Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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July 21, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Iran's Hand in the Lebanon Crisis - Anton La Guardia (Telegraph-UK)
    Iran repeatedly threatened to "harm Western interests" in the Middle East during its nuclear talks with European officials, heightening Western suspicions that it had a hand in stoking the crisis in Lebanon.
    A senior European source said that the last threat was made on July 11, the eve of Hizballah's provocative cross-border attack and kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers.
    Ali Larijani, the Iranian envoy, is said to have warned European negotiators during abortive talks in Brussels that "you will suffer" if the Iranian nuclear issue was taken back to the UN Security Council.
    Larijani, the head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, then traveled straight to Damascus.
    The next day, as fighting broke out in Lebanon, Larijani met representatives of Hizballah and Hamas, who staged a similar attack near the Gaza Strip three weeks earlier.

Israel HighWay
- July 20, 2006

Issue of the Week:
    Israel's Two-Front War

Israel's Wealth of Intelligence Shapes Air, Ground Campaign - Matthew Kalman (Boston Globe)
    Israel is using intelligence developed over months and years, as well as new information gathered each day by commandos inside Lebanon, in its nine-day-old air and ground campaign to destroy Hizballah's military capability, Israeli officials say.
    Thursday's clashes occurred near a site identified using satellite photographs as a Hizballah bunker, but only from the ground was Israel able to discover that it served as the entrance to a previously unknown underground network of caves and bunkers stuffed with missiles aimed at northern Israel.
    More than a year ago, a senior Israeli Army officer began giving presentations setting out the outlines of the current operation in detail, describing a three-week campaign.
    The first week would concentrate on destroying Hizballah's heavier long-range missiles, its command and control centers, and disrupting transportation and communication arteries.
    In the second week, the focus would shift to attacks on individual sites of rocket launchers or weapons stores.
    In the third week, ground forces would be introduced to knock out targets discovered during reconnaissance missions.
    There was no scenario to reoccupy southern Lebanon on a long-term basis.

Report: Spies for Israel Arrested in Lebanon - Leila Hatoum (Daily Star-Lebanon)
    26 people have been arrested by the Lebanese security forces for spying for Israel and pinpointing targets for its warplanes in the southern suburbs of Beirut, a German news agency quoting an anonymous Lebanese security source reported Wednesday.
    According to Al-Arabiyya television, the spies had been signaling to the Israelis where to target, adding that several of the suspects had confessed.

Israeli Pilots Concerned for Sparing Civilian Lives - Anshel Pfeffer (Jerusalem Post)
    The pilots of First Squadron, which has flown more than 150 missions over the last eight days against Hizballah targets in Lebanon, said all operations were planned with a concern for sparing civilian lives.
    Maj. E, a reservist, explained that "each pilot has the permission to abort a mission if he feels that there is a danger to too many civilians."
    "I personally took part in a mission to bomb a bridge, but when we were over the target I saw that there was too much traffic of people leaving Beirut on it, so I decided to abort. We returned at 3 a.m. to finish the job."

Saudis Against Hizballah, Muslim Brotherhood For - Eli Lake (New York Sun)
    One of Saudi Arabia's leading Wahhabi sheiks, Abdullah bin Jabreen, has issued a strongly worded religious edict, or fatwa, declaring it unlawful to support, join, or pray for Hizballah, the Shiite militia lobbing missiles into northern Israel.
    While the Gulf's ascetic Wahhabis have opposed Hizballah in its stand against Israel's forces, other Sunni fundamentalist groups, such as the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, have pledged their solidarity.
    On Friday, the Brotherhood will host a rally in support of Hizballah at Cairo's most influential mosque, Al-Azhar.

Armed Palestinian Women Call for War - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Dressed in military fatigues and armed with rocket-propelled grenades and Kalashnikov rifles, dozens of Palestinian women belonging to the Popular Resistance Committees marched in Gaza City Tuesday, chanting slogans in support of Hizballah and Hamas and calling on all Arabs and Muslims to launch a war against Israel.
    "If Arab men can't defend the honor of the Arabs and Muslims, then the women will fulfill their duty," said Shayma al-Koka. "We, the women of Palestine, will join the jihad against the Jews."
    The women also burned flags of some Arab and European countries, as well as those of Israel and the U.S.

The Price of Hizballah's War - Mitch Potter (Toronto Star)
    "I think, deep down, most Palestinians know they will end up paying a terrible price for all of this," said Palestinian political analyst Diana Butto.
    "I see this taking us back 40 years....Back then, the Arab leaders worked to co-opt and control the Palestinian issue."
    "Now...Hizballah has seized leadership, and the biggest price to pay is that outside interests once again will manipulate the situation at the expense of the Palestinian cause. You thought maybe there might be a Palestinian state in five years? I just don't see it now."

