Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Muslim Gunman in Seattle Shoots Six Jews and Blames Israel - Sharyn L. Decker (Washington Post)
Israel Campus Beat
- July 30, 2006
Should the U.S. Push for an Immediate Ceasefire in Lebanon?
Israel to Limit Air Operations in Beirut - Ze'ev Schiff (Ha'aretz)
Israel Plans to Expand Ground Operations in Lebanon - Ronny Sofer (Ynet News)
IDF Prevents Palestinian Suicide Attack - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
Iran Assists Hizballah (MEMRI)
IDF Hacks Hizballah TV - Smadar Peri
Israelis Head North, into Jaws of War - Oakland Ross (Toronto Star)
Toronto Muslim Religious Leader Helped Canadian Officials Arrest 17 - Rebecca Cook Dube (Christian Science Monitor)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Israeli warplanes hunting Hizballah rocket launchers in southern Lebanon on Sunday killed at least 57 civilians in the village of Qana, 15 miles southeast of Tyre. In response, after intense negotiations with the U.S., Israel agreed to suspend air attacks on southern Lebanon for 48 hours, State Department spokesman J. Adam Ereli announced. The suspension will not apply to other parts of Lebanon, nor diminish ground operations underway along the Israeli-Lebanese border. The pause could be jeopardized if Hizballah continues firing rockets or Israel detects an imminent launch, a U.S. official said. Prime Minister Olmert told Secretary of State Rice on Sunday in Jerusalem that he expected Israel's assault on Hizballah to continue for ten days to two weeks.
Israeli officials expressed regret over the civilian deaths in Qana but blamed them on Hizballah fighters, who they said were firing rockets from the area. Capt. Jacob Dallal, an Israeli army spokesman, said civilians had been warned by broadcasts and leaflets to leave the Qana area because rockets were being fired from there. Capt. Noa Meir, an Israeli army spokeswoman, said, "There were missiles being launched 100 to 300 meters from the building. We don't target civilians, and had we known there were civilians there, we would not have fired on that site." (Washington Post)
See also Video: Rockets Being Fired at Israeli Cities from Qana (IDF Spokesperson/Ynet News)
See also Photos that Damn Hizballah - Chris Link
These pictures, smuggled from behind Lebanon's battle lines, show that Hizballah is waging war amid suburbia. The images show Hizballah using high-density residential areas as launch pads for rockets and heavy-caliber weapons. One image depicts the remnants of a Hizballah Katyusha rocket in the middle of a residential block blown up in an Israeli air attack. (Herald Sun-Australia)
See also IDF: 150 Rockets Fired from Qana at Israeli Cities - Yaakov Katz
Some 150 rockets have been fired from the Lebanese village of Qana over the past 20 days, Air Force Chief of Staff Brig.-Gen. Amir Eshel said. Hizballah rocket launchers were hidden in civilian buildings in the village, and Eshel showed video footage of rocket launchers being driven into the village following launches. (Jerusalem Post)
Hizballah is responsible for the deaths of Lebanese civilians in Qana, Israeli Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres said in New York on Sunday. "We are in a very strange situation we didn't initiate," Peres said. "If the Lebanese want to see a cease-fire, they have to tell Hizballah to stop it and there will be cease-fire." When asked who was responsible for the civilian deaths in Qana, Peres - a former Israeli prime minister - said, "Totally, totally it's (Hizballah's) fault." "As long as we are under attack we shall continue to defend ourselves." (Reuters)
The UN Security Council issued a statement Sunday expressing "extreme shock and distress" at the killing of Lebanese civilians in the bombing of Qana after the U.S. succeeded in blocking a call from Secretary-General Kofi Annan for an immediate cessation of hostilities. The Council statement cited the "urgency of securing a lasting, permanent, and sustainable cease-fire." The U.S. says any halt must be one that removes the threat to Israel from Hizballah. Dan Gillerman, the Israeli ambassador, said Hizballah had used Lebanese civilians as human shields and had deliberately exposed them to danger in the hopes of stirring expressions of outrage against Israel. Lebanese civilians "are the victims of Hizballah, victims of terror," Gillerman said. (New York Times)
Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said Sunday: "Hizballah has to understand that this conflict isn't going to come to an end until it puts down its arms. What Hizballah has done over the last 2.5 weeks is violate international law by crossing the blue line [Israel-Lebanon border]. It has held a million Israeli citizens, civilians, hostage to the 4,000 rocket attacks that it's rained down on the northern third of the country."
