that ended the 34-day conflict.What, exactly, has changed, to assure Israel that the UN will do anything to prevent arms from reaching Hizballah? These are the "international forces" that are not allowed to use force except to defend themselves, right?
Israel's decision came after U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan notified its leaders that the international forces were ready to take positions at Lebanon's airports and along the coast, according to a statement from the office of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
Israeli officials said those assurances convinced them that Israel could ease its restrictions on the arrival and departure of ships and airplanes, an embargo it has said was aimed at preventing arms from reaching fighters of the Islamic militant Hezbollah movement.
Even less comprehensible:
Since the cease-fire took effect Aug. 14, Israel has approved a few ships and flights despite the blockade, its officials said. But the embargo still cost the economy more than $20 million a day, the Lebanese government said.Well, that's gratitude for you.
Meanwhile, Lebanon toughened its stance on the two Israeli soldiers whose capture by Hezbollah helped trigger the war. The cease-fire agreement called for the unconditional release of the Israeli soldiers. But on Wednesday, the Lebanese foreign minister said the Israelis would be freed only if the two sides negotiated a prisoner swap.
(It's also a prime example of the reverse of "Sharonism" -- that Israel must never be permitted to enjoy a victory in the field, or the fruits thereof, regardless of who she is fighting... and all this in the name of peace. Call it Olmertism.)
Frankly, I do not understand why the Lebanese government is now willing to speak on behalf of the Hizballah kidnappers. But if they are, then they should be treated as such.
Clearly, Prime Minister Olmert's government does not have the intestinal fortitude to see this thing through. I begin to wonder if Israel will ever get her kidnapped soldiers back.