Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Hizballah Threat at U.S. Border? - Shaun Waterman (UPI)
- August 3, 2006
Issue of the Week:
Hamas: If Al-Qaeda Wants to Come to Palestine, They Are Welcome (MEMRI)
Southeast Asian Militants Sent on Anti-Israel Missions - Ahmad Pathoni (Reuters/Washington Post)
Iran Working with North Korea on Missiles (Reuters)
Abdullah Warns of Jordanian Hizballah - Roee Nahmias (Ynet News)
Yemenite President Ali Abdallah Saleh on Al-Jazeera TV: I Hope All Countries Bordering Israel Will Join the War (MEMRI)
Hamas Sends Palestinian Youth to Collect Rocket Launchers; Israel Air Force Holds Fire - Amir Oren (Ha'aretz)
Hizballah's Stock Continues to Rise in Palestinian Streets - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
Statistics in the War - William M. Arkin (Washington Post)
Hizballah's Christian "Shields" (UPI)
Bangladesh: A New Hub for Al-Qaeda? - Selig S. Harrison (Washington Post)
Syria as a Strategic Prop for Hizballah and Hamas - Reuven Erlich (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
at the Center for Special Studies)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
France and the U.S. conducted intensive negotiations on Thursday on a draft UN resolution seeking an end to the fighting between Israel and Lebanon's Hizballah, but no deal was reached. U.S. Ambassador John Bolton, after more than three hours of talks with France's UN Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sabliere, said differences had been narrowed but "we have certainly not reached agreement."
The U.S. and France have been working for a resolution that would call for a truce between Israel and Hizballah and propose a framework for a lasting political solution to the conflict. A second resolution would authorize an international peacekeeping force and set out terms for a permanent cease-fire and the disarmament of Hizballah. The latest draft of the initial resolution circulated to the Security Council's 15 members also proposes beefing up the UN peacekeeping mission now in southern Lebanon, known as UNIFIL, to monitor implementation of the truce until a more robust international force can be assembled. The U.S. would like an international force in southern Lebanon immediately after a truce. But France, touted as a leader for such a force, does not want its troops caught in a cross-fire between Israel and Hizballah, and wants a force sent in only after the permanent cease-fire is in place.
Israel wants its troops to remain in the area until an international force is in place, while Lebanon is expected to object to an Israeli presence. Israel also insists on the right to take "defensive action" against Hizballah fighters and rocket crews launching attacks against troops or civilians during a truce. French officials have insisted that an end to the fighting would rule out such defensive actions. (Reuters)
See also The Battle to Assemble International Force for Lebanon
Multiple diplomatic, political, and logistical problems must be tackled before an international peacekeeping force can be sent to keep Israeli and Hizballah forces apart. Each has conditions for accepting a force, the U.S. reluctance to contribute troops could add a credibility problem, and just agreeing on a mandate at the UN will take time, diplomats and experts said. (AFP/Yahoo)
See also Rice, Rumsfeld Approve Plan to Train, Outfit Lebanese Army
The State Department said the U.S. plans to help train and equip the Lebanese army so it can take control of all of the nation's territory when warfare between Israel and Hizballah eases. The program was approved by Secretary of State Rice and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. (AP/MSNBC)
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Thursday the solution to the Middle East crisis was to destroy Israel, Iranian state-media reported. In a speech during an emergency meeting of Muslim leaders in Malaysia, Ahmadinejad also called for an immediate cease-fire to end the fighting between Israel and the Iranian-backed Hizballah. "Although the main solution is for the elimination of the Zionist regime, at this stage an immediate ceasefire must be implemented," Ahmadinejad said. (AP/CNN)
In Nahariya, Dr. Uri Rehany picked his way through the wreckage of the Western Galilee Hospital's eye department where a Hizballah rocket had exploded last Friday, destroying the entire floor. The rocket devastated patient rooms and medical systems, including sensitive ocular ultrasound equipment worth more than $120,000. Twisted pieces of metal and smashed masonry crashed down onto the empty hospital beds. A gaping hole which was once a window shows where the missile struck, sending shrapnel and high explosives tearing through the ward.
