Rules of Engagement

With tempers still hot in the Middle East, U.N. diplomats are trying hard to make headway on a durable Israeli-Hizballah cease-fire. In the meantime, Israel and Hizballah are busy decoding each other’s messages, which usually come in the form of a missile or air strike. Into the fourth week of fighting, the two combatants have, somewhat surprisingly, certain understandings. “They don’t bomb Lebanon’s power stations, and we don’t bomb Haifa’s petrochemical factories,” a Hizballah official told TIME late last week. But the status quo could be shaken up if Israeli troops, above, continue to occupy southern Lebanon until an international peacekeeping force can be formed. “If the Israelis don’t lift the siege and they allow Lebanon to run out of energy,” the official warns, “it will be tit for tat.”

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