IDF officials said yesterday, before the ceasefire, that it would take them a week to get to the river. Less than 24 hours later, with time now of the essence, some units are already there. According to their top commander in the field, they could have been there 10 days ago.
It sounded before like they were going to take Hezbollah out in the course of pushing north. Now it sounds like they’re going to bypass them, grab as much land as they can, and then engage the pockets of jihadis they missed on the way. Encircling, in other words. Follow that link for a broad strategic picture from Debka, which, as usual, may or may not be talking out of its ass. They’re certainly right, though, that the clock is ticking.
More updates coming.
Update: Andy McCarthy has it exactly right:
Hezbollah wins this big just by being legitmized. Hezbollah is a terrorist organization, not a country. The resolution we are signing on to, however, addresses it as if it were a country. The resolution doesn’t purport to direct any UN member nation to make Hezbollah cease firing — least of all Lebanon, the purported sovereign of this territory. Instead, it appeals to Hezbollah directly — in the same paragraph in which it addresses Israel, as if there were no difference in status between the two — and “calls on” it to stand down.
Precisely. Hence the surreal spectacle this morning of a terrorist leader formally accepting the terms of a UN resolution.
What you’re seeing here is the elevation of a genocidal, irredentist jihadi organization to the status of nationhood, and not for the first time, either. Want a seat at the international table? Fight the Jews.
Update: Bush equates Hezbollah with the UK terror plotters — then phones Lebanon’s gutless pig of a prime minister to discuss their “common efforts” to end the hostilities. I wonder, did the phone call come before or after this?
With a government vote on the UN cease-fire resolution hours away, Lebanon’s prime minister Saturday said the plan to end fighting between Israel and Hizbullah served his country’s interests…
Praising Hizbullah guerrillas, the prime minister said, “The steadfastness of the resistance fighters in the field was very important, as was the steadfastness and unity of the people,” he said.
Update: The op-eds are already going up on Israeli news websites, and they do not make for enjoyable reading. Elan Journo puts Andy McCarthy’s point into historical perspective; Avi Shavit, via Dean Barnett, says Olmert must go; and Ronny Sofer calls Olmert “sharp,” but not smart: “the smart man wouldn’t have gotten into situations that the sharp man knows how to get out of.”
Update: In case there was any doubt, which there wasn’t, the French have made clear that UN peacekeepers won’t be doing any peacekeeping.
Update: Barnett and Moran are neck and neck in a race to the bottom of the depths of despair. Goldstein was in contention early on, but his last update holds out hope that Nasrallah will foolishly ignore the ceasefire, thereby giving the IDF the opportunity to wipe out the remaining jihadis in the field. I do think the fighting will continue for a few days after the ceasefire deadline, but both sides will simply point to the resolution and blame the other: Nasrallah will claim that Israel is continuing offensive operations, which justifies continued hostilities, and Israel will claim that Hezbollah is continuing hostilities, which justifies continued operations. Kofi Annan will express grave concern in due course, and by the end of next week the supreme soviet will have persuaded Olmert to be the bigger man and start withdrawing. Israel can be reasoned with, you see; terrorists can’t, Which is why pressure is brought to bear on the former and not the latter. Barbarism has its advantages.
Update: Today’s must-read is Julie Burchill on British media:
All across the board, Lebanese civilians are referred to as “civilians” where Israeli civilians are referred to as “Israelis” – an eerie and sinister difference pointed out by the non-Jewish stand-up comic genius Natalie Haynes, and one which very few people appear to have noticed – even me, until then…
When Mel Gibson was picked up for drunk-driving recently, he was reported to have screamed at the police officer, whom he believed to be Jewish, “Fucking Jews! The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.” His subsequent excuse was that he has “battled the disease of alcoholism for all my adult life.” The British media are notorious for our love of the hard stuff; is that going to be our excuse too, I wonder, when large numbers of us are finally bang to rights for peddling the same loathsome lie?
Update: An IDF chopper has been shot down — apparently by a new type of missile.
Update: The ceasefire starts Monday but the withdrawal itself might take a while.
Like I said last night, besides Nasrallah, the only guy whose prestige is higher now than before this began is Kofi:
A series of discussions was held in Jerusalem over the weekend, in which the possible scenarios for a ceasefire were discussed. The ceasefire will come into force by Monday morning. The instruction on the exact time for the start of the ceasefire will be apparently given to both sides simultaneously by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Update: Yeah, I had a feeling Caroline Glick wouldn’t be thrilled with the outcome here.