By SAREE MAKDISI
"After three weeks of devastating bombardment, Israel's much vaunted army finds itself unable to fight its way more than a few kilometers into Lebanon. The heavy resistance they have encountered on the ground is the most obvious explanation for why the Israelis prefer on the whole to go on dropping bombs on children from a safe distance: not only is it less dangerous, it also involves much less effort.
The "deep penetration" raid on Baalbeck was meant to show off the capabilities of Israel's armed forces, to make up for their humiliating performance on the ground and their repeated massacres of civilians from the air, including the refugees sheltering in Qana (an event whose cover story has gone through at least three variations, none of them convincing to anyone other than the Israelis themselves).
Instead, it left a hospital in ruins, more than a dozen civilians dead, and elite forces in possession of an unfortunate middle-aged shopkeeper and an assortment of his friends and relatives.
Surely this would be the right moment for Israel to give up and call it quits."