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Monday,
July 24, 2006
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Overseas Sleeper Hizballah Cells "Reawakened" for Attacks on Jewish, Israeli Targets - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
    Hizballah "sleeper" terror cells set up outside Lebanon with Iranian assistance have been put on standby and are likely planning attacks against Jewish and Israeli targets throughout the world, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) confirmed Sunday.
    Embassies, consulates, and Jewish institutions abroad have been instructed to raise their level of awareness.


1,293 Israelis Injured in Hizballah Rocket Attacks Since War Began - Meital Yasur-Beit Or (Ynet News)
    1,293 Israelis have been injured in rocket attacks since the fighting on the country's northern border began 12 days ago.
    19 people are still hospitalized across the country in serious condition. Another 37 sustained moderate wounds and 325 were lightly injured, while 875 suffered from shock.
    See also Hizballah Has Fired 2,200 Rockets at Israel (Ha'aretz)
    Defense Minister Amir Peretz on Sunday told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Hizballah has launched close to 2,200 rockets, half of which have struck Israeli towns in the north.


U.S. Speeds Up Bomb Delivery to Israel - David S. Cloud and Helene Cooper (New York Times)
    The Bush administration is rushing precision-guided bombs to Israel, which requested the expedited shipment last week after beginning its air campaign against Hizballah targets in Lebanon, American officials said Friday.
    The munitions are part of a multimillion-dollar arms sale package approved last year that Israel is able to draw on as needed, the officials said.


Report: Iranian Soldiers Killed in Lebanon - Aaron Klein (WorldNetDaily)
    Up to nine bodies of Iranian Revolutionary Guard soldiers who were killed last week in Lebanon have been transported to Syria and flown to Tehran, Israeli and Egyptian security officials confirmed.
    This follows scores of reports that Iranian soldiers have been aiding Hizballah terrorists in Lebanon in their attacks against Israel, including help with firing rockets into Israeli population centers.
        See also Iranian Involvement in Lebanon - Con Coughlin (Telegraph-UK)
    The operation involving the abduction of the Israeli soldiers had been more than a month in the planning, and Tehran dispatched a team of 20 Iranian Guard commanders to southern Lebanon in mid-June to oversee the preparations.
    Apart from helping Hizballah to carry out the initial attack, the Revolutionary Guard contingent has remained in Lebanon to operate the sophisticated Iranian-made weapons systems being used against Israeli military and civilian targets.


Hamas Fires Katyusha Rocket Manufactured in Gaza (Middle East Newsline)
    On July 18, Palestinians fired a Gaza-made Grad 122 mm Katyusha rocket into Kibbutz Sdot Bror Hayil, 19 km from the Gaza Strip.
    Israeli military sources said the Palestinian rocket traveled 24 km, and that Hamas was expected to begin serial production of the new rockets over the next few weeks.


Iraqi Shi'ite Militia Ready to Join Fight in Lebanon - Sharon Behn (Washington Times)
    A senior member of Muqtada al-Sadr's Iraqi Shi'ite militia, the Mahdi Army, says the group is forming a squadron of up to 1,500 fighters to go to Lebanon.


Iran's Ahmadinejad Tells Israel to Pack Up and Go (AFP/Yahoo)
    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Sunday said Israel should "pack up" and move somewhere outside the Middle East.
    "I advise them to pack up and move out of the region before being caught in the fire they have started in Lebanon," said Ahmadinejad, the state news agency IRNA reported Sunday.


In Iran, Aid to Hizballah Stirs Resentment - Michael Slackman (New York Times)
    There is a huge amount of anger in Tehran about what is happening in Lebanon. "Of course I am angry," said Hamid Akbari, 30, a deliveryman. "All our income is going to Palestine and Hizballah."
    For decades, Iran has been Hizballah's prime patron, helping create it as a Shiite Muslim militia and then nurture it with money, expertise, and weapons.
    In interviews in central Tehran Saturday, person after person said Iran should worry about Iran's problems and not be dragged down by others' battles.


