What Was He Thinking?

Israel's Olmert may have misjudged Hizballah, but he's digging in for a fight. The outcome will determine both his future and the prospects for Middle East peace.

Just days after launching Israel's violent offensive in Lebanon, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert took time off to share a leisurely weekend lunch with a few old friends. With helicopters buzzing overhead on their way to and from the front, the group sat on the patio of an elegant private home, eating tomato soup, egg noodles and steak. What struck one participant was Olmert's inner calm, the confidence he has exuded as he leads Israel through its biggest crisis in years. "You could see the intensity in his body language," says the friend. "But he was not nervous. You could see that...

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