Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Hizballah at Half Its Strength - David Horovitz (Jerusalem Post)
The Arming of Hizballah - Mark Mazzetti and Thom Shanker (New York Times)
Video: NBC Film Crew Witnesses Hizballah Rocket Launches (MSNBC)
Human Rights Watch: Hizballah Rocket Attacks on Haifa Designed to Kill Civilians (Human Rights Watch)
See also NGOs Exploit Lebanon Crisis to Attack Israel (NGO Monitor)
Report from the Front Line in the Katyusha War - R. Z. Freedman (Jerusalem Post)
Fatah-Hamas Tensions Continue in Gaza - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
12th Anniversary of Bombing of Jewish Center in Buenos Aires by Hizballah (BBC News)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
President Bush Tuesday endorsed Israel's campaign to cripple or eliminate Hizballah, charged that Syria is trying to reassert control of Lebanon, and called for the isolation of Iran. Bush said the "root cause" of the conflict between Israel and Hizballah "is terrorism and terrorist attacks on a democratic country. And part of those terrorist attacks are inspired by nation states, like Syria and Iran. And in order to be able to deal with this crisis, the world must deal with Hizballah, with Syria, and to continue to work to isolate Iran."
Bush said again that Israel should be allowed to defend itself. "It is now clear for all to see that there are terrorist elements who want to destroy our democratic friends and allies, and the world must work to prevent them from doing so," Bush said. "The real objective here has to be to deny the Mediterranean branch of Tehran a strategic victory," a senior U.S. official added. (Washington Post)
See also Blair Blames Syria and Iran for Spreading Terror Across Region - Anton La Guardia
Tony Blair laid the blame for the crisis in the Middle East at the door of Syria and Iran Tuesday, saying they were responsible for supporting militants ranging from Lebanon's Hizballah to insurgents who have killed British soldiers in Iraq. (Telegraph-UK)
The outlines of an American-Israeli consensus began to emerge on Tuesday in which Israel would continue to bombard Lebanon for about another week to degrade the capabilities of the Hizballah militia, officials of the two countries said. Then, Secretary of State Rice would go to the region. American officials signaled that Rice was waiting at least a few more days before wading into the conflict, in part to give Israel more time to weaken Hizballah forces. (New York Times)
See also Mideast Cease-Fire Not Imminent - Joshua Brilliant (UPI)
Democratic and Republican congressional leaders are rushing to offer support for Israel's offensive against Hizballah. The Senate Tuesday unanimously passed a bipartisan resolution endorsing Israel's military campaign and condemning Hizballah and its two backers, Iran and Syria. The House is expected to pass a similar resolution Wednesday. (Washington Post)
See also Thousands Gather in Chicago for Pro-Israel Rally - Tonya Maxwell (Chicago Tribune)
Israelis on the front lines of the battle with Lebanon's Hizballah militia are girding for more attacks but say they are willing to endure temporary hardship if the government succeeds in getting Hizballah off their backs once and for all. "If we don't want to pay the small payment now, in the future we'll have to pay a much bigger price," said Geda Young, whose third-floor Haifa apartment was destroyed by a Hizballah Katyusha rocket Monday.
"It's the first time since the 1948 war that the Israeli home front has been so exposed to attack and by an outside party," said Sami Michael, an Israeli author who lives in Haifa. "The population is showing maturity in dealing with the situation. The country believes that it is in the right." A survey in the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot Tuesday found that 86 percent of Israelis think the operation is justified and 81 percent want it to continue. (Washington Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Hizballah launched over 100 Katyusha rockets at towns and cities in northern Israel on Tuesday. Rockets struck Safed, Carmiel, Sde Eliezer, Acre, Kiryat Shmona, Tiberias, the Haifa suburbs of Kiryat Yam, Kiryat Haim, and Kiryat Ata, Hatzor Haglilit, Yesod Hama'ala, the central Golan Heights, Gush Halav, and the Haifa Bay region. (Ha'aretz)
Nahariya resident Andrei Zelinsky, 37, and his family moved to Israel from Ukraine several years ago. On Tuesday, when the siren sounded to warn of an incoming rocket, he insisted that his family enter the nearest bomb shelter before him. His wife and four-year-old daughter managed to enter the shelter in time, but Zelinsky was still outside when the rocket hit, killing him. (Ha'aretz)
See also Home Front Command Modifies Instructions - Roni Singer-Heruti
The Home Front Command has called on residents of the north to remain indoors when they hear the air-raid siren rather than heading for the nearest bomb shelter, after a Nahariya resident was killed in a rocket attack while on his way to a bomb shelter. "From the moment of the warning, there is not enough time to reach the shelter, and we don't want people to be outside when there is concern over rocket hits," said Lt.-Col. Tzachi Shoham. (Ha'aretz)
Prime Minster Ehud Olmert said Tuesday that the idea of an international force in Lebanon was "a good headline," but that Israel's experience "shows that there is nothing behind it." "Today there is a multinational force in Lebanon, and we are seeing what they do....I think it is premature to talk about it."
