perspective17 Jul 2006
An interesting perspective on the relationship and signals between Israel and Hezbollah:
When Hezbollah attacked Haifa Thursday, first Hezbollah said, “We didn’t do it.” Then they said, “We didn’t target Haifa.” No one picked up on it. Here’s what they meant to say: “We understand hitting Haifia is a major escalation, and we didn’t mean to do that.”…
Olmert responded, “You get Haifa, we’ll take down Beirut,” and he went after Beirut. So far as I can tell, since then, Haifa has been off limits.
Now so far as I can tell, there are rules here. And the rules are, you take down our major cities and we’ll make life very uncomfortable for you. And Olmert put Damascus back on the table as a clear warning. And I think [Syrian president Bashar al-] Assaad probably called Hezbollah – over which he doesn’t have too much influence – and said, “Did you hear that signal or not?” And they got it.
So now we’re in a game. … I expect we’ll see an escalation here over the next two days, but what I would expect to find after that is that both sides climb down off the ladder.