Harper Is Right on the Mideast - Editorial (Globe and Mail-Canada)
    Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper could have taken the safe route, denouncing the violence on both sides.
    Instead, Harper did something unusual and refreshing: He denounced Hizballah violence and said Israel had a right to defend itself.
    He said Hizballah was primarily responsible for starting the fighting and must be primarily responsible for ending it.
    There is a world of difference between those who deliberately kill to make mischief and those who kill in response.
    The Israelis who defend themselves against unprovoked attacks are not perpetuating the violence. The instigators alone are to blame for that.

Atlanta Jury Indicts Two on Terror Charges (New York Sun)
    An Atlanta federal jury indicted Ehsanul Islam Sadequee, 19, and Georgia Tech student Syed Harris Ahmed, 21, on Wednesday, charged with conspiring to and providing "material support" to "terrorists involved in violent jihad activity" and conspiring to and aiding "a designated foreign terrorist organization" - the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e Tayyiba.
    They also are accused of videotaping potential targets, such as the Capitol in Washington, the World Bank headquarters, the Masonic Temple in Alexandria, Va., and "a group of large fuel storage tanks near I-95 in northern Virginia."

Israeli Journalists Pull Out of International Federation of Journalists - Gil Hoffman (Jerusalem Post)
    The Israel Association of Journalists decided on Thursday to suspend its membership in the International Federation of Journalists to protest the association's condemnation of Israel's attacks on Hizballah's Al-Manar television network.
    "Al Manar gets its budget from the same people firing upon us," said the Israeli representative on the IFJ executive, Israel Radio broadcaster Yaron Enosh.
    "They are not journalists, they are terrorists, and I won't be a member of the same organization as terrorists."

Norway Jews Warned Against Harassment (Aftenposten-Norway)
    The Mosaic Religious Community has advised its Jewish members against speaking Hebrew loudly on the streets of Oslo or wearing Jewish emblems after a Jewish man wearing a kippa, or head covering, was assaulted on an Oslo street Saturday.
    The suggestion has infuriated some in the Jewish community.

Beslan Killer Betrayed by Mole - Mark Franchetti (Sunday Times-UK)
    Shamil Basayev, the Chechen terrorist behind the Beslan school massacre and Russia's most wanted man, was blown up by a mine that an informant working for Russia placed in a truckload of explosives and set off by remote control, according to intelligence sources quoted in a Moscow newspaper.
    Viktor Baranyets, a military expert and former defense ministry official, wrote in Komsomolskaya Pravda that the FSB, the former KGB, learned that Basayev was planning a terrorist attack during this weekend's G8 summit.

British Attitudes toward Israel and the Jews - Interview with Zvi Shtauber (JCPA)
    British Prime Minister Tony Blair and other key ministers are at the very least sympathetic to Israel, but they cannot entirely ignore the overall mood of the Labour party, or that one and a half million Muslims live in the country.
    The language employed with regard to Israel in several British media would not be employed in reference to any other minority in the UK.

230 New Immigrants from North America Arrive in Israel - Andrew Friedman (Ynet News)
    230 formerly American Jews arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport Thursday.
    See also U.S. Families Moving to Israel Despite Crisis - John Ward Anderson (Washington Post)

Useful Reference:

Video Presentation in Support of the IDF and Communities in Northern Israel (Jerusalem Online)

