The announcement came not from Israel's government, but from the US Department of State.
Late today, Israel agreed to suspend its airstrikes for 48 hours while it investigates the bombing of Qana, a State Department spokesman said. The spokesman, Adam Ereli, told reporters in Jerusalem that Israel would coordinate with the United Nations to provide a 24-hour period during which residents of southern Lebanon could leave the area safely.
“Israel has, of course, reserved the right to take action against targets preparing attacks against it,” he said.
It gets better. Here’s the Jerusalem Post on this.
In Jerusalem, the IDF spokesman's office said it knew nothing of an agreement to halt airstrikes in Lebanon for 48 hours. Government officials were not immediately available for comment.
Regardless of what this "suspension" really means (weren't we told all targets were Hizbullah targets?), the following question needs to be asked: Who is calling the shots in the US administration? Who decided it would be a good idea for a US State Department official to announce a “suspension of war” on behalf of another country, BEFORE the concerned country’s army or government announces it? Have the United States and Israel been merged into one country?
Forget who is right or wrong here. The people of the United States of America deserve to know why their country is speaking for Israel before Israel speaks for itself.
I think the US State Department owes Americans an explanation, otherwise, we might as well assume that the US Air Force has been bombing Lebanon.
UPDATE. Some in the comments section are arguing that the US announced it for the Israelis as a way to force them to stop their airstrikes until residents are evacuated. I still have not seen any public statements from Israeli officials confirming the 48-hour suspension. Unless you count this from AP:
Israeli government officials confirmed Prime Minister Ehud Olmert agreed to an immediate 48-hour halt in airstrikes on Lebanon around midnight Sunday while the military concludes its inquiry into the attack on the south Lebanese village of Qana. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters.