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DAILY ALERT

July 17, 2006
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Support Israel's Right to Self-Defense (Conference of Presidents)
    Rally on Monday, July 17, 12:00 noon, across from the UN, E. 42nd St. and 1st Ave., NYC.

In-Depth Issues:

Rockets that Hit Haifa Were Syrian Made - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
    IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz said Fajar missiles fired at Haifa on Sunday, killing eight people, were made in Syria.
    Since the fighting in the north began, 20 Israelis have been killed including IDF troops; 377 have been wounded - seven seriously, 22 moderately, 127 lightly, and 201 have suffered shock.


Israel Campus Beat
- July 16, 2006

Point Counter-Point:
    Is Convergence in the West Bank Still a Viable Option?

Iran Glorifies Hizballah's Attacks Against Israel (Xinhua-China)
    Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Sunday praised Hizballah for launching attacks on Israel and said, "The existence of Israel in this region is an evil and cancerous being."
    Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami hailed Hizballah as "a radiant sun that emblazes and warms all Muslims and free nations, including the Palestinians."


Soldier Killed, Five Wounded in Nablus - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
    An IDF soldier was killed and five soldiers were wounded in Nablus Sunday night after a bomb was thrown at their patrol and they came under heavy gunfire.
    The son of Central Command Head Lt.-Gen. Yair Naveh was wounded in the incident.
    The Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, affiliated with Fatah, took responsibility for the attack.


Palestinians Fire 20 Rockets at Israel from Gaza - Shmulik Hadad (Ynet News)
    Ten Kassam rockets landed Sunday evening in Israel - in Ashkelon near a strategic facility, in Sderot, and elsewhere in the western Negev.
    Ten more landed Monday morning - three in Kibbutz Nahal Oz and one in the yard of a Sderot house, wounding two people.


Palestinian Caught with Bomb in Jerusalem - Etgar Lefkovitz (Jerusalem Post)
    A 25-year-old Palestinian was caught Monday carrying a bomb in his bag on Jaffa Road in central Jerusalem, police said.
    A senior IDF officer said the army has concrete information regarding attempts by terrorist groups in Nablus to launch suicide bombings in Israeli cities.


Israeli Pilots Prepare to Face Advanced Missiles - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
    After an Iranian missile caught an Israel Navy ship off guard Friday, with deadly consequences, the Israel Air Force decided on Sunday to change its operational procedures out of concern that Hizballah might have highly-advanced anti-aircraft missiles.
    A senior IAF officer said Sunday that the air force was using bunker-buster bombs to strike at senior Hizballah officials.


Israel Will Not Be Pushed Around - Editorial (Times-UK)
    The images of destruction this weekend in Lebanon have been condemned by some commentators and politicians as disproportionate.
    But they are a reminder of an enduring truth: Israel will not be pushed around.
    Put bluntly, Israelis will judge their government's response by its ability to defend them.