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • U.S. Opposed to Cease-Fire With Hizballah - Anne Gearan
    The United States held the line Thursday against a quick cease-fire deal in the Middle East. The Bush administration is playing down expectations for Secretary of State Rice's upcoming trip to the Mideast, saying she will not shuttle among capitals to broker a deal. Administration officials also questioned whether a cease-fire between Israel and Hizballah is even feasible. "At this point, there's no indication that Hizballah intends to lay down arms," said White House spokesman Tony Snow. The Bush administration has repeatedly said that a temporary or quickly negotiated cease-fire would leave Hizballah able to regroup and rearm. Israel, and Washington as its closest ally, insist that any settlement must deal with the underlying threat posed to Israel by Hizballah's control of southern Lebanon. The U.S. House of Representatives voted 410-8 on Thursday to support Israel in its confrontation with Hizballah. (AP/ABC News)
        See also Hizballah Rockets Hit Haifa on Friday - Raanan Ben-Zur
    Five Hizballah rockets hit Haifa Friday afternoon, injuring eight. Rockets also landed Friday in or near Kiryat Shmona, Rosh Pina, Hatzor Haglilit, and Safed. Rocket fire has so far claimed the lives of 15 Israeli civilians. (Ynet News)
  • In Mideast Strife, Bush Sees a Step to Peace - Michael Abramowitz
    President Bush's unwillingness to pressure Israel to halt its military campaign in Lebanon is rooted in a view of the Middle East conflict that is sharply different from that of his predecessors. This week, even in the face of growing international demands, the White House has studiously avoided any hint of impatience with Israel. While making it plain it wants civilian casualties limited, the administration is also content to see the Israelis inflict the maximum damage possible on Hizballah.
        Bush believes that the status quo - the presence in a sovereign country of a militant group with missiles capable of hitting a U.S. ally - is unacceptable. The U.S. position also reflects Bush's deepening belief that Israel is central to the broader campaign against terrorists and represents a shift away from a more traditional view that the U.S. plays an "honest broker's" role in the Middle East. One former senior administration official said Bush is only emboldened by the pressure from UN officials and European leaders to lead a call for a cease-fire. (Washington Post)
  • U.S. Ambassador Bolton: Israel Force vs. Hizballah Not Excessive
    Countering an assessment by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, U.S. Ambassador John Bolton told MSNBC Thursday, "I don't think that the use of force by Israel is excessive" against Lebanon's Hizballah militia. Earlier Thursday, Annan condemned what he called Israel's "excessive use of force." Bolton called Annan's assessment "wrong." He said it is "important to understand that the Israeli operation is not conducted against the government of Lebanon or the people of Lebanon." (Dow Jones)
  • Israeli Suspicion of UN Clouds Lebanon Force Plan - Adam Entous
    An Israeli commander at the Lebanese border recalls peering through binoculars one afternoon to see UN peacekeepers sipping tea with Hizballah guerrillas. Some Israeli leaders accuse UNIFIL of providing legitimacy to Hizballah, allowing it to build up arms. Relations between Israel and the UN plummeted after information emerged that UN peacekeepers on the Lebanon border suppressed video tapes of three soldiers being abducted by Hizballah in 2000. "We know that they had line of sight and could see the actual kidnapping. They could have put roadblocks up to prevent Hizballah from escaping. But they didn't lift a finger," said Dore Gold, former Israeli ambassador to the UN.
        "There was an international force in place in 2006 and it didn't prevent the current crisis from erupting," Gold said. "What that means is that providing security for southern Lebanon requires more than a knee jerk proposal to put international forces on the ground." Efraim Halevy, a former director of Israel's Mossad, noted, "Israel has a lot of experience with multinational forces. And it has not been good." (Reuters)
        See also Hizballah Uses UN Positions for Cover - Megan K. Stack and Laura King
    Hizballah guerrillas were setting up rocket launchers near UN positions, spokesman Milos Strugar said. (Los Angeles Times)
        See also Hizballah Rockets Hit UN Observation Post - Sam F. Ghattas (AP/Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Four IDF Soldiers Killed in Clashes with Hizballah in Southern Lebanon - Amos Harel
    Four Israel Defense Forces soldiers were killed and five others were wounded in a series of battles fought Thursday just north of Moshav Avivim on the Lebanon border. IDF soldiers hit dozens of Hizballah fighters who fired anti-tank weapons, heavy machine guns, and mortars. The IDF significantly expanded its ground operations in southern Lebanon on Thursday, sending in thousands of troops looking for Hizballah terrorists, bases, and weapons. IDF officers maintain that there is no intention to take and hold ground permanently, and insist that the operations will be clearing raids.
        Meanwhile, Hizballah fired 32 Katyusha rockets on northern Israel on Thursday, a significant drop from the more than 100 fired at Israel on Wednesday. Also Thursday , a collision between two IAF Apache helicopters west of Kiryat Shmona killed an airman and wounded three. (Ha'aretz)
  • IDF Hunts Rocket Launchers - Yaakov Katz
    A high-ranking IDF officer described how the Israel Air Force has been busy hunting for Katyusha rocket launchers. More than 200 rocket launchers have been destroyed as well as dozens of weapons warehouses throughout southern Lebanon. Some of the launchers were hidden in bushes and underneath homes and trees. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Rocket Fire Continues
    Palestinians in Gaza fired two Kassam rockets on Friday that landed near a western Negev kibbutz. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):


