December 9, 2006 [LINK / comment]

Hezbollah strikes back

One of the ISG's more dubious suggestions is to rededicate diplomatic efforts toward achieving a peaceful settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. Hopes for peace in the Holy Land have been set back by Hezbollah's recent actions in Lebanon, however. Two weeks ago, a leading anti-Syria politician was assassinated, and this week there were massive demonstrations as part of Hezbollah's thinly-veiled campaign to force the democratic government of Lebanon to resign. Loudspeakers in the streets of Beirut blared Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah's voice: "Just as I promised you victory in the past, I promise you victory once again." See Washington Post. The combination of Syria's belligerence and Hezbollah's resurgence does not bode well for peace at all.

Another reason why peace initiative is unlikely to bear fruit right now: Israel has been divided internally since the lackluster campaign against Hezbollah in Lebanon last summer, and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is simply too weak to make effective bargains.