So for two weeks Arab governments and Iran demanded an immediate cease-fire in Lebanon. Now, France and the United States draft a security council resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire, and both the Arab League and Iran reject it.
It’s pretty easy to see why, of course. No one would call the IDF’s ground campaign a raging success, but Israeli forces hold chunks of Lebanese territory. Since the Franco-US draft does not call for an immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Israeli forces, the Arab League and Iran reject it.
Put another way: the Arab League and Iran wanted an immediate cease-fire when the facts on the ground would have meant a clear Israeli defeat (no return of Israeli soldiers, no military defeat of Hizbullah–essentially the status quo before Israeli responded). Now that that is no longer the case, they reject a cease-fire. In fact, ending the war now might give anti-Hizbullah forces some propaganda value: all you’ve brought us is more Israeli occupation.
All of this is in keeping with traditional diplomacy. But spare us the wailing from Arab governments about civilian casualties. Suddenly, all those people who were demanding an immediate end to fighting because of civilian casualties seem a lot less interested in them. European governments have also been very quiet about the Franco-American draft: when forced to choose between undermining Israel or saving civilians, they’ll sacrifice the civilians any day.
If hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue, there’s an awful lot of tribute being paid now.
UPDATE: Billmon has a post saying the same thing, but with a very different spin. Worth reading.