  • Israel and Hizballah at War: Status Report - Moshe Yaalon
    Since the Israeli operation in Lebanon began, Israel has attacked more than 1,000 targets, destroying at least one Iranian-made Zalzal rocket, capable of reaching Tel Aviv. Ammunition trucks coming from Syria and Hizballah headquarters in the southern suburbs of Beirut have also been attacked. At least 800 rockets - most of them Iranian-made - have been fired at Israeli villages and towns from Haifa to the Galilee. Some of these were 220-milimeter Syrian-made rockets that had been modified with shrapnel in order to inflict more civilian casualties. There have been relatively few Israeli casualties because the rockets have generally been inaccurate and people have largely obeyed orders to move away from dangerous areas.
        Israel's objectives in this operation are threefold: (1) the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1559's call for disarming Hizballah; (2) the deployment of Lebanese forces along the border, also as called for in Resolution 1559; and (3) the release of kidnapped Israeli soldiers. Anything short of this will be the starting point for the next wave of hostilities. This operation is an opportunity to move from the strategy of withdrawal back to the offensive strategy against radical Islam. Brig. Gen. (res.) Moshe Yaalon, a distinguished military fellow at the Washington Institute, is a former Israel Defense Forces chief of staff. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • What Will Happen Next? - Yossi Melman
    According to Lebanon expert Professor Martin Kramer, a research fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and a former director of the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel Aviv University, "Hizballah's hubris has created an opportunity for Israel." "Since Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon, Hizballah has basked in the illusion that it defeated Israel - that it somehow discovered a path to victory that had eluded Arab governments and the Palestinian movement....Nasrallah allowed a personality cult to develop around himself, and Hizballah marketed him as the only strategic genius in the Arab world."
        "It is in the interests of Israel and the United States to deal with the Hizballah threat now, and not later in the midst of a far more dangerous crisis over Iran's nuclear plans. So a war now to degrade Hizballah is a shared Israel-U.S. interest." "Israel has no choice. Islamism has come to fill the space that used to be occupied by Arab nationalism in Nasser's time: an ideology of rejection, resistance, and false promise of a Middle East without Israel. Israel's withdrawals from Lebanon and Gaza, whatever their merits, have only fed this Islamism with lore of sacrifice and victory. The Islamists have a narrative, and they think the world conforms to it. The narrative is based on a very partial reading of reality. It has to be defeated, just as Nasser's narrative had to be defeated (in the 1967 war)."
        "Hizballah is no longer the darling of Lebanese nationalism, and its recent conduct has made it increasingly look like something foreign. This is certainly the message that is being sent by leaders of most other factions in the country: that Hizballah has usurped the power of decision-making on war and peace from the legitimately constituted government, and that it is acting outside the Lebanese national interest. The more Israel intensifies its attacks, the more that criticism is likely to spread - even among Shiites." (Ha'aretz)
  • A Necessary War - David Kimche
    Hizballah, our enemy, is now a dominant element in Lebanese society. The Shi'ites, the largest community in Lebanon, have become an integral part of the Shi'ite crescent stretching from Iran through Iraq into Lebanon. The Shi'ites have also become the strongest element in the Lebanese army. When our leaders declare that the Lebanese army must take over the positions facing our northern frontier, they may not realize that nearly two-thirds of its soldiers are Shi'ites, most of them with relatives in Hizballah.
        Israel has driven home in a most effective manner the lesson that we are not weak, that we will not abide attacks against us, and that we are determined to "take out" Hizballah's missiles. We may not be able to destroy Hizballah or achieve all our objectives, but, at the very least, we will have weakened the danger the Shi'ite fundamentalists represent and sent a strong message not to mess with us in the future. With international help, we can reach a new modus vivendi in the north. And for all that, the war was necessary. The writer is a former director-general of the Foreign Ministry. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Why They Fight - Editorial
    Israel's military strategy is not merely a rescue operation or a punitive lesson. It is moving toward a more far-reaching exercise in preemption, aimed squarely at Hizballah and its sponsor, Iran. Hizballah crosses the border, stages attacks, and kidnaps two Israeli soldiers, and when it retaliates, Hizballah rains missiles down on Haifa and other Israeli cities. In doing so, Hizballah has handed Israel the justification to do what it has long wanted to do: Destroy Hizballah's offensive capabilities and exert pressure on Beirut and the international community to put an end to the group's de facto control of southern Lebanon. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Opportunity Knocks - Efraim Karsh and Rory Miller
    If the international community is sincere in its desire to see Hamas moderate its position, to see Iran's regional aspirations curtailed, to see the consolidation of democracy in Lebanon, and to see the defeat of the global Islamist terror threat, then an Israeli military campaign that weakens Hizballah is a good thing.
        Since the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, Hizballah has increased significantly its practical support for the terror activities of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the al-Aqsa Brigades by way of training, supplying arms, and gathering intelligence. Congressional figures published last year linked Hizballah with up to 75 percent of terror attacks against Israel between late 2003 and late 2004. Given such close ties between Hizballah and Hamas, it stands to reason that a weakened Hizballah would result in a weakened Hamas. This in turn may force the current Palestinian Arab government to embrace a more conciliatory path - if only to be spared a similar fate to its role model in Lebanon. (New York Sun)
  • The Meaning of a Hizballah Victory - Michael Young
    What is Nasrallah thinking today, as his exhausted Shiite coreligionists stumble into schools and public facilities, their lives in shambles? Still the most powerful Lebanese politician by virtue of his armed militia, Nasrallah is also the most vulnerable, because he can no longer return to the status quo ante on the Lebanese border. To Nasrallah's advantage, he doesn't need a military victory in order to secure his political resurrection. He needs only to survive with his militia intact and Israel sufficiently bloodied. (Daily Star-Lebanon)
  • Hostage to Hizballah - Fouad Ajami
    A cleric by the name of Hassan Nasrallah, at the helm of the Hizballah movement, handed Lebanon a calamity right as the summer tourist season had begun. Beirut had dug its way out of the rubble of a long war: Nasrallah plunged it into a new season of loss and ruin. Now, the man who triggered this crisis stands exposed as an Iranian proxy, doing the bidding of Tehran and Damascus.
        Nasrallah did not accurately judge the temper of his own country to begin with. No less a figure than the hereditary leader of the Druze community, Walid Jumblatt, was quick to break with Hizballah, and to read this crisis as it really is. "We had been trying for months," he said, "to spring our country out of the Syrian-Iranian trap, and here we are forcibly pushed into that trap again." The writer is director of the Middle East Studies Program at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. (Wall Street Journal)

