Middle East semantics
This war has all been about semantics and the failure to read the small print.
As I write, our reporter in Brussels is filing on the EU foreign ministers meeting that's just ended - the gist of her report is that the ministers agreed not to call for an immediate ceasefire in Lebanon. Instead, they're calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities.
The difference between ceasefire and cessation of hostilities? A cynic would say none. Just a way around various political sensitivities.
But it’s not just the Europeans that have a taste for linguistic fineries. The Israelis and Lebanese can also play at that game. Here's two quick examples.
Example 1 - early Monday morning Israel announces it's agreed to a suspension of air activity for 48 hours to investigate the Qana incident - we duly register. It’s the lead of our news bulletins and breakfast programmes.
A few hours later, Dan Damon on World Update interviews a Lebanese minister who insists aerial bombardment was still going on, and claims the Israeli airforce had just attacked a Lebanese military post near Tyre. Clearly the story's moving fast but we need to confirm and get this right. If the minister's claims are correct, we can’t possibly keep leading on "a cessation of aerial hostilities".
The programme's editor decides to turn to Jim Muir in the South of Lebanon who confirms artillery was hitting, but most likely it's naval he says. Jim adds he could hear planes flying but did not think they were dropping bombs. The editor decides to get it from the horse's mouth - the always-accommodating IDF spokesperson. No joy there. It's finally Richard Miron, in Metulla on the Israeli/Lebanese border who sheds some light over the elusive aerial "pause"...
He explains that Israeli jets had been operating in the area and quoted the Israeli army saying, "it reserves the right to strike Hezbollah targets where it believe its forces and civilians are under imminent threat". Hot of the press, he then confirmed the Air Force was indeed assisting ground operation. Ceasefire meant in this instance that the Israeli airforce was not carrying on with its timetabled operation - simply responding.
Riddle solved. We changed our headline.
Example 2 - from the other side of the border. It is well known there is no love lost between Hezbollah and the Lebanese PM Fuad Siniora. Mr Siniora is anti-Syrian, a good friend of Condoleeza Rice, and certainly not a fan of Syed Hassan Nasrallah.
Yet in an emotional speech after the Israeli strike on Qana, the prime minister praised Hezbollah, calling them resistance fighters, protectors of Lebanon and the Lebanese - you could say he "re-named" Hezbollah.
Mere semantics or a more profound shift in internal Lebanese alignments? Time will tell.
Liliane Landor is editor of World Service news and current affairs