Meanwhile, Back on the Southern Front
A hat tip to Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters for this story, which has gone virutally unreported in the MSM. According to Haaretz, all Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip are ready to make a deal with Israel, which would include a cease-fire, cessation of rocket attacks into Israel and the release of captured IDF Corporal Gilad Shalit--all in exchange for the future release of Palestinian prisoners held by the Israelis.
So far, Hamas officials have not confirmed the "offer," but (as Ed notes) if it goes through, it would represent a stunning victory for Israel. It now seems like ancient history, but the kidnapping of Corporal Shalit actually triggered the Gaza crisis, which (in turn) became a prelude to the wider war in Lebanon.
Why is Hamas ready to make a deal? Fact is, the terrorist group and its fighters have fared badly in recent operations against the IDF, a situation made worse by Israel's ability to effectively cut off the Gaza, making it almost impossible for Hamas to bring in additional weaponry and reinforcements. Additionally, Israel's interruption of basic services--including electricity and water--made The conflict may also be undermining Hamas' popularity at home; there is a growing sense in the Middle East--even among Palestinian constituencies--that the terrorist groups caused this latest crisis, and the vaunted "Arab Street" has been slow to rally to the cause. And while Iran remains solidly in the corner of Hamas and Hizballah, other Hamas benefactors--particularly those in the Persian Gulf region--may reduce future support for the group. Hence, the need to cut a deal.
If this is bad news for Hamas, it's (potentially) even worse for Hizballah. If hostilties come to a rapid conclusion in the south, some of those IDF battalions currently assigned to the Gaza could shift north, providing more ground troops for operations in southern Lebanon.