Secretary Rice, former provost of Stanford, visited Beirut on July 24, 2006. I imagine this was the scenario. Only Israel, besides the Lebanese, were told she was coming to Beirut. This would assure a bombing pause so the secretary of state would not be harmed. Once she left, I am sure Israel was given the green light to continue its strategic bombing of civilian population centers, as the Nazis and allies did during World War II.
The hypocrisy of her visit is almost indecent. She claims to be supporting the government of Fouad Siniora, the Lebanese prime minister, while she is responsible for the destruction of the capital and the destabilisation of the country. She could not land at the airport by aeroplane because Israel destroyed it. Secretary Rice had to take a helicopter from Cyprus. She claims to support the Lebanese who are being massacred by American-donated weaponry to Israel. This is typical of America. Say one thing and do another. Visit a nation that you have allowed to be destroyed, blockaded and bombed and claim to offer support for it. This is the old politics of realism, balances of power, ruthless pursuit of vital interests which is so utterly old and predictable as the world seeks new paths and directions toward reconciliation.
The reason why the U.S. does not want a ceasefire is because it wants to destroy Hezbollah, not "degrade" its assets as the New York Times put it, but to slaughter as many of them as possible. This is what state terrorism is all about. Using arbitrarily massive firepower in response to a weaker party's limited attack–abducting TWO enemy combatants in Israel–with impunity. The U.S. is responsible for both Iraq and Lebanon. It invaded Iraq; it radicalised Islamist decolonisation movements in Palestine and Lebanon; it is utterly unwilling to acknowledge Syrian and Iranian interests in the region.
Secretary Rice rebuffed the Saudi effort at a ceasefire because these neo-cold warriors want war, want to kill Arabs, want Israel to be the western anchor in the American dream of regional hegemony in the Middle East. Israel is seen as a crime by millions due to its formation by displacement of the Arab population in 1948. Many construe it as a settlement. While its existence is now non-negotiable, its formation, its behaviour, and the support it receives from the U.S. likely caused September 11, certainly caused the rise of the Intifada, obviously caused the introduction of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, and will eventually cause massive destruction of the U.S. as this war between the Jews, the Christians v. the Muslim world heads toward significant escalation in violence and geographic application of force.
The road to peace cannot be forged with war and smart weapons. Only the liberation of Palestine, the return of the Golan to Syria, the removal of American forces from the region, and the demilitarisation of Israel can create an authentic peace.