"They target civilians - hospitals, schools, whatever they can. We are so sorry when we hear that something happened to a civilian by mistake, but they specifically aim at civilian targets. They're not even ashamed of it," Rehany said, who also recalled that before Israel left southern Lebanon in 2000, about one-third of his patients were Lebanese. (Boston Globe)
See also Israeli Town Under Attack - Jonathan Finer
Just beyond Anastasia Friedman's ground-floor window, shattered two days ago, sat a half-dozen abandoned cars, their roofs caved in, their doors pierced by hundreds of small metal balls. Forty-three rockets fell on Kiryat Shmona on Thursday, including one about 30 feet from Friedman's front door. Since July 12, police say, 485 rockets fell in or around the town, more than anywhere else. (Washington Post)
See also Stir Crazy in the Shelter - Eli Ashkenazi (Ha'aretz)
An umbrella organization of North American Jewish charities said Wednesday it will seek to raise a minimum of $300 million in emergency humanitarian funds for Israel this year, one of the largest short-term goals in its history. Howard Rieger, president and chief executive of United Jewish Communities, formerly known as the United Jewish Appeal, said its approximately 120 board members voted unanimously to launch the Israel Emergency Campaign. Rieger called the $300 million figure "a floor, not a ceiling," and the amount raised probably "will grow beyond that." The aim is to raise the money fast, ideally within weeks, UJC officials said. (Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Eight Israeli civilians were killed as Hizballah fired 160 rockets at northern Israel on Thursday. The civilian casualties in Acre were Shimon Zaribi, 44, his daughter Mazal, 15, Albert Ben-Abu, 41, Arye Tamam, 51, and his brother Tiran, 39. Those from Tarshiha were Muhammad Faour, 17, Sinati Sinati, 21, and Amir Naeem, 18. (Ynet News)
See also Father and Daughter Returned to Acre, Killed by Rockets - Hagai Einav (Ynet News)
See also Hizballah Rockets Kill Three Israeli Muslims - Richard A. Oppel Jr. (New York Times)
See also Two Killed in Rocket Attack on Northern Israel Friday
One woman was killed in a direct hit on her house in the Druze-Arab village of Maghar. Another person died after a rocket landed near his car in Kiryat Shmona. (Reuters)
Three IDF soldiers were killed and another was severely wounded Thursday when Hizballah terrorists fired an anti-tank missile at their Merkava tank in southwest Lebanon. Hizballah has equipped itself with missile systems which are among the most advanced in the world, including "Fagot" and "Cornet" missiles with tandem warheads that can neutralize tank shields and destroy even the IDF's advanced tanks. (Ynet News)
A fourth soldier was killed Thursday in Lebanon by an anti-tank missile in a separate incident. (Ha'aretz)
See also Two Soldiers Killed Friday by Anti-Tank Rocket Fired by Hizballah - Efrat Weiss (Ynet News)
Reports of eight deaths in northern Israel Thursday brought wide smiles to the announcers on Hizballah's al-Manar television, which aired militant TV clips and messages from viewers who called in to support continued operations against Israel. "A cease-fire is meaningless as long as our lands remain occupied - if so, naturally, we have the right, as Lebanese, to resist this occupation," explained Hizballah media chief, Hassan Rahal. In recent days, Israel has repeatedly been warned that if IDF forces dared to attack Beirut, Hizballah will attack Tel Aviv "and beyond." (Ynet News)
See also IDF: Threat to Hit Tel Aviv Taken Seriously - Miri Chason (Ynet News)
See also Israel Air Force Resumes Strikes Against Southern Beirut (Jerusalem Post)
A cease-fire comes with attached conditions, Nasrallah's deputy, Sheikh Naim Kassem, said Thursday: stopping Israel's attacks, removing all Israeli troops from Lebanese soil, and returning the Lebanese refugees to the villages they fled from in the south of the country; in other words, restoring the pre-July 12 situation. Lebanon's conditions for a settlement, that have received international and Arab support, include the deployment of the Lebanese army along the border and the strengthening of the international force. By declaring his own separate conditions, Nasrallah is claiming a right to veto any Lebanese government decisions, and establishing himself as a central power that must be reckoned with. He is saying that any agreement with Lebanon will be invalid without his approval. (Ha'aretz)
Defense Minister Amir Peretz instructed the IDF on Thursday to prepare for the next phase of the war in Lebanon with the objective of seizing control of the area from the international border to the Litani River in a bid to stifle Hizballah's short-range rocket capabilities. Ground Forces Commander Maj.-Gen. Benny Gantz said the IDF is planning to deepen its control in southern Lebanon in order to reach rocket launch zones. Northern Home Front Command spokesman Major Zvika Golan said the IDF is planning to widen the security strip and to clear demilitarized zones 15 km into Lebanon. (Ynet News)