    A Cease-Fire?

  • Cease-Fire with Hizballah Wouldn't Bring Mideast Peace - Steve Huntley
    A quick, simple cease-fire is not the answer to the war Israel is fighting. A sustained, effective Israeli offensive that at least drives Hizballah from the border and takes down the missile threat is the only answer to the new Middle East war inflicted on the world by Hizballah, Syria, and Iran.
        Nor are UN peacekeepers the answer. UN peacekeepers have been on the ground in southern Lebanon for years, have failed to stop aggression across what is an internationally recognized border, and have never been completely absolved of acquiescence in the kidnapping and deaths of three IDF soldiers six years ago. Blunting the missile threat must be left to the Israelis. That's why calls for restraint are also wrong. The writer is editor of the Sun-Times editorial page. (Chicago Sun-Times)
  • U.S. Should Not Impose a Cease-fire Deadline on Israel - Ariel Cohen
    Rising civilian casualties in Lebanon are triggering calls for the U.S. to impose a cease-fire on Israel before Secretary of State Rice travels to the region and the UN Security Council takes up the issue. However, Israel is exercising its legitimate right to defend itself after an unprovoked attack by the Hizballah terrorist organization across an internationally recognized border. Moreover, a sovereign state cannot declare a cease-fire against a terrorist organization that refuses to recognize its legitimacy - it will not hold. The U.S., for example, has not declared a cease-fire against al-Qaeda. The writer is senior research fellow in Russian and Eurasian studies and international energy security at the Heritage Foundation. (Heritage Foundation)
        See also Why Cease-Fire Makes No Sense for Israel - Jonah Goldberg (Chicago Tribune)

    Iran and Hizballah

  • Iran Seeks to Become Major Mideast Player - Brian Murphy
    Iranian officials often say that places with the greatest troubles offer their country the best opportunities. And now, the war in Lebanon could make Iran an even more important player in the Islamic world. "Iran sees itself more than just the moral father of Hizballah. Iran seeks to become a major force across the region as a counterbalance to America and Israel,'' said Ahmad Bakhshaiesh, a professor of political studies at Tehran's Azadi University. "Lebanon is part of this plan.''
        Hizballah could emerge from the battles severely weakened militarily, but with its reputation enhanced in the Muslim world for resisting Israel. That in turn would give Iran an even higher profile in the Arab world. Many analysts in Iran and abroad believe Tehran remains firmly at the helm of all important Hizballah decisions, including the cross-border attack last week that touched off the worst fighting in 24 years. "The crisis has caused the world to forget Iran's nuclear activities at least for the time being,'' said Tehran-based political analyst Saeed Leilaz. (AP/Guardian-UK)
  • War Old and New - Editorial
    Even in the Arab world, it is obvious that what we are witnessing along the southern border of Lebanon is Iranian foreign policy. Without Iranian weapons and Iranian direction, Hizballah's swagger would be hollow, and the Lebanese government might stand a chance of bringing Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah's fevered thugs under control. Iran has now emerged as a regional power. Not even Khomeini did what Ahmadinejad has done. Iran is now the single most powerful force arrayed against American ideals and interests in the Middle East.
        If we do not isolate Iran regionally and globally, if we do not do everything we can to support the democratizing forces in Iran, and of course if we do not move ruthlessly to prevent Iran from acquiring the deadliest arsenal of all, then we will have presided over the creation of a nightmare worse than the nightmare of Saddam Hussein. For the time being, then, the surest way to defeat Tehran is to defeat Hizballah. (New Republic)
        See also Iran's Proxy War Against America - Kenneth R. Timmerman (FrontPageMagazine)
  • Our Common Enemy - Hizballah Does Not Act Alone - Linda Chavez
    Hizballah is not just an enemy of Israel, it is an enemy of the United States. Before al-Qaeda entered America's consciousness, Hizballah had been our chief enemy among terrorist organizations for more than 20 years. In 1983, Hizballah killed 241 Marines as they slept in their barracks in Beirut, and is believed responsible for the bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996, which killed 19 members of the U.S. Air Force. Hizballah does not act alone; it has always been the murderous proxy of Iran. (Creators Syndicate/PostChronicle)

