olmert.thumbnail.jpgPraise where praise is due, Israel has finally allowed humanitarian supplies including food and oil through to Gaza. That hasn’t stopped the attacks immediately, but it makes it possible for Hamas to back down, which they simply could not do as long as the blockade continued. Of course, just going back to "we can get in barely enough food and fuel to survive" isn’t exactly a status quo Hamas will be keen on, but they may decide that this gesture of good faith means that negotiations are actually possible.

I’m not sure this means the war is off, but it does mean that peace is possible, which was not the case if the blockade had continued unabated. I suspect this had a lot to do with international disgust: when even the Turks (who are relatively friendly to Israel) were turning their backs on Israel, it was clear that with the exception of America, Israel was alone. And in a world where the US is in full logistical overreach, is unable to aid its allies (there would be no airlift in this war, all America’s airlift capacity is committed), and where even US foreign aid to Israel may come into question in the next couple years as the US deals with the fact that it is effectively bankrupt and operating by simply printing money, it’s just not clear that Israel can continue to ignore what other nations think.

Hezbollah’s announcement that it would come in on Hamas’s side also has to have made Israel think twice. "Defeating" Hamas, in this context, would have meant trying to hunt down and destroy the native missile industry, and that would probably require high manpower infantry searches. The Israeli army might be able to pull that off in a limited area like Gaza, but they already proved that they can’t stop Hezbollah rockets, and certainly not while fighting both Hezbollah and Hamas at the same time.

So, holding my breath, and let’s see if some sort of agreement can be reached. I still think a war is going to occur at some point, because odds are that Likud will win the next election, so even if this government decides not to go war, I expect the next one to do so. But that’s, at least, no longer certain, for which we can be grateful.