Analysis The Light Is Still Green

After the responses from Washington and the G-8 summit at St. Petersburg the assessments of the defense establishment regarding the continuation of the military operation against Hezbollah in Lebanon has changed. According to current evaluations, if Israel does not make any brutal mistakes during the fighting, it will be allowed to carry on with its assault on Hezbollah for a week or two, and possibly more.

During the early stages of the air attacks it was thought that international pressure would mount for an end to the assault. However, Washington and other countries are apparently convinced that the crisis erupted as a result of a terrorist attack authorized by Iran, and the American stance has blocked a United Nations Security Council Resolution calling for a cease-fire.

One of the fundamentals of this stand is that the Israeli operation will not bring about the collapse of the Lebanese government, just as the attack on Hamas and its Qassam launchers in the Gaza Strip can continue so long as it does not lead to a humanitarian crisis.

It is noticeable, therefore, that Israel has minimized its attacks on Lebanon's national infrastructure, but has kept up its blockade in order to prevent the resupply of Hezbollah with missiles and ammunition.

Meanwhile, some argue that in parallel with the attacks it would be best if willingness to reach a diplomatic resolution to the crisis was broached on condition that there be no return to the status quo ante. In other words, that there would be no return to the situation prevailing in southern Lebanon on the eve of the Hezbollah attack on an Israel Defense Forces patrol inside Israel. This would be the way to ensure international support and understanding for the IDF operation against Hezbollah and would significantly weaken the group. Furthermore, the solution to the Hezbollah threat clearly will not be solely a military one, and it is necessary to find a broad diplomatic solution. If Hezbollah does not accept the new conditions, there will be broader understanding for Israel's military actions.

Many are calling for the deployment of ground forces in Lebanon in order to push back the threat of short-range rockets. The IDF is currently rejecting such recommendations, but does not shy from necessary ground operations. For example, armored and combat engineer units were introduced along the border to destroy Hezbollah bunkers and positions, including those in the village of Ghajar.

No doubt, Hezbollah would like to see a ground invasion and during the past two days has called up its reservists, estimated to number a few thousand, who have been deployed in rear positions for the first time.