    Global Implications

  • Israel's Moment - Lawrence Kudlow
    All of us in the Free World owe Israel an enormous "thank you" for defending freedom, democracy and security against the Iranian cat's-paw wholly-owned terrorist subsidiaries Hizballah and Hamas. Israel is defending its homeland and very existence but also America's homeland as our frontline democratic ally in the Middle East. Remember, Israel pulled out of southern Lebanon and Gaza. Later, when terrorist gangs kidnapped Israeli soldiers, Israel appropriately fought back. That is what sovereign nations do, and Israel's recent military actions deserve our unyielding support. Israel has the right to put the terrorist armies of Hizballah and Hamas out of business.
        When the dust clears the world will applaud Israel for its courage. Sensible freedom-loving people everywhere will realize Israel's furious response in the face of senseless terrorist attacks will have made the world a better place. In fact, we are all Israelis now. (Washington Times)
  • Order vs. Disorder - Thomas L. Friedman
    This is not just another Arab-Israeli war. It is about some of the most basic foundations of the international order - borders and sovereignty - and the erosion of those foundations would spell disaster for the quality of life all across the globe. Lebanon, alas, has not been able to produce the internal coherence to control Hizballah, and is not likely to soon. The forces of disorder - Hizballah, al-Qaeda, Iran - are a geopolitical tsunami that we need a united front to defeat. The only way this war is going to come to some stable conclusion any time soon is if The World of Order - and I don't just mean "the West," but countries like Russia, China, India, Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia too - puts together an international force that can escort the Lebanese Army to the Israeli border and remain on hand to protect it against Hizballah. (New York Times, 20Jul06)
  • Now Isn't the Time for Restraint - Newt Gingrich
    Imagine that this morning 50 missiles were launched from Cuba and exploded in Miami. In addition to buildings and homes being destroyed, scores of Americans were being killed. Now imagine our allies responded by saying publicly that we must not be too aggressive in protecting our citizens and that America must use the utmost restraint. Our history shows us that we have never reacted to a direct attack on our soil with any restraint. Every time America has been attacked by an enemy, we set about defeating it and ending the threat.
        Israeli concessions to the Iran-Syria-Hizballah-Hamas terrorist alliance have consistently resulted in their enemies preparing for the next attack. This is only the latest cycle in an ongoing 58-year campaign to destroy Israel. Hizballah in its military form must be eliminated, the Iranian Guard in southern Lebanon must be removed, and allowing the Syrian and Iranian dictatorships to supply, train, and equip the terrorists must be stopped. The writer, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. (USA Today)
  • Israel Has a War to Win - Daniel Pipes
    Israel has a significant role in the U.S.-led war on terror; it can best defend itself and help its U.S. ally not by aspiring to agreements with intractable foes but by convincing them that Israel is permanent and unbeatable. This goal requires not episodic violence but sustained and systematic efforts to change regional mentalities. (Los Angeles Times)