Syria - The Real Target of Arab Elites - Joseph Braude (New Republic)
    Several Arab leaders share a desire to cut off Syria from Lebanon once and for all.
    They view this goal as a realistic outcome of the present war, and as such, will probably do little to block the Israeli campaign as long as this goal is being served.
    If Syria is allowed to step in as a broker of Hizballah quietism, neither the Saudis nor the Jordanians will be pleased. The crisis won't be over - but moderate Arab leaders' tacit approval of Israel's actions might very well be.


UN Observer Seriously Wounded by Hizballah Fire - Amos Harel and Eli Ashkenazi (Ha'aretz)
    A UN observer was seriously wounded in southern Lebanon by Hizballah fire, a UN spokesman said Sunday.


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  • Bush: Confront Hizballah and the Nations that Support It
    President Bush said Saturday: "In 2004, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1559, which recognizes the sovereignty of Lebanon, calls for all foreign forces to withdraw from Lebanon, and calls for the disbanding and disarmament of all militias. Hizballah defied the world's just demands by maintaining armed units in the southern region of Lebanon and attacking Israel in defiance of the democratically elected Lebanese government."
        "I've directed Secretary of State Rice to travel to the Middle East.... Secretary Rice will make it clear that resolving the crisis demands confronting the terrorist group that launched the attacks and the nations that support it. For many years, Syria has been a primary sponsor of Hizballah and it has helped provide Hizballah with shipments of Iranian-made weapons. Iran's regime has also repeatedly defied the international community with its ambition for nuclear weapons and aid to terrorist groups." (White House)
        See also Bush Remains Opposed to Mideast Cease-Fire - Nedra Pickler
    White House officials said President Bush remains opposed to an immediate cease-fire in Lebanon, despite pleas Sunday from Saudi King Abdullah to intervene. (AP/Washington Post)
  • U.S. Defends Israel's Actions in Lebanon
    U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Bolton on Sunday defended Israel's use of force in response to Hizballah's July 12 attack. "I think it's important that we not fall into the trap of moral equivalency here. What Hizballah has done is kidnap Israeli soldiers and rain rockets and mortar shells on innocent Israeli civilians. What Israel has done in response is act in self-defense. And I don't quite know what the argument about proportionate force means here. Is Israel entitled only to kidnap two Hizballah operatives and fire a couple of rockets aimlessly into Lebanon? The situation is that Israel has lived under the terrorist threat of Hizballah for years, and these most recent attacks have given it the legitimate right, the same right America would have if we were attacked, to deal with the problem."
        Bolton bristled at last week's suggestion from Louise Arbour, the UN high commissioner for human rights, that Israeli leaders could be charged with war crimes. "You know, in America, prosecutors are not supposed to threaten people in public based on press reports....[Arbour] should consider her professional ethics and responsibilities very carefully here before threatening criminal charges based on press accounts." (CNN)
  • Israel Considers International Force - Isambard Wilkinson and Francis Harris
    Israel brushed aside mounting calls Sunday for a ceasefire in Lebanon, planning to keep up its assault on Hizballah for at least a week. Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, said he accepted proposals for an international force for southern Lebanon. But the broad powers he envisaged for it appeared to rule out any prospect of it ever taking shape. "Israel is ready to see deployment of a force with military capabilities and combat experience made up of troops from European Union countries," he told Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the German foreign minister. In addition, the force would have to control crossings between Syria and Lebanon. (Telegraph-UK)
        See also Israel Weighs International Force on Northern Border - Steven Erlanger (New York Times)
  • Israel Hastily Musters Its Citizen Army - Aron Heller
    Israel's mighty military is comprised of thousands of ordinary civilians who, at a moment's notice, respond to the call to arms. On Friday, several thousand reservists were drafted for immediate, emergency duty. By Friday night, the army chief of staff announced the response was full, plus thousands who volunteered on their own initiative. All 18-year-old men are drafted for three years and will continue to do reserve duty for about a month a year into their 40s. Women are drafted for two years. "There was no dilemma, no doubt in my mind because it is something you grow up with, that this is the most important thing there is," said Roy Bass, a 27-year-old computer programmer who received a recorded call-up message on his cell phone Friday. "It's ingrained deep inside you - if they call you, you go." (AP/Washington Post)
        See also Israel's Reservists Shift from Civilians to Soldiers in a Day - Laura King (Los Angeles Times)
  • Californians Rally for Israel
    Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa joined thousands of Israel supporters Sunday in Los Angeles to rally behind Israel. Condemning the "relentless rocket attacks of Hamas and Hizballah against Israel," Villaraigosa said: "We're here to defend (Israel's) unassailable right to defend itself." In a separate pro-Israel rally in San Francisco Sunday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said Hizballah and Hamas rocket attacks against Israel represented "clear acts of war. Israel is not fighting just to protect its citizens...it is fighting for its very existence." (AP/Los Angeles Times)
        See also London: Thousands Rally for Israel - Hagit Kleiman (Ynet News)
        See also Rally in Atlanta Supports Israel (AP/Jerusalem Post)
        See also Diaspora Solidarity Missions in Israel - Hilary Leila Krieger
    American Jews seem to be more united in their backing for Israel than at any time since the Six-Day War, Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said Sunday in Jerusalem at the start of a three-day solidarity tour. The Conference of Presidents brought 50 people, including conference chairman Harold Tanner, on one of several missions of international Jewish leadership coming to bolster Israel while it's under attack from Hizballah.
        Hoenlein announced an initiative to help sustain the tourism sector in the north. The "virtual tourism" plan encourages foreigners to pay for nights in hotels and bed and breakfasts throughout northern Israel. Instead of reserving specific dates, however, customers receive a voucher which they will be able to use any time in the next year. (Jerusalem Post)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Two Israelis Killed in Hizballah Rocket Strikes on Haifa - Eli Ashkenazi and Yuval Azoulay
    Two Israelis were killed and more than 90 were injured in about 90 rocket attacks by Hizballah on Sunday. More than 30 rockets fell in Haifa. Habib Awad, 48, of Ibalin, was killed in a carpentry workshop in Kiryat Ata. Shimon Glikblich, 60, of Haifa, was driving on a main street when a rocket struck a hillside and ricocheted onto his car. Rockets also struck Carmiel, Acre, Tiberias, and Kiryat Shmona. On Saturday, more than 160 rockets struck targets across northern Israel, wounding 17 people. (Ha'aretz)
  • IDF Ground Troops Striking Hizballah Rocket Deployment - Ze'ev Schiff
    The IDF, whose ground activity remained close to the border until the end of the week, will widen its offensive. Elite commandos acted in the border area, where Hizballah took over abandoned IDF outposts. They found Hizballah outposts had deep tunnels with lighting. The IDF is expected to raid areas in southern Lebanon to undermine large parts of Hizballah's rocket deployment. Bombing to prevent the supply of weapons to Hizballah also continues. (Ha'aretz)
        See also IDF's Next Target: Hizbullah Villages - Hanan Greenberg (Ynet News)
        See also Hizballah Ready for a Ground War - Alex Fishman
    Hizballah is waiting for the ground war. It has mined all access routes and is armed with the best Iranian and Syrian weapons including the last word in anti-tank missiles that Russia provided to Syria. A Cornet missile penetrated a Merkava tank and wounded two crew members. Hizballah also has advanced RPG-29 anti-tank weapons, night-vision ability, and more. In order not to fall into the traps Hizballah has set, troop movement must be very well planned and cautious. (Ynet News)
  • IDF Nablus Raid Targets Fatah Terrorists Recruited by Hizballah - Avi Issacharoff
    The Israel Defense Forces destroyed a PA security forces compound in the West Bank city of Nablus on Friday where 30 wanted gunmen and Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades terrorists recruited by Hizballah were holed up. "There were Hizballah operatives in the building who were told by their leadership in Syria and Lebanon to send out attackers across Israel. That is why we were in such a hurry to get them," a military source told Reuters. (Ha'aretz)
  • Shin Bet: Prepare for Mini-Lebanon in Gaza - Ronny Sofer
    Shin Bet Security Service Chief Yuval Diskin told cabinet ministers Sunday, "In Gaza, within the next two to three years, barring any major changes, we may find ourselves in a Hizballah-type situation, meaning bunkers, underground tunnels, infrastructure, and dangerous weapons....If we don't make a significant change, such as block the arms smuggling routes, including the Philadelphi [corridor between Gaza and Egypt, and] stifle Hamas' attempts at improving its capabilities via an alternative Palestinian government, the situation in Gaza will be similar to that in Lebanon."
        IDF Intelligence Chief Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin said the Palestinians are deeply influenced by Israel's reaction to the Hizballah rocket attacks, and warned that Hizballah and Hamas will do everything in their power to carry out a major terror attack in Israel from Lebanon, Gaza, or the West Bank. (Ynet News)
  • Palestinian Rocket Fire from Gaza Continues - Mijal Grinberg and Avi Issacharoff
    Palestinians in Gaza fired nine Kassam rockets at southern Israel on Sunday. Some damaged hothouses at a kibbutz in the western Negev, while others fell in the town of Sderot and near Kibbutz Nir Am. Two Kassam rockets landed in Sderot on Monday morning. (Ha'aretz/Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • No Ceasefire in the War on Terror - Benjamin Netanyahu
    Some 44 years ago, when Soviet missiles in neighboring Cuba threatened American cities, John F. Kennedy set one goal: Remove the missiles. Today, when Israel's cities are pummeled by Hizballah missiles launched from neighboring Lebanon, Israel's goal should be the same: Remove the missiles. Or destroy them.
