Israel is at a crossroads in this war. Either go for a ceasefire or for an escalation.

After almost a month and little to show for it, the army is requesting a large operation that practically means the re-invasion of Lebanon. Olmert knows that if he agrees, hundreds of soldiers will die, with guarantee of a decisive victory and the risk of regional conflict. Hence his inclination to stop. On the other hand, if he does not agree and the war ends soon, he will be blamed for not having what it takes to be PM. In the eyes of both the enemy and, increasingly, the Israeli public, Israel has lost this war by squandering the opportunity to make a difference in the first round of fighting.

I don’t envy him. We’ll see what the cabinet comes up with today.

UPDATE: The cabinet approved a short while ago the larger operation. Today’s high toll for the IDF in Lebanon is only a precursor to what we can expect in coming weeks.

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