Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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Report: Iran Set Up Hizballah Missile Bases in Lebanon - Roee Nahmias (Ynet News)
IDF: Hizballah Hides Rockets in Houses - Hanan Greenberg (Ynet News)
Residents of Northern Israel Stay Home - Yuval Azoulay, Amos Harel, and Yoav Stern (Ha'aretz)
Meeting the Missile Challenge - Barry Rubin (Jerusalem Post)
Palestinians Eager to Help Hizballah - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Hizballah rocket attacks killed at least eight people at the train maintenance depot in the northern Israeli city of Haifa Sunday morning. Many more were wounded. Other rockets landed near an oil refinery and gas storage tanks. Rockets also hit the northern towns of Acco and Nahariya. The Israeli death toll in the four-day-old conflict stood at 24. Israeli officials warned that Tel Aviv, 70 miles inside Israel, could be hit. (AP/Washington Post)
Hizballah, helped by Iranian troops, struck an Israeli naval vessel 16 km off the coast of Lebanon Friday using a radar-guided, Iranian-made C-802 missile, Israeli officials said Saturday. Four Israeli sailors were killed. About 100 fighters from Iran's Revolutionary Guard helped import, equip, and fire the missile at the Israeli ship, Israeli officials said. An Israeli military official said the ship's missile detection and deflection system was not on because such an attack had not been anticipated.
Brig. Gen. Ido Nehushtan said another Hizballah missile hit and sank a nearby Cambodian merchant ship around the same time. (AP/Washington Post)
Israel, with U.S. support, intends to resist calls for a cease-fire and continue a longer-term strategy of punishing Hizballah, which is likely to include several weeks of precision bombing in Lebanon, according to senior Israeli and U.S. officials. For Israel, the goal is to eliminate Hizballah as a security threat - or altogether.
For the U.S., the broader goal is to strangle the axis of Hizballah, Hamas, Syria, and Iran, which the Bush administration believes is pooling resources to change the strategic playing field in the Middle East. Whatever the outrage on the Arab streets, Washington believes it has strong behind-the-scenes support among key Arab leaders also nervous about the populist militants - with a tacit agreement that the timing is right to strike.
There is a "unique moment" with a "convergence of interests" among Israel, some Arab regimes, and those in Lebanon who want to rein in the country's last private army, a senior Israeli official said. "We'll have to go for the kill - Hizballah neutralization," said Israeli Ambassador Daniel Ayalon.
White House spokesman Tony Snow said Friday that President Bush "believes that the Israelis have a right to protect themselves....The president is not going to make military decisions for Israel." (Washington Post)
See also Bush: Hizballah Must Stop Attacking Israel
President Bush said Saturday: "The best way to stop the violence is to understand why the violence occurred in the first place. And that's because Hizballah has been launching rocket attacks out of Lebanon into Israel, and because Hizballah captured two Israeli soldiers. That's why we have violence. And the best way to stop the violence is for Hizballah to lay down its arms, and to stop attacking. And, therefore, I call upon Syria to exert influence over Hizballah." (White House)
Palestinian militants forced open a border gate between Egypt and Gaza on Friday, wounding an Egyptian officer and letting into Gaza hundreds of Palestinians who had been trapped on the Egyptian side of the border. Egyptian police Capt. Mohammed Abdel Hadi said masked Palestinian militants firing guns broke into the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing. (AP/Forbes)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
A woman and her four-year-old grandson were killed by a Katyusha rocket that hit a house in the Meron community near Safed Friday evening. The child's parents, along with six other people, were injured in the attack. (Ynet News)
Hizballah fired several rocket barrages at the northern city of Tiberias on Saturday evening. Some 54 people were hurt. Safed, Kiryat Shmona, and other communities were also bombarded. (Ynet News)
Six rockets fired by Palestinians in Gaza landed in Sderot on Sunday, damaging a school. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
There can be no doubt that Iran and Syria, Hizballah's chief sponsors, bear responsibility for what has instantly become the most far-reaching, lethal, and dangerous eruption of cross-border fighting in the Middle East in recent years. Europeans and others in the international community are already criticizing as excessive Israel's swift military response to Hizballah's ambush of an Israeli patrol Wednesday, in which three soldiers were killed and two others taken captive. Conspicuously they have said comparatively little about the volleys of dozens of rockets Hizballah rained down on northern Israel. Many Lebanese, including but not only Christians, are furious at Hizballah for exercising what amounts to a unilateral foreign policy.
Tehran should be called to account in the UN Security Council not only for its program to enrich uranium but also for its support of Hizballah. Damascus, which hosts Hizballah and Hamas, should also come under renewed international pressure, including sanctions. In all the diplomacy, the false lure of "evenhandedness" must not be allowed to obscure the fact that Hizballah and its backers have instigated the current fighting and should be held responsible for the consequences. (Washington Post)
This was the week the Dark Side went on the offensive. Defeat for Israel - either on the battlefield or via coerced compromises to achieve flawed cease-fires - is a defeat for U.S. interests; it will inspire radicals of every stripe, release Iran and Syria to spread more mayhem inside Iraq, and make more likely our own eventual confrontation with this emboldened alliance of extremists. Victory - in the form of Hizballah's disarmament, the expulsion of the Iranian military presence from Lebanon, the eviction of Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal from Damascus, and the demise of the Hamas government in Gaza - is, by the same token, also a victory for U.S. (and Western) interests.
While military force is essential, nonmilitary measures are needed too. These include organizing transatlantic consensus on economic and political pressure on Syria, devising a fast-executing international mechanism to disarm Hizballah, and expediting the Security Council process on Iran. None of this can happen without America taking the lead. The writer is executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Weekly Standard)
Iran has conducted a semi-hostile takeover of what used to be known as the Arab-Israeli dispute. Iran and the Islamists are fueled by the sense that the winds of history are blowing at their back. They pushed the Soviets out of Afghanistan, the U.S. out of Lebanon, Israel out of Lebanon and Gaza, and they seem on the verge of pushing the U.S. out of Iraq. After centuries of Muslim humiliation, these people know how to win. So Hamas and Hizballah audaciously set the pace of confrontation.
The core issue is that just as Israel has been trying to pull back to more sensible borders, its enemies have gone completely berserk. The Arab world has ceded control of this vital flashpoint to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Bashar al-Assad. It has ceded its own destiny to people who do not believe in freedom, democracy, tolerance, or any of the values civilized people hold dear. And what's the world's response? Israel is overreacting. (New York Times, 16Jul06)
When Hizballah attacks Israel - or attacks anybody - it is Iran that is really doing the attacking. If Iran can get the world to the brink of a war with just a few conventional explosives, a militia of irregulars and some suicide bombers, think what they could do with a real nuke. When the Iranians get nukes, this ruckus we're witnessing today will look like a walk in the park. It seems like a war between Israel and some terror groups. It's really a war by Iran on us. (Fox News)
Israel's Defense - Israeli UN Ambassador Dan Gillerman (New York Post)
Ambassador Gillerman told the UN Security Council Friday:
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