Israel’s Security Cabinet approved early Tuesday widening the ground offensive in Lebanon and rejected a cease-fire until an international force is in place, a participant in the meeting said.
Airstrikes in Lebanon would resume “in full force” after the 48-hour suspension expires in another day, said the participant, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters. He said there was no deadline for the offensive, though the United Nations Security Council is expected to debate a resolution this week about a cease-fire.
The Israelis may have found some encouragement from new intel that says Hezbollah has run low on launchers, if not the rockets. They want to make sure they can capture or destroy the rest before they end this campaign, and have reached the conclusion that air power alone cannot achieve that objective.
While Israel earlier had asked for a 2-km buffer zone, reports say that the IDF incursion will penetrate much further than that. An Israeli commander interviewed on Fox said that they plan on pushing far into Lebanon to chase down and cut off Hezbollah. The IAF has successfully cut off many of the roads that Hezbollah would use to pull their equipment to safety in Syria, and they would need to act fast in order to take advantage of the cut in communications.
The French effort in Beirut has not yet hit the wires, but the French foreign minister has apparently requested an emergency meeting with the Iranian ambassador. France, which earlier today called Iran a stabilizing force in the Middle East, may try to get Iran to call back Hezbollah so that a settlement can be reached. I suppose it doesn’t hurt to ask, but one has to wonder how France would convince Iran that a war on Israel’s border doesn’t serve their national interest — which is, of course, the destruction of Israel.