        It is not enough to push Hizballah 30 kilometers north of the border. Hizballah rockets have a range of up to 200 kilometers, and could easily be fired from Beirut. Nor is it enough to achieve a cease fire. With its missile arsenal intact, Hizballah could re-emerge triumphant a year or two from now and again menace Israel's population. The objective of the military campaign currently being waged on Israel's northern border, as well as any diplomatic effort to bring that campaign to an end, must be to disarm Hizballah, first and foremost from its missile arsenal. (Wall Street Journal)
  • An Iranian Hand Guides Hizballah - Dennis Ross
    Hizballah, until now, has branded itself as a protector of the Lebanese people, not the representative of a foreign agenda. That self-image is no longer tenable. Many Arab (and non-Arab) observers see an Iranian hand guiding Hizballah. Isn't it interesting, they ask, that Hizballah's attacks coincided with the deadline the EU set for Iranians to respond to its proposed nuclear deal? During my time as an American negotiator, we were constantly aware of Iranian pressure on Hamas and Islamic Jihad to initiate acts of terrorism in Israel. And that was when we had a peace process.
        Hizballah and Hamas are tools in the Iranian game of self-promotion, furthering an Islamist agenda, and undoing Western influence in the area. The Syrians, for their part, seem to believe that Iran is on a roll, and better to be playing along with it than with others, and they clearly see little price for doing so. (New Republic)
        See also Hizballah Lets Iran Buy Time for Nukes - Orde Kittrie
    If the West does not refocus and do whatever it takes to stop Iran's nuclear weapons program, Israel's current difficulties fending off Iranian-made conventional rockets could turn out to be a pale preview of U.S. difficulties fending off Iranian-made nuclear-armed missiles. And we will risk someday finding ourselves staring at bombed-out U.S. cities and wishing we had kept our eye on Iran's right hand and taken a stand while we still could. The writer is a professor of international law at Arizona State University. (Arizona Republic)
        See also Tehran Must Be Dealt With Too - Editorial
    Hizballah is, in reality, the Lebanese branch of Iran's Islamic Revolution. Lop off that head and another will grow in its place. It is in Tehran that the monster's heart beats. As long as Iran goes unchecked, defeating Hizballah can only ever mean a temporary truce. The policy of appeasement has failed; it is time to try coercion. (Sunday Telegraph-UK)
        See also With Iran on the Attack - Editorial (Chicago Tribune)
        See also The Iranian Connection - Editorial (Newsday)
  • An Opening to Disarm Hizballah - Editorial
    Properly conceived, an international stabilization force for southern Lebanon might be a genuine help. We're not talking about the kind of "peacekeeping" mission UN Secretary General Kofi Annan envisions, whose purpose would be to keep the "warring parties" apart. That would only hand Hizballah and Iran a victory by showing they can attack with impunity and the international community will ride to the rescue. The mission of an international force inserted after Israel finishes cutting Hizballah down to size could be to see that Hizballah and the mullahs never regain a military foothold in Lebanon or hold the threat of violence over that country's fledgling democracy. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Go All the Way - Ephraim Sneh
    Iran wants to "blanket" Israel with missiles and rockets, from Gaza in the south, from the West Bank in the center of the country, and from Lebanon in the north. The war against Hizballah is part of the wider war between Israel and the evil, hate-filled regime in Tehran that openly aspires to destroy Israel. Israel cannot cease its fire in Lebanon before its mission is complete - to destroy Hizballah's infrastructure in Lebanon and to push the organization away from the Galilee once and for all. If we complete this mission, it will be our first victory over Iran. It will also be a lesson to other Western democracies about what needs to be done vis-a-vis Iran. MK Ephraim Sneh is the leader of the Labor Party Knesset faction and was the commander of IDF forces in south Lebanon during Operation Peace for Galilee in 1982. (Ynet News)
  • Kofi Annan's Disappointing Plan for Peace - Editorial
    It makes no sense to call for an instant cessation of hostilities that would leave Hizballah free to move back into southern Lebanon and free to renew hostilities at a time of its choosing. Instead, Israel and the international community should focus on a larger solution that removes Hizballah from the southern border region next to Israel. As long as terrorist groups are given free rein to plot attacks and carry them out at will from a self-designated safe haven, there will be no peace in the region. (Miami Herald)
  • Europe Meets Israel - Jeffrey Gedmin
    Israel and Europe can trade together wonderfully, but the dialogue about security is nearly hopeless. Israel wants to smash Hizballah, a state within a state and a wholly owned Iranian subsidiary. Countries like Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, all aware of Iran's regional ambitions, don't seem to mind. Lebanon would surely be better off if the Israelis succeeded. But Europe wants an end to the conflict as soon as possible, regardless of the consequences. Some actually believe that a prisoner exchange - that was initially the Hamas and Hizballah proposal - would end the "cycle of violence." The writer is director of the Aspen Institute Berlin. (Weekly Standard)
  • Observations:

    Casus Belli - Moshe Yaalon (New Republic)

    • For years, we were told that the "root cause" of the Middle East's problems was the Israeli occupation of Arab lands, and that peace would come, according to this view, only when Israel finally retreated to its 1967 borders. The "root cause" theory has never looked quite so naive and simplistic as it does this week. The present crisis was initiated - in Gaza by Hamas and in southern Lebanon by Hizballah - from lands that are not under Israeli occupation.
    • Perhaps, then, the conflict is the result of different "root causes": namely, Iran, Syria, and the radical Islamists they sponsor. Only when these states and their terrorist proxies are defeated will the Middle East finally know peace.
    • The radical Shia regime of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wants to establish hegemony over the Muslim world, to severely curtail American power, and, ultimately, to provoke the return of the Hidden Imam and thereby usher in a Muslim messianic age. To achieve these goals, Iran is willing to support just about any terrorist organization that will confront the West.
    • Targeting Israel signals Iranian strength to the Muslim populations worldwide that the mullahs hope to lead. Iran also sees the destruction of Israel as a means of neutering - or even as a prelude to destroying - the United States. Ahmadinejad himself has referred to "a world without America."
    • Ahmadinejad and his allies have good reasons to think their plan is working. Islamists take credit for pushing the U.S. out of Lebanon in 1984, the Soviets out of Afghanistan in 1989, the Israelis out of Lebanon in 2000, the Spanish out of Iraq in 2004, and the Israelis out of Gaza in 2005.
    • Iranian influence in the Palestinian territories has been on the rise lately, but, with Iranian proxies evicted from Lebanon, it will become more difficult for the mullahs to aid Palestinian terrorists. In addition, Hamas will see that the international community is resolute in its determination to punish terrorist activity.
    • The question of where Israel ends up setting its permanent borders can no longer be seen as the underlying cause of regional mayhem. That distinction belongs to Syria, Iran, and their radical Islamist proxies. Hemming their power is the best chance Israel and the West have of preventing further bloodshed - and of cutting off terrorism at its real roots.

      The writer, a distinguished military fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, was Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces from 2002 to 2005.


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