NEGOTIATING A WAY OUT. I noticed that some commenters replying to Matt's item this morning were skeptical about the possibility of a negotiated disarmament of the Hezbollah terrorists. I'd like to point them to this story from The Jerusalem Post on the situation:

There are already Israeli government ministers discussing the need for some sort of prisoner exchange, despite Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's declared steadfast opposition to such a move. Peretz, The Jerusalem Post has learned, believes Israel should be willing to release prisoners in what he has called a "gesture" to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, if Shalit, Goldwasser and Regev are released.

Israel has made such deals in the past - most recently in 2003 - when the remains of three IDF soldiers and captured businessman Elhanan Tennenbaum, held by Hizbullah, were returned to Israel in exchange for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners. Such a swap, officers admitted on Thursday, might turn out to be the only way to get the soldiers back. The IDF siege on Lebanon and Gaza can't go on forever, and eventually the international community will lose patience with Israel's use of force.

"A military operation will not solve the Hizbullah problem," a high-ranking Northern Command officer said. "The international community needs to get involved and place pressure on the Lebanese government to disarm Hizbullah. That is the only way out."

There's the face-saving public talk, and then there's really what's happening.

--Garance Franke-Ruta