Convicts Offer to Refurbish Bomb Shelters - Jonathan Lis (Ha'aretz)
    Close to 100 convicted criminals currently incarcerated in prisons throughout the north have volunteered to refurbish 120 public bomb shelters in Safed which are in need of renovation.
    The prisoners are scheduled to begin work on Monday.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • U.S. Supports Israel's Campaign - Jim Rutenberg
    The Bush administration on Sunday appeared to give Israel tacit approval to cripple Hizballah, casting the widening conflict in the Middle East in terms of a wider war on terrorism. That was a central theme of both public and private statements from senior U.S. officials as they tried their best to minimize differences with European nations and their Russian hosts at the opening of the annual meeting of the Group of 8 industrialized nations. (New York Times)
        See also Bush Counting on Israel to Quash Influence of Islamic Militants
    The U.S. is banking on Israel achieving in Lebanon what years of diplomacy and conflict have so far failed to do: limit the ability of Syria and Iran to use Islamic radicals to undermine regional stability. President Bush and Secretary of State Rice have signaled that Israel largely has a free hand in attacking the militant group Hizballah in Lebanon. They have declined to set limits on Israeli action, and Rice says she won't engage in personal diplomacy until there is a clear path toward ending the extremist threat. (Bloomberg)
  • Rice: Israel May Need to Prolong Offensive - Brian Knowlton
    Israel may need to prolong its offensive in Lebanon to further reduce the threat from Hizballah, Secretary of State Rice said on Sunday. Rice appeared to support a longer-term Israeli effort to inflict decisive damage to Hizballah's presence in Lebanon. She also said she was considering a trip to the region. "A cessation of violence is crucial, but if that cessation of violence is hostage to Hizballah's next decision to launch missiles into Israel or Hamas' next decision to abduct an Israeli citizen, then we will have gotten nowhere," she said. (New York Times)
        See also Rice Says No Ceasefire with Armed Hizballah - Paula Wolfson
    Secretary of State Rice says she wants to see a sustainable ceasefire in the Middle East, but peace will not come as long as Hizballah remains an armed threat to Israel. She says a ceasefire that does not address the root causes will not hold, and that any ceasefire that leaves Hizballah with the ability to launch rocket attacks on Israel and opens the door to Iranian and Syrian interference will accomplish little. "And we will be right back here, perhaps, in a worse circumstance, because the terrorists will assume that nobody is willing to take on what has been a very clear assault, now, on the progress that is being made by moderate forces in the Middle East." (Voice of America)
        See also Rice Defends Israel
    Rice, in Russia, defended Israel's attacks in Lebanon. "No state is going to sit and allow rockets to be fired into its country and not defend its citizens," she said of Israel. (UPI/Washington Times)
  • G8 Blames "Extremists" for Mideast Violence
    Group of Eight leaders on Sunday issued a statement on the Middle East that blamed Lebanon's Hizballah and elements in Hamas for starting a crisis that has left dozens dead, describing those responsible as "extremists" and calling on them to immediately halt their attacks. The G8 put the onus on Hizballah to act first to end the fighting and said Israel had the right to defend itself. (Reuters)
        See also Text of G-8 Statement on Mideast Fighting (AP/Los Angeles Times)
  • Some Arab Leaders Blame Hizballah - Hassan M. Fattah
    Key Arab governments have taken the rare step of blaming Hizballah, underscoring their growing fear of influence by the group's main sponsor, Iran. Saudi Arabia, with Jordan, Egypt, and several Persian Gulf states, chastised Hizballah for "unexpected, inappropriate, and irresponsible acts" at an emergency Arab League summit meeting in Cairo on Saturday. (New York Times)
  • Iran's Leadership Rejects Freeze of Sensitive Nuclear Work - Siavosh Ghazi
    Iran's leadership has rejected demands to freeze sensitive nuclear work contained in a proposal by Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the U.S. and handed to Tehran on June 6. The package offers trade, technology, diplomatic, and other incentives as well as multilateral talks - also involving the U.S. - if Iran agrees to freeze enrichment. "The leadership has reached the conclusion that it will not accept the precondition set by the Europeans," said Abdolreza Rahmani-Fazli, the deputy secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council. (AFP/Yahoo)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • 1,400 Rockets Have Hit Israel Since Wednesday
    Prime Minister Olmert told the Israeli cabinet Sunday that since last Wednesday, 1,400 rockets have landed inside Israel. "1,400 hits means 1,400 attempts to attack citizens of the State of Israel in their homes and places of work with unparalleled and bloodthirsty cruelty and brutality. We see here the gap between us when we act with exemplary caution and respect for the sanctity of life and human dignity - and the brutality that we see on their part." "It must be clear that Israel will not return to the status quo that prevailed before last Wednesday; this situation was intolerable from the outset." Olmert said that the Israel Defense Forces would not stop its current campaign until we can tell the Israeli people that the threat hanging over it has been removed. (Prime Minister's Office)
        See also IDF Briefs Cabinet on Lebanon - Herb Keinon
    IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz told the Israeli cabinet Sunday that Israeli air attacks on the Damascus-Beirut highway had foiled plans for another shipment of rockets to Hizballah. He also said Israel intended to create a one-kilometer-deep "fire zone" along the border that would be cleared of any Hizballah elements. Head of Military Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin told the cabinet that Nasrallah was surprised by the extent of Israel's response. "If he had known that this would be our response, he would not have kidnapped the soldiers," he said. Nasrallah thought that this action would make him a hero in the Arab world, but instead he has found himself criticized in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Lebanon. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Rocket Attack near Acre Injures Four - Ahiya Raved
    A Hizballah rocket hit a house in the Acre area early Monday, landing in a bedroom at 4:30 a.m. The father of the family was hurt by shrapnel. Additional rockets landed north of Nahariya, near Kibbutz Lohamei Hagetaot, and at Bustan Hagalil. (Ynet News)
        See also Hizballah Rockets Strike Afula, Jezreel Valley - Yuval Azoulay, Amos Harel, and Yoav Stern
    Rockets landed in the city of Afula, Upper Nazareth, Migdal Ha'emek, and Givat Ela Sunday evening, up to 50 km from the northern border. The army is concerned that Iranian-made Zalzal missiles, whose range is estimated to exceed 200 km, may be used, thus allowing Hizballah to target the Tel Aviv metropolitan area. Hizballah still has a significant arsenal "of very many rockets of all kinds," Israel Air Force Commander Maj.-Gen. Eliezer Shkedy said Sunday. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Will Tehran Authorize Hizballah to Rocket Tel Aviv? - Ze'ev Schiff
    Will Tehran authorize Hizballah to launch long-range missiles with more powerful warheads? This is a capability Hizballah still retains, despite the heavy blows it has suffered in the IDF air strikes. Air strikes are focusing on Hizballah infrastructure, including rockets, positions, and bunkers in southern Lebanon, the Bekaa Valley, and Beirut. Hizballah has prepared some 600 storage bunkers, a third of which were for the longer range rockets. Israel will also try to target the most senior members of Hizballah, some of whom are hiding in bunkers deep in the Dahiya quarter in southern Beirut. Targets in Dahiya include a subterranean ammunition factory. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Home Front Command Lowers Alert Level for Tel Aviv Region (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Monday Afternoon: Rockets Hit Haifa, Tiberias, Safed, Carmiel, Acre (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Israel Fights West's Cause Against Radical Islam - Anton La Guardia
    Lebanon has become the battleground between pro-Western and radical Islamic forces. Few governments, even Arab states, want to see Hizballah win the contest. As the conflict has intensified, Israel has found a degree of international sympathy, or at least understanding. The last thing Washington needs is for Syria and Iran to win a proxy victory in Lebanon.
        Hizballah's attack on Israel has been of benefit to the whole "arc of extremism" stretching from the Gaza Strip to Iraq. It has given Hamas a boost, diverted international attention away from Iran's nuclear program, and may have strengthened the position of Syria as envoys plead with it to help restrain Hizballah. (Telegraph-UK)
  • Give Israel Time to Complete the Mission - Editorial
    Israel's necessary decisions to launch military campaigns against Hizballah and Hamas have created an opportunity to change the balance of forces between Israel and the terror networks that have plagued the Middle East since the 1979 Iranian Revolution. The most important thing that Israel needs is time: time to root out the weapons caches stockpiled in private homes; time to hit the rocket and missile-launching sites and terrorist training camps Hizballah has established throughout Lebanon; and time to hunt down the jihadists in the Bekaa Valley whose life's work is to destroy the Jewish state.
        In Lebanon and Gaza, Israel has a number of key goals in addition to freeing the soldiers kidnapped by terrorists: 1) forcing Lebanon and the PA in Gaza to prevent terrorists from operating out of their territory; 2) crippling the military capabilities of Hizballah and Hamas; 3) re-establishing the credibility of the Israel Defense Force's deterrence against terrorist groups; 4) deterring state sponsors of terror like Iran and Syria. All of these strike us as legitimate goals that are broadly consistent with U.S. foreign policy interests and merit Washington's support. President Bush has made clear that he is sympathetic with Israel's plight and understands that Israel is acting in self-defense.
        But the central problem remains: the fact that for Iran and Syria, terror remains a largely cost-free exercise. Both regimes have been largely spared any of the consequences for their roles in sponsoring the terrorist groups responsible for igniting the current fighting in Gaza and Lebanon. Until the leaders of Iran and Syria lose the ability to fight to the last Lebanese and last Palestinian at no cost to themselves, look for the terror to continue. (Washington Times)
  • Observations:

    Iran Plans to Dominate the Middle East - Dore Gold (Telegraph-UK)

    • Since the 1982 Lebanon War, the United Nations has repeatedly demanded that all foreign forces leave Lebanese territory as the prerequisite for the pacification of the volatile Israel-Lebanon border. Israel's withdrawal to what the UN called the "blue line" in 2000 was recognized by Secretary-General Kofi Annan as a full Israeli withdrawal from Lebanese territory. His ruling was confirmed by the UN Security Council on July 27, 2000, in Resolution 1310.
    • In 2002, Lebanese media reported the arrival of Iranian Revolutionary Guards to train Hizballah in the use of Fajr 3 and Fajr 5 medium-range missiles with a range of 45 miles, deployed in southern Lebanon and aimed at Israel's northern cities. So in return for Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon, it acquired a more powerful Hizballah, with Iranian forces also taking up positions directly on its borders.
    • After the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri by Syrian agents in 2005 and the "Cedar Revolution" that followed, the UN Security Council called again "for the disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias," and repeated its call to the Lebanese government "to ensure its effective authority throughout the south, including the deployment of Lebanese armed forces." The UN Security Council wanted the Lebanese Army sitting on the Israeli-Lebanese border - not Hizballah. Had UN resolutions on Lebanon been implemented, there would be no Hizballah rockets raining on Israeli civilians in Haifa, Nahariya, Safed, and Tiberias.
    • What should be the aims of the entire Western alliance - including Israel - in the current conflict? The chief goals are full implementation of UN Security Council resolutions that call for dismantling Hizballah and the deployment of the Lebanese Army along the Israeli-Lebanon border instead. Second, the removal of all Iranian forces and equipment from Lebanese territory, along with any lingering Syrian presence.
    • Israel must protect its civilians from ongoing missile attacks, whether from Lebanon or the Gaza Strip. The first duty of any government is the defense of its citizens. Primary responsibility for what is happening rests squarely with Iran and its local proxies.

      The writer is the president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, and served as Israel's ambassador to the UN from 1997 to 1999.

          See also The Ayatollahs Are the Real Enemies of Israel - Editorial
      It is worth remembering who started it. In both Gaza and Lebanon, the proximate cause of the current violence was a terrorist attack on a legally constituted state army. Having sought a "land-for-peace" deal, Tel Aviv found that it had surrendered the land but not been granted the peace. Accordingly, it set out to secure its own borders. If the Palestinian Authority and the Lebanese government were unwilling or unable to stop freelance incursions into Israeli territory, Israel would do it for them. (Telegraph-UK)


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