Israeli airstrike kills 57 including 37 children.
Before you get some looney idea that I am one of those "lefty" blogs that has been silent on the Mid-East crisis I will remind you it was just a few weeks ago that I seemed to be the only person in the world that cared about the invasion of Gaza and how the beast was awakening.
I will not condemn Israel for its actions up to this point. I believe that any nation has a right to defend itself and there is little doubt that Israel was being attacked by forces within southern Lebanon. It's unfortunate that these events occured at a time that the new Lebanese government was still coalescing and had no method to control the radical factions in the hinterlands.
Having said that, I now believe that Israel has sold past the close.
It has been obvious from the beginning that the utter destruction of Hezbollah was the goal. An achievement that would arguably stabilize both countries. However, if in the process of destroying that organization, Israel also destroys the country of Lebanon far worse may emerge.
Israel is very much in danger of losing whatever moral high ground it held. There should be answers for what happened in Qana. They should be definitive with no equivocation. If it was accidental, then it is a tragedy. If it was intentional, then God help us all. Moderate Muslim nations who initially cast blame for the crisis on Hezbollah are already teetering.
Israel (and the U.S. by proxy) has an opportunity here. Accept an immediate ceasefire. Stop the bombing and shelling. Allow the Lebanese army supported by a multi-national force to move into the area and create a DMZ. All of this should be conditional on Hezbollah's immediate disarmament. Nothing is accomplished if the rockets begin falling in Haifa again.
All sides must understand that a third way must be found and more importantly, the bloodshed must stop now.
UPDATE: Israel will suspend air strikes for 48 hours.
Good. Okay boys and girls of the world community. You are on the clock. Make something happen.
UPDATE II: That was brief. Israel continues airstrikes.
UPDATE III: Olmert says no to cease fire. As usual, hope in the Middle East is short lived.