    European Reactions to Lebanon

  • Europe's Disproportionate Criticism - Gerald M. Steinberg
    In early 2000, the European Union was an enthusiastic supporter of unilateral Israeli withdrawal from the security zone in southern Lebanon. In detailed talks that took place at the French ambassador's residence in Jaffa, in which I participated as an academic consultant, the Europeans assured us that once Israel retreated, Hizballah would lose its raison d'etre as a "militia" and transform itself into a political party. France and its partners would send peacekeepers to prevent terror and missile attacks against Israel, help the Lebanese army take control of the border, and disarm Hizballah.
        In May that year, the Israeli military left Lebanon, but Europe did nothing as, instead of the promised transformation, Hizballah took positions right across Israel's border and prepared for the next round of the war.
        Going forcefully after Iran's prodigy in Lebanon sends a powerful message to Tehran. A small war stopped prematurely now may only pave the way for a much larger war later. To view Israel's actions in Beirut and Gaza as "disproportionate" means ignoring the radical Islamic regime in Tehran, which threatens to destroy Israel and is bent on acquiring the weapons to actually carry out its threat. (Wall Street Journal, 17Jul06)
  • The Middle East Crisis - Local, Regional, and Global; Conventional and Nuclear - Y. Carmon, A. Savyon, N. Toobiyan, and Y. Mansharof
    While resolutely supporting Iran on the nuclear issue, Russia was willing to cooperate with the other G8 members in resolving the local Hizballah-Israel crisis (in cooperation with Iran and Syria...). The U.S. got its way in that the G8's final statement endorsed the American position regarding the resolution of the local crisis (that is, the return of the kidnapped soldiers). But regarding pressures on Iran to give up its nuclear program, the U.S. lost, since the Russian pressure at the summit and the Iranian pressure on the ground (via Hizballah and Hamas) compelled the G8 summit to set this issue aside. (MEMRI)

    Weekend Features

  • Amid Barrage, a Holocaust Heroine Shakes Off Fear - Matthew Kalman
    Orna Shorani, 76, was fast asleep last Thursday when a Katyusha rocket fired by Hizballah struck her home. All the windows in the front of her house were smashed, the doors were blown off their hinges, and the roof had a gaping hole. Orna lives in Nahariya, a few miles from the border with Lebanon. Half the town's residents have left, but Orna said she had no intention of leaving. "I lived through the Second World War and all of Israel's wars," she said. "I think I'll survive this one, too."
        With her mother and sisters, Orna hid 25 Jews from a Nazi labor camp next to their home in Hungary and smuggled them to safety. One of them, Ladislav Shorani, "came back and married me," Orna recalled. "After the war, we moved to Israel." Orna was later named a "Righteous Among the Nations" for her bravery in rescuing Jews from the Holocaust. (Boston Globe)
  • Bomb Shelter Is Hive of Activity as Ma'alot-Tarshiha Copes with War - Dan Izenberg
    Ma'alot-Tarshiha has a population of 23,000, including 4,000 Arabs. Unlike most of the Jewish communities in the north, almost no one has left town so far, including the children. The town has 78 public shelters and 110 private shelters located in residential buildings. Women soldiers have been assigned to each one to keep the children busy. The town received a shipment of toys from an Israeli businessman and distributed them to the shelters. The Tnuva dairy has supplied the town with milk and chocolate drinks, which are delivered straight to the shelters. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Canadians Donate Air Conditioners to Shelters - Haviv Rettig
    A Canadian philanthropic organization announced on Thursday it is donating 100 mobile air conditioning units to residents of northern Israel who have been living in sweltering bomb shelters for over a week. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Israelis Offer a Helping Hand - Ruth Eglash
    Hundreds, if not thousands, of Israelis have opened their homes to distressed residents of the northern and southern border regions. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Arab and Jewish Children Share a Haifa Bomb Shelter - David Parsons (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israelis Seek Refuge on Beach - Aron Heller
    Revital Aburmad, 26, her husband, Meir, and her 2-year-old daughter are some of the thousands of Israelis who fled northern Israel to escape the unprecedented rocket barrage by Hizballah in the past week for a tent city on Nitzanim Beach in southern Israel. "You can't describe the anxiety of having to run into the shelter, without food, without drink," said Kati Bochris, 25, from Nahariya, who had a rocket land next to her home. "You can smell the smoke and the sky turns black."
        A Russian-Israeli billionaire erected the compound on Sunday, shelling out some $200,000 per day for tents, food, and entertainment for 5,000 people. Thanks to him, Nitzanim Beach is now lined with volleyball nets, pool tables, and inflatable playground structures. Its giant stage has attracted several of Israel's top performers. The conditions aren't ideal. Thin mattresses are packed one against the other in sweltering heat with no privacy. Many came with only the clothes they were wearing. Yet, all say the discomfort pales in comparison to the terror of being attacked in their own homes. (AP/Washington Post)
  • Wedding Under Fire - Miri Chason
    Maya and Shlomi Buskila refused to let Nasrallah ruin their big day. On Thursday, they were married in a shelter in Kiryat Shmona. "We'll be celebrating the wedding night in a shelter as well," said the brand-new groom. When Maya got out of her car in her wedding dress, instead of guests, she was surrounded by news crews, all asking to document the triumph of the human interest in a time of turmoil. During the entire ceremony, many explosions were heard, but the guests hurried to comfort one another: "that's us firing, not them." (Ynet News)
  • Israel Leaves the Scuds Behind - Zev Chafets
    Starting with the first Gulf War, Israel went from being the deterrent power in the neighborhood to being the chronic frightened patsy. At least that's what Sheik Nasrallah thought when his men snatched two Israeli soldiers on the Lebanese border. He figured the new prime minister, Ehud Olmert, would meet almost any price to get the soldiers back peacefully. Instead, Olmert attacked. He knew that retaliation would bring on the missiles and rockets, but he evidently thought it was worth the risk. What Olmert didn't know when he gave the order - what the Israeli public itself didn't know - was that the rockets wouldn't cause panic. Fear, yes. Caution, too, and some complaining (this is Israel, after all). But, amazingly, most people in even the most vulnerable areas have behaved with something like the sanguine good nature of the British during the Blitz. For Israelis, fighting back made all the difference. (New York Times)
  • Observations:

    How Aggressive Should Israel Be? - Michael Walzer (New Republic)

    • It is an important principle of just war theory that justice, though it rules out many ways of fighting, cannot rule out fighting itself - since fighting is sometimes morally and politically necessary. A military response to the capture of the three Israeli soldiers wasn't, literally, necessary; in the past, Israel has negotiated instead of fighting and then exchanged prisoners. But, since Hamas and Hizballah describe the captures as legitimate military operations - acts of war - they can hardly claim that further acts of war, in response, are illegitimate.
    • The most important Israeli goal in both the north and the south is to prevent rocket attacks on its civilian population, and, here, its response clearly meets the requirements of necessity. The first purpose of any state is to defend the lives of its citizens; no state can tolerate random rocket attacks on its cities and towns. Some 700 rockets have been fired from northern Gaza since the Israeli withdrawal a year ago - imagine the U.S. response if a similar number were fired at Buffalo and Detroit from some Canadian no-man's-land. It doesn't matter that, so far, the Gazan rockets have done minimal damage; the intention every time one is fired is to hit a home or a school, and, sooner or later, that intention will be realized.
    • When Palestinian militants launch rocket attacks from civilian areas, they are themselves responsible - and no one else is - for the civilian deaths caused by Israeli counterfire. But Israeli soldiers are required to aim as precisely as they can at the militants, to take risks in order to do that, and to call off counterattacks that would kill large numbers of civilians. Still, minimizing does not mean avoiding entirely: Civilians will suffer so long as no one on the Palestinian side (or the Lebanese side) takes action to stop rocket attacks.
    • It will probably take the international community - the U.S., Europe, the UN, some Arab states - to bring the Lebanese army into the south of the country and make it an effective force once it is there. And it will take a similar coalition to sponsor and support a Palestinian government that is committed to two states with one permanent and peaceful border and that is prepared to repress the religious militants who oppose that commitment. Until there is an effective Lebanese army and a Palestinian government that believes in co-existence, Israel is entitled to act, within the dialectical limits, on its own behalf.

        See also Was NATO's Air War on Yugoslavia "Disproportionate"? - Elizabeth Sullivan
    France should know whereof it speaks when it brands Israel for "disproportionate" force in bombing bridges, airfields and civilian power plants. Seven years ago, French pilots went after similar targets during NATO's 72-day air war against Yugoslavia. In fact, Israeli military tactics closely parallel those developed during the 1999 NATO air war and, more recently, by the U.S. against al-Qaeda. In 1999, dozens of NATO bombs and missiles hit Yugoslav bridges, communications grids, power plants, and a television station, killing at least 498 civilians. French fighter pilots flew more than 1,100 of the war's air strikes, or about 11 percent of the alliance's missions, according to Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

        See also Fighting Hizballah with "Deliberately Disproportionate" Force - Pierre Atlas
    Israeli strategic analyst Yossi Alpher notes that deliberate disproportionality "is an imperative when fighting a guerrilla enemy waging asymmetrical warfare." In assessing Israel's response, one needs to look beyond the asymmetry of power, to a second asymmetry in terms of goals. Israel's goals are strategic, while Hizballah's are existential. Israel has the greater arsenal, but it is fighting an enemy that won't be satisfied as long as Israel continues to exist. In this case the asymmetry is reversed. And it begs the question: how should you fight such a group as it wages war on you? The writer is an assistant professor of political science and director of the Franciscan Center for Global Studies at Marian College. (RealClearPolitics)

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