A ceasefire in days?
San Francisco: I've just been interviewing Tony Blair about his plan to bring peace to Lebanon (you can watch it here). He claims that there could be a ceasefire within days if the UN can reach agreement on a new resolution and the principle of setting up a new stabilisation force. If you think this sounds like he's being - in his own words - "an incurable optimist" there are two straws in the wind that may - and I do stress may - suggest you're wrong.
Firstly, an Israeli official has told my colleague Paul Adams that the guns may fall silent when the UN reaches agreement if - and it's a big if - Hezbollah stops firing rockets and does not use a ceasefire to re-arm itself. Secondly, Hezbollah itself last night said it backed the position of the Lebanese government which includes support for Resolution 1559 which calls on foreign forces to withdraw but also calls on militia to be disarmed. Do they mean it? Does this suggest that both fear the consequences of this conflict continuing? The next week should tell us the answer.
I also asked the prime minister about split in his Cabinet - a split which he said he wasn't aware of. It has now emerged that the man who was his foreign secretary until a few weeks ago - Jack Straw - has publicly attacked Israel and, by implication, his own government. Mr Straw told Muslims in his constituency that "Disproportionate action only escalates an already dangerous situation". He went on to say that "one of the many serious concerns I have is that the continuation of such tactics by the Israelis could further undermine destabilise an already fragile Lebanese nation".
A fear many people have is that Britain's position could make us a greater target for terrorist attacks. Tony Blair's answer was blunt - "when people stand up and fight, people will come after you".