Olmert said he did not rule out negotiations, as long as they are not held with Hizballah and are based on the principles of an unconditional release of the abducted Israeli solders, and UN Security Council Resolution 1559 that calls for a dismantling of Hizballah and an extension of the Lebanese government's sovereignty throughout the country. He added that the start of these negotiations would not end the military operation.
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told a visiting UN delegation Tuesday that preventing Syria's resupply of arms to Hizballah, the total disarmament of that group, and a complete overhaul of the UN forces in south Lebanon were among Israel's requirements for a cease-fire. She said it was no longer enough to move Hizballah out of southern Lebanon since, given the range of Hizballah's missiles, "they can now fire from Beirut." (Jerusalem Post)
See also UN Force in Lebanon Offers Harsh Realities and Lessons - Hassan M. Fattah and Warren Hoge (New York Times)
Israel Air Force fighter jets destroyed two Hizballah-bound trucks carrying weapons and ammunition after they had crossed the border from Syria on Tuesday. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Eleven months ago, Israel withdrew from every last inch of the Gaza Strip. Everyone hoped then that the Palestinians would show the world what they could achieve with freedom as a template for a future independent state. Not one day of peace has followed, as Palestinian militants fire rockets from Gaza into Israeli towns, targeting innocent civilians living in the pre-1967 Israel recognized by the international community. Israeli withdrawals and concessions have brought about not Palestinian moderation but just the opposite. The proposed realignment of the West Bank's borders will simply create a new battle line, just as the disengagement in Gaza created new battle lines. A withdrawal from the West Bank would put Hamas within range of Israel's main population centers and infrastructure, raising the fear that a rocket launched from the West Bank could hit the country's most densely populated areas, like Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Ben-Gurion Airport.
It is more clear than ever that the core of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute stems not from Israel's unwillingness to compromise but from the desire among Palestinians to eliminate Israel. Most fair-minded observers share the Israeli conclusion that there is no Palestinian partner for peace. (U.S. News)
There is no justification for the large-scale violence that Hizballah has unleashed from Lebanese territory on dozens of peaceful Israeli villages, town and cities. Israel has counterattacked, and it has every right to do so. No country in the world would remain silent and abandon its citizens when its neighbor strikes without any provocation. Israel had no choice but to respond to the severe attack on its territory.
Hizballah is, openly, an Iranian agent in the Middle East, a bridgehead for its murderous plans against Israel. Iran's aspirations do not include an equitable peace between Israel and Palestine. Its ideology and actions demonstrate that, even if Israel and the Palestinians reach a peace agreement, Hizballah will oppose compromises. (Los Angeles Times)
Could the fighting widen across the region? Not likely. Hamas is very isolated, with no local allies other than Syria. The Israeli bombing is arousing some Arab solidarity, but all know that Israel's target is Hizballah, which deliberately started the fighting by crossing into Israel. Much more important, other Arabs view Hizballah as the paid agent of its Shiite brethren, the leaders of non-Arab Iran. (New York Times)
See also Iran Moves First - Edward Luttwak
Instead of passively awaiting the inevitable sanctions, Iran's leaders decided to start a Middle East crisis by organizing attacks against Israel. Hizballah has thrown away its political position in Lebanon because it is obvious to all that it is bringing destruction upon the country. Recently, Iranian leaders threatened Israel with bombardment by Hizballah rockets if Israel attacked Iran's nuclear installations. Israel, therefore, is now using the opportunity of the current fighting to search out and destroy the underground and other hidden sites where Hizballah keeps its missiles. The writer is a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. (Jerusalem Post)
This Arab-Israeli war is different from all other Arab-Israeli wars because most of Israel's traditional Arab enemies have checked out of the current conflict. The prime mover behind the terrorist groups who have started this war is a non-Arab state, Iran. What's happening in the Middle East is an Islamist-Israeli war, part of the Islamist war on the West. (Weekly Standard)
A cease-fire would protect both Hizballah and the nations that support it - Syria and Iran - as well as the Lebanese that have accepted the terrorist organization as a legitimate part of their government. A cease-fire would allow Hizballah to rebuild its power base and enable it to resume its attacks whenever Damascus and Tehran desired. For Israel, a UN force would create no security whatever against future attacks. In Lebanon the UN flag and the Hizballah flag fly side-by-side and the UN presence serves as a shield against Israeli strikes against the terrorists. If we pressure the Israelis to call a halt to action prematurely, the lesson will be that there is no penalty for supporting, succoring, and ordering terrorists to do their work. (Wall Street Journal)
Given the rejectionism of both Hamas and Hizballah, is the path of negotiations actually open to Israel? There is no moral equivalence here. Nothing makes this clearer than the Hamas elevation of suicide-bombing to the effective status of religious cult. Now Hamas turns the entire Palestinian population into a suicide-bomber writ large. The apocalyptic energy of this hatred, running from Gaza City to Tehran, draws on currents that run deep in history. The fury of anti-Israel rage among Arabs and Muslims is accounted for only partially by the present conflict. (Boston Globe)
A Strategic Assessment of the Hizballah War:
Defeating the Iranian-Syrian Axis in Lebanon - Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror and Dan Diker
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