"An immediate cease-fire would leave Hizballah in place threatening northern Israel....The answer has to be a permanent and durable cease-fire....We have to be responsible in the way we put this cease-fire together so that fighting doesn't resume days or weeks hence." (Fox News)
See also White House Reaffirms Need for "Sustainable" Cease-Fire (AP/Boston Globe)
See also 300,000 Israelis Displaced by Fighting - Dina Kraft (New York Times)
Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt describes the recent visit to Beirut of Condoleezza Rice, and particularly the international effort to set up an expanded peacekeeping force in South Lebanon to end the fighting: "At first they said they wanted to create a buffer zone of 20 kilometers to put in an international force. But what does that mean when Hizballah can fire rockets over your back? Now there is a new formula: the demilitarization of the South." Jumblatt is dubious. "Rice didn't clarify how the international force would deploy. As I've told the Americans: As long as Syria can send weapons to Hizballah, there will be no change in the situation. Not with this regime in Damascus. We need a force that can cover all of Lebanon, like in Kosovo. Monitor the Syrian border, then talk." (Wall Street Journal)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Prime Minister Olmert told the Cabinet on Sunday: "Israel is not rushing into a cease-fire before we reach a situation in which we can say that we have achieved the main goals that we set for ourselves, and this also requires the maturation of the diplomatic process and reaching a detailed agreement regarding the stationing of forces that will secure the areas from which Israel has been endangered during this period....The government's effort in the coming period must be to provide the best and most considerate responses to the population that has been under relentless rocket attack against their homes and places of work for 18 days." (Prime Minister's Office)
More than 140 rockets were fired Sunday at northern Israel. (Ynet News)
See also 69 Katyusha Victims Treated Sunday
Magen David Adom reported that it treated 69 victims of Katyusha attacks Sunday. (Jerusalem Post)
See also Hizballah Fires Its Deadliest Rocket - Joshua Mitnick
Hizballah launched its deadliest and longest-range rocket near the northern Israeli town of Afula Friday. Israel said the Khaibar-1 rockets were renamed Iranian-made Fajr-5s. They have four times the power and range of Katyusha rockets, or about 50 miles. (Washington Times)
See also Northern Israel Residents Urged to Stay in Shelters
Despite the announcement that the aerial campaign over Lebanon would be halted for 48 hours, the Home Front Command urged northerners to remain in shelters. (Jerusalem Post)
Six IDF soldiers were wounded Sunday during military operations in the southeast Lebanese village of al-Tayyiba. The troops killed three Hizballah gunmen. (Ynet News)
Palestinians in Gaza fired a Kassam rocket barrage Monday at the western Negev. One rocket landed in Kibbutz Nahal Oz, causing damage to a food storeroom adjacent to the kibbutz dining room. On Sunday, a Palestinian rocket hit a factory in the Shaar Hanegev industrial zone, wounding a worker. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
What other country, when attacked in an unprovoked aggression across a recognized international frontier, is then put on a countdown clock by the world, given a limited time window in which to fight back, regardless of whether it has restored its own security? What other country sustains 1,500 indiscriminate rocket attacks into its cities - every one designed to kill, maim, and terrorize civilians - and is then vilified by the world when it tries to destroy the enemy's infrastructure and strongholds with precision-guided munitions that sometimes have the unintended but unavoidable consequence of collateral civilian death and suffering?
When the U.S. was attacked at Pearl Harbor, it did not respond with a parallel "proportionate" attack on a Japanese naval base. It launched a four-year campaign that killed millions of Japanese, reduced Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki to cinders, and turned the Japanese home islands into rubble and ruin. When one is wantonly attacked by an aggressor, one has every right - legal and moral - to carry the fight until the aggressor is disarmed and so disabled that it cannot threaten one's security again.
Did Britain respond to the Blitz and V-1 and V-2 rockets with "proportionate" aerial bombardment of Germany? Of course not. Churchill orchestrated the greatest air campaign and land invasion in history, which flattened and utterly destroyed Germany, killing untold innocent German women and children in the process. In perhaps the most blatant terror campaign from the air since the London Blitz, Hizballah is raining rockets on Israeli cities. (Washington Post)
See also Israelis in Bomb Shelters for Weeks, First Time Since War of Independence - Akiva Eldar
For the first time since the War of Independence, masses of Israelis have taken cover for days on end in bomb shelters and thousands of citizens are tasting the bitterness of being refugees. (Ha'aretz)
Did Anyone Ask Hizballah to Halt its Fire after Killing Eight in Haifa? - Alex Fishman
Israel must put out a message, without batting an eyelid, that if Hizballah continues to fire rockets from inside populated areas, and it continues to hide among them - more buildings will be destroyed. (Ynet News)
President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair made it clear in a White House press conference Friday that they won't allow terrorists and their state sponsors to win in Lebanon. "What has happened in the past few weeks is not an isolated incident - it's part of a bigger picture," said Blair. "There is a big picture out in the Middle East, which is about reactionary and terror groups trying to stop what the vast majority of people in the Middle East want, which is progress toward democracy, liberty, human rights." Bush noted, "The temptation is to say, 'It's too tough. Let's just try to solve it quickly with something that won't last. Let's just get it off the TV screens.' But that won't solve the problem." Calling an immediate halt to Israel's attack on Hizballah's infrastructure, before any political solution is reached, will merely give the terrorists the chance to retrench before they trigger the next round of fighting. (New York Post)
In the rush to blame Israel, a number of relevant facts are ignored: 1) no matter how much is done to minimize the risk to civilians, civilians inevitably die in wars; 2) Israel has placed its soldiers at risk in order to minimize civilian casualties in Lebanon, while Hizballah, in flagrant violation of international law, including the Geneva Conventions, deliberately behaves in ways to maximize harm to Israeli and Lebanese civilians; 3) in Qana there were indisputable military targets, including locations from which Hizballah has been firing rockets into Israel; 4) there is no way to tell whether all of those killed in the airstrike were "civilians." Video footage shows Hizballah fighters firing rockets at Israeli targets and then darting into nearby buildings.
Article 58 of Protocol 1 of the Geneva Convention requires parties to a conflict to "Avoid locating military objectives within or near densely populated areas." Article 28 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states: "The presence of a protected person may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations." In sum, Hizballah - along with its enablers in Tehran and Damascus - bears full responsibility for the carnage in both Israel and Lebanon. (Washington Times)
Sir Peter Tapsell, the longest-serving Tory MP, on Tuesday asked whether the Prime Minister had colluded with President Bush in allowing Israel to "wage unlimited war" in Lebanon, including attacks on civilian residential areas of Beirut that were "a war crime grimly reminiscent of the Nazi atrocity on the Jewish quarter in Warsaw." His remark seems to me a symptom of a wider unreality about the Middle East, one that now dominates.
European discourse on the subject seems to have been overwhelmed by a narrative, told most powerfully by the way television pictures are selected, that makes Israel out as a senseless, imperialist, mass-murdering, racist bully. You would hardly know from watching television that most Arab nations in the region, with the notable exception of Syria, detest the power of Hizballah. You would barely have noticed that Hizballah is a Shia faction, actively supported by Iran, and therefore feared by most Sunnis and by all who resist Iranian hegemony. Behind the dominant narrative of Israeli oppression is a patronizing, almost racist assumption about the Arabs, and about Muslims, which is, essentially, that "they're all the same."
We have now passed half a century in which the ultimate responsibility for the Middle East has passed from the UK (and from France) to America. Unless we seriously propose to try to regain that responsibility, we do well to try to work closely with America rather than acting like a querulous octogenarian. Mr. Blair's efforts in Washington to search for a cease-fire that prefers durability over immediacy are perfectly sensible. (Telegraph-UK)
The Hizballah provocation, sponsored and armed by Iran, is dangerous in itself. Combined with the developments in Iraq, it presages a real and new shift in power. If Tehran gains a Shi'ite mini-state with vast oil reserves in Iraq, if its nuclear program continues unchecked, if its proxy fighters in Lebanon continue to show the tenacity and barbaric targeting of civilians that they have demonstrated so far, we have the makings of a war in the Middle East with Iran as the central player, vowing to rival al-Qaeda as the spearhead of the new caliphate.
The Israelis are aware of this because their survival depends on it. Their elimination as a people and a nation is a central tenet of Hizballah's and Tehran's ideology. That is why their response in Lebanon, however unsettling, is rational from their point of view. It is disproportionate only if you ignore the existential threat that they increasingly face. (Sunday Times-UK)
Is a Sustainable Cease-Fire in Lebanon Realistic? If Not, What Is the Alternative? - Gerald M. Steinberg
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