Israel continues to reject “international” calls for a cease fire in its action against Hezbollah and is doing so with continuing US backing. That’s the right move for both Israel and the United States for a couple of reasons.
First, a truce is not a peace. The vital importance of not confusing a cease fire agreement with a full peace is born out by the US experience in Iraq from 1991 to the present and by Israel’s own experience in its 58 year war with Syria. Both truces really achieved very little – extended life for dictatorships and intermittent casualties for both sides.
Second, whether it’s called truce, peace or ceasefire, it shouldn’t be the “international community” calling for it. If Israel agrees to ending hostilities there is precisely one party that needs to ask them to do so – Hezbollah. Hezbollah needs to follow the formula that has ended conflicts for millenia, the loser asking for terms. The terms may be, and likely would be, generous, but there will be no mistaking who won. The loser can’t continue to play out this Middle Eastern farce of the last 58 years, claiming victory after being roundly beaten by a superior force with a just cause. If Israel agrees to a cease fire on terms implying military parity and moral equivalency it will be just one more lull in a guaranteed continuation of the “cycle of violence.” (You know, the cycle where the Israelis give the Arabs something they want and the Arabs shoot at Israelis for it.) Predictably, appeasement hasn’t ended the “cycle,” but unequivocal victory has a shot.
In a stance backed by the United States, Israeli officials so far have rejected calls for a cease-fire, saying the bombardment won’t end until Israel is free from the threat of the militants’ rocket attacks, which have killed 41 Israelis — 24 soldiers and 17 civilians — since the conflict began.