Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Hundreds of Iranian Troops Fighting in Lebanon - Ira Stoll (New York Sun)
Reservist Recalls Escape from Ambush - Hilary Leila Krieger (Jerusalem Post)
Iran's Hizballah Ready to Attack U.S., Israel (Reuters)
Hizballah Is Here - Michelle Malkin (Townhall.com)
Druse Town Suffers from Rocket Fire - Dan Izenberg (Jerusalem Post)
Haifa Zoo Locks Up Animals to Stop Them Escaping (Reuters)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Iran has stepped up arms shipments to Hizballah through Camp Zabadani, a longtime base that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard maintains in Syria near the Lebanese border, an Israeli intelligence official said. "The order to increase assistance" came "directly from Tehran with the approval of the bureau of the leader Khamenei," the official said. "The assistance mainly includes a large amount of weapons as well as ammunition, cash, and field rations," he said.
Iranian assistance could extend Hizballah's ability to sustain the current fighting. During the last three days, Israel has detected several shipments of weapons and supplies from Iran to the Revolutionary Guard base as well as to nearby warehouses, where arms have been stockpiled in recent years, Israeli officials said. An Israeli air raid Tuesday destroyed an arms-laden convoy of trucks that had originated at Camp Zabadani, the Israeli intelligence official said. Shipments from Iran to Lebanon via Syria in the last few days included FL-10 naval missiles, Katyusha short-range artillery rockets, and Iranian-made Fajr 3 and Fajr 5 missiles. (Los Angeles Times)
The U.S. faces growing tensions with allies over its support of Israel's military campaign to cripple Hizballah, amid calls for a cease-fire. The UN has floated the idea of expanding a 2,000-strong UN force that has been in Lebanon since 1978, but Israel and the U.S. say that option is not viable. The U.S. remains content to allow Israel to pound Hizballah, both to remove it as a threat and to undermine the region's extremist movements and hard-line regimes. "I don't think anybody disagrees on the desire to end the violence in the region, but let's remember what the root causes of the violence are," said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack.
A senior administration official said Wednesday, "The conditions that the G-8 talked about are not in place to get a real and permanent cease-fire that addresses the fundamental problems of the region." He said the Israelis "have a terrible problem" because Hizballah is placing a lot of equipment in civilian neighborhoods and "it is impossible for them to avoid all the collateral damage." (Washington Post)
See also UN Ambassador Bolton: "How Do You Get a Cease-fire with a Terrorist Organization?" - Edith M. Lederer
"The simple reflexive action of asking for a cease-fire is not something that's really appropriate in a situation like this," U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said Wednesday. "How do you get a cease-fire with a terrorist organization? I'm not sure anybody's ever done that before, and I'm not sure it's possible." (AP/Washington Post)
See also U.S. Seeks Mideast Truce That Will Last - Barry Schweid
The Bush administration is not yielding to international calls for a prompt cease-fire to end Israel's campaign against Hizballah in Lebanon. Instead, Secretary of State Rice is trying to drum up diplomatic support for a cease-fire of "lasting value," one that would have the Lebanese army take over the south of the country where Hizballah has conducted a cross-border war against Israel for years. (AP/Forbes)
Some 1,500 people rallied in Washington on Wednesday in support of Israel, with speaker after speaker, including Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., Sen. Sam Brownback, and Rev. John C. Hagee, characterizing current Israeli fighting as part of the larger U.S.-led global war against Islamic terrorism. (Washington Post)
See also Boston-Area Supporters Rally for Israel - Charles A. Radin (Boston Globe)
See also Thousands Gather in Detroit to Support Israel - Niraj Warikoo (Detroit Free Press)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Israeli aircraft Wednesday dropped 23 tons of explosives on a bunker in the Bourj al-Barajneh section of southern Beirut where senior Hizballah leaders were thought to be. (Ha'aretz)
On Wednesday, two IDF soldiers were killed and nine wounded during army operations aimed at uncovering Hizballah bunkers along Israel's northern border. A senior IDF officer said Hizballah terrorists were hiding in fortified underground bunkers some 40 meters underground, along with mass weapons caches. "There are dozens more bunkers, caves, and tunnels," he said. (Ynet News)
Brothers Ravia Taluzi, 3, and Mahmoud Taluzi, 7, were killed Wednesday when a Katyusha barrage hit the Israeli Arab town of Nazareth. Hizballah rockets continued to land throughout northern Israel, striking Haifa, Nahariya, Carmiel, Ma'alot, Afula, Kiryat Shmona, Hatzor Haglilit, Rosh Pina, Safed, and Tiberias. (Ynet News)
Israeli security forces Wednesday arrested a Palestinian at a construction site in Hod Hasharon who planned to carry out a suicide bomb attack in the Tel Aviv area. (Ynet News)
A Katyusha rocket fell on the southern city of Ashkelon on Wednesday. A Kassam rocket hit Sderot on Thursday morning, causing damage to property. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Arab condemnation of Hizballah in the Arab world has been swift. But there is no change of heart toward acceptance of Israel in Riyadh, Cairo, or Kuwait. Rather, the recent condemnation of Hizballah signals recognition of a greater threat on the horizon. Wadi Batti Hanna, a columnist in Iraq's Arab nationalist al-Ittijah al-Akhar daily, put it bluntly when, on July 15, he asked, "How long will the Arabs continue to fight on behalf of Iran?"