Martin Indyk, the former U.S. Ambassador to Israel and currently head of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington, piled hours of conversations with senior Syrian officials when he served as Director for Near East and South Asian Affairs under President Clinton. "I am a diplomat and a man who believes in dialogue, but at this stage I believe it is forbidden for the United States to hold direct talks with the Syrians," he said in an interview, adding that Syrians would interpret negotiations with Washington as an invitation to reenter Lebanon. Indyk says contacts with Syria can be made through the French and the UN, and Washington should make it clear that if Damascus doesn't stop its support for Hizballah, it will find itself entangled in the conflict it created. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
The Israel Defense Forces could have captured most of Lebanon within a few days, as it did in 1982. But this time Israel wants to reduce its losses, and therefore the IDF is working cautiously - which is mistakenly being seen as hesitation. Based on precise intelligence, the air force struck accurately at the majority of the long-range missiles and their launchers in the first two days of the war. Hizballah headquarters, with its communications networks and control-and-command centers, were hit hard. (Ha'aretz)
See also Analyst: Israel Moving Slowly to Save Lives - Julie Stahl
Israel is not rushing its campaign against Hizballah in southern Lebanon because it wants to keep Israeli troop and Lebanese civilian casualties to a minimum, retired Israeli Air Force Colonel Yoash Tsiddon-Chatto said Thursday. The army is operating as "slowly, efficiently and thoroughly as possible" to save as many lives as possible, he said. The Israeli ground operation is intended to surgically clean out Hizballah positions in southern Lebanon, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev. Israel wants to neutralize the terrorist infrastructure adjacent to the Israeli border, he said. (CNSNews)
Israel's war with Hizballah is a war to secure its northern border, to defeat a terrorist militia bent on Israel's destruction, and to restore Israeli deterrence in the age of the missile. . But even more is at stake. Hizballah is a wholly owned Iranian subsidiary. Its mission is to extend the Islamic Revolution's influence into Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, destabilize any Arab-Israeli peace, and advance an Islamist Shiite ascendancy, led and controlled by Iran, throughout the Levant.
America wants, America needs, a decisive Hizballah defeat. Unlike many of the other terrorist groups in the Middle East, Hizballah is a serious enemy of the U.S. In 1983 it massacred 241 American servicemen. Except for al-Qaeda, it has killed more Americans than any other terror organization. More important, Hizballah is a wholly owned Iranian subsidiary and today the leading edge of an aggressive, nuclear-hungry Iran.
America finds itself at war with radical Islam, a two-churched monster. With al-Qaeda in decline, Iran is on the march, intervening through proxies throughout the Arab world - Hizballah in Lebanon, Hamas in the Palestinian territories, Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army in Iraq - to subvert modernizing, Western-oriented Arab governments and bring these territories under Iranian hegemony. Its nuclear ambitions would give it an overwhelming preponderance of power over the Arabs and an absolute deterrent against serious counteractions by the U.S., Israel, or any other rival. The defeat of Hizballah would be a huge loss for Iran, both psychologically and strategically. Iran would be shown to have vastly overreached in trying to establish itself as the regional superpower. (Washington Post)
Peace is not always the best answer. Not when wrongs have to be righted. Sometimes, deadly force is the righteous option. Like a schoolyard bully who deserves a thorough butt-kicking, Hizballah needs to be taught a lesson. It can either learn to live in peace, or it can die. But it cannot win by playing the terror card and it cannot be allowed to think it's going to. The terrorists have proven they are not subject to rational approaches. They are not interested in compromise any more than a mad dog will share its bone. Hizballah and its Iranian patrons don't want to make a deal with Israel. They want to destroy Israel. And then America and Europe and Christians. Can we talk to Islamic terrorists? Is there something we can say or do that will entice them to rejoin the human race? Personally, I don't think so.
Israel deserves our support and our gratitude. It is fighting for its own survival, and much more. It is fighting for the survival of the civilized world against the darkness. (New York Daily News)
Over the years, Hizballah has succeeded in creating an unprecedented situation in which it deters Israel more than Israel deters it. Hizballah also succeeded in deterring Israel from carrying out routine operations against it by creating a dangerous equivalency in which any Israeli action that harmed Lebanese civilians would be followed by a rain of Katyusha rockets on Israeli civilian sites. It is clear that Israel needed to carry out an attack that was as wide ranging as possible in order to change the rules of the flawed game being played with Hizballah.
