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No Cease Fire!

An Israeli attack into the village of Qana, Lebanon has killed over 50 people, including over 30 children. The usual suspects are calling for a cease-fire.

Lebanon's prime minister said his country would not talk to the Americans about anything but an unconditional cease-fire. [source]

[Kofi] Annan said he was calling for a cessation of hostilities — a limited truce to save lives while a cease-fire with detailed conditions is worked out. [source]

Before you conclude this was an Israeli atrocity, it's important to be aware of two important facts not getting much attention. (1) Hizbollah has fired hundreds of rockets into Israel from Qana, and (2) Israel repeatedly warned the village it would be attacked, urging civilians to leave. I have only been able to find a small portion of Israeli UN Ambassador Dan Gillerman's comments on this matter; I'll link to more if I find it. UPDATE 2006-08-01 07:01:22 UTC: Here is Gillerman's statement, read the whole thing!

Hizbollah is the aggressor in this conflict, Hizbollah uses civilians as human shields, and Hizbollah is morally responsible for this loss of civilian life.

Hizbollah and its sympathizers want to use the attack in Qana as a way to bring international pressure to bear on Israel. A cease-fire would halt Israel's systematic destruction of Hizbollah, a reprieve from fighting that they certainly don't deserve.

Calls for an "unconditional" cease-fire are particularly offensive. Recall that the recent fighting was sparked by Hizbollah's capture of some Israeli soldiers. The safe release of those soldiers should be a precondition of any negotiations. (Not one of the terms of a cease-fire agreement.)

Israel should not blink. I would advocate an even tougher position, such as: "We will totally destroy one Hizbollah-infested village and all people remaining in it each day until our soldiers are safely released." Leaflet-drop the destruction schedule over the targeted villages. Use surveillance to take advantage of the opportunity to destroy any military hardware observed leaving the villages.

Tiny Island