Most Arabs perceive Israel as small. While they do not like Israel's existence, Jerusalem presents no threat. Not so Tehran. A giant with 70 million people, Iran is no status quo power. Its ideological commitment to export revolution is real. Across Lebanon and the region, Arab leaders see Hizballah as an arm of Iranian influence, waging a sectarian battle in the heart of the Middle East. The writer, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is editor of the Middle East Quarterly. (Wall Street Journal)
Yes, world, there is a silent Arab majority that believes that seventh-century Islam is not fit for 21st-century challenges. That women do not have to look like walking black tents. That men do not have to wear beards and robes, act like lunatics, and run around blowing themselves up in order to enjoy 72 virgins in paradise. And that secular laws, not Islamic Sharia, should rule our day-to-day lives. We, the silent Arab majority, do not believe that writers should be killed or banned for expressing their views. Or that the rest of our creative elite - from moviemakers to playwrights, actors, painters, sculptors, and fashion models - should be vetted by Neanderthal Muslim imams who have never read a book in their dim, miserable lives.
The leader of Hizballah, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, received a resounding "no" to pulling 350 million Arabs into a war with Israel at the Arab League's meeting of 22 foreign ministers in Cairo on Saturday, and from pundits and ordinary people across the Arab world. All in all, it seems that when Israel decided to go to war against the priestly mafia of Hamas and Hizballah, it opened a whole new chapter in the Greater Middle East discourse. And Israel is finding, to its surprise, that a vast, not-so-silent majority of Arabs agrees that enough is enough. (New York Sun)
Many times in the past, the Israeli peace movement has criticized Israeli military operations. Not this time. This time, there is no Lebanese territory occupied by Israel. Last Wednesday, Hizballah launched a vicious, unprovoked attack into Israeli territory. Hizballah, by attacking Israel, has also hijacked the prerogative of the Lebanese government to control its territory and to make decisions on war and peace. This time, Israel is defending itself from daily harassment and bombardment of dozens of our towns and villages by attempting to smash Hizballah wherever it lurks.
The Israeli peace movement should support Israel's attempt at self-defense, pure and simple, as long as this operation targets mostly Hizballah and spares, as much as possible, the lives of Lebanese civilians (not an easy task, as Hizballah missile launchers are too often using Lebanese civilians as human sandbags). There can be no moral equation between Hizballah and Israel. Hizballah is targeting Israeli civilians wherever they are, while Israel is targeting mostly Hizballah. Hizballah's missiles are supplied by Iran and Syria, sworn enemies of all peace initiatives in the Middle East. A defeat of a militant Islamist terror organization may dramatically enhance the chances for peace in the region. (Los Angeles Times)
If Israel chooses to limit its response to Lebanon, it may prove difficult to reconcile its desire to secure the release of its soldiers on terms that deter future Hizballah operations, with its desire to avoid further escalation and to avert an outcome that further enhances Hizballah's image. Thus, the logic of the current situation is likely to push Israel in the direction of abandoning restraints, broadening objectives, and expanding the scope of its operations in order to end the crisis on terms that it considers acceptable. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
Three years ago, I stood at Israel's northern border watching yellow Hizballah flags wave in the breeze a few hundred yards away in Lebanon. Israel is a nation surrounded by millions of people sworn to seek its violent eradication. This week, as Israel responds to Hizballah's atrocities, some say America is in a proxy war against Syria and Iran right now. Hizballah would not exist without its benefactors in Damascus and Tehran. It is always unfortunate when it comes to this, but sometimes war is the necessary cleansing agent that relieves an intolerable situation when nothing else has worked. (Dallas Morning News)
Arithmetic of Pain - Alan M. Dershowitz (Wall Street Journal, 19Jul06)
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