The government of Beirut cannot be accepted by the international community as a legitimate, sovereign government if, at the same time, it is permitted to shrug off responsibility for quasi-military actions and terror attacks launched from its territory against Israel. It would be a strategic mistake for Israel to agree to a cease-fire before destroying Hizballah's missile system or significantly reducing its capability to fire missiles, and creating credible arrangements that will guarantee that Hizballah will not be able to rehabilitate its military infrastructure.
One positive aspect of the current exchange of fire is that damaging Hizballah's infrastructure will make it easier for Israel to cope in the future with the repercussions of a possible attack on Iranian nuclear facilities. (Institute for Counter-Terrorism)
As the war progresses, the depth of Iranian involvement in Hizballah activity is increasingly being revealed. Hizballah has established a Tehran-sponsored forward outpost next door to Israel. Iranians are involved up to their necks in Hizballah activity: Their advisers participated in the firing of the missiles at Israeli ships and in the firing of Strella (SA-7) antiaircraft missiles at Israeli planes and helicopters. Sophisticated listening rooms have been discovered, via which the Iranians eavesdropped on Israeli communications and telephone networks, both civilian and military, and not limited only to the northern front.
Nasrallah can expect quite a difficult confrontation at home after the war ends. The questions will be asked: Why was it necessary to drag a country into war for four prisoners? And to whom does Hizballah owe its national allegiance? Hizballah faces another dilemma on the question of the multinational force: Refusal means a negative image, agreement means conceding the organization's prime asset, southern Lebanon. (Ha'aretz)
Although Nasrallah's principal demands are Israeli withdrawal from the Shaba Farms and the release of Lebanese prisoners, it is clear that when circumstances allow, he will demand the return of seven Shiite Muslim villages that were part of Mandatory Palestine and that became part of Israel in 1948. The northernmost of the seven was the tiny village of Ibel al-Qamah, located about two km south of Metulla until it was destroyed in 1948. On the eve of the 1948 war, less than 2,000 people lived in Hunin, located on the spot where Moshav Margaliot stands today, on a hill west of Kiryat Shmona. Qadas stood adjacent to Nebi Yusha, today the Yesha Fortress, west of the Hula Valley. To the south stood the village of Malkiya, adjacent to the kibbutz of the same name. On the northern highway near present-day Moshav Avivim stood the village of Salha. Two villages are in the Western Galilee: Tarbikha, now the site of Moshav Shomera, and Al-Bassa, now Betzet. (Ha'aretz)
"The educated classes think that if Hizballah controls the region, then the Sunnis will be abused," a Damascus University professor told me. Intensifying Sunni-Shiite violence in Iraq in recent years has raised sectarian awareness across the Middle East in ways not experienced since the Islamic Revolution in Shiite Iran in 1979. The fighting in Lebanon promises to further increase Sunnis' unease about Shiites challenging their dominance.
Some of those interviewed at random along the main street in the Syrian resort town of Zabadani made their distaste for Shiites clear. "Hizballah is Iranian; everyone knows that," said a high school teacher from Saudi Arabia. Shiites make up 15 percent of the world's 1.2 billion Muslims. In Saudi Arabia, puritanical Wahhabi Muslims lace their writings with suggestions that being a Christian or a Jew is far preferable to being Shiite. (New York Times)
International Peacekeeping Force
Since 1948, the UN has stepped into the Arab-Israeli maelstrom five times. But few of these efforts have paid off. Unless it takes a radically different shape, a new intervention could well make matters worse, not just for the parties on the ground, but for the UN itself. If it is to have any chance of disarming Hizballah, persuading Israel to withdraw, and keeping southern Lebanon quiet, a new UN mission will have to be big. This means several divisions of battle-tested troops (some experts put the number at 25,000). Realistically, only NATO soldiers would have the capacity for such a job.
Unless those Western states now blithely calling for the UN to act are also willing to contribute troops (and so far, very few of them have), any mission is virtually doomed to fail. If recent history teaches anything, it is that half-hearted efforts - which give a false sense that something is being done but only end up costing peacekeepers' lives - can be worse than none at all. The writer is deputy managing editor of Foreign Affairs. (Wall Street Journal)
Hizballah terrorists wear no uniforms. They intentionally locate their rocket launchers and heavy weaponry in densely populated areas precisely to take advantage of the reluctance of the Israeli army to shower its formidable firepