Friday, July 21, 2006

Middle East Diplomacy Creeps Forward

Condoleezza Rice announced her plans for her trip to the Middle East next week. Most encouraging is her rejection of any cease fire absent a political solution that disarms Hezbollah:

We do seek an end to the current violence, and we seek it urgently. More than that, we also seek to address the root causes of that violence so that a real and endurable peace can be established.

A cease-fire would be a false promise if it simply returns us to the status quo, allowing terrorists to launch attacks at the time and terms of their choosing and to threat innocent people, Arab and Israeli, throughout the region. That would be a guarantee of future violence.

Instead, we must be more effective and more ambitious than that. We must work urgently to create the conditions for stability and lasting peace.

She will meet with Ehud Olmert, Mahmoud Abbas, and with a group of countries and organizations set up to support the cedar revolution.

Also today, the U.S. and Britain worked to block the cease fire initiative at the U.N. This surprised me a little because earlier in the week Tony Blair had shown support for Kofi Annan's call for Israel and Hezbollah to stop fighting. Israel has allowed and will expand humanitarian corridors into Lebanon, removing some of the urgency behind the calls for a cease fire.

Thus far, Israel has lost five soldiers to an estimated 100 for Hezbollah. Israel has called up 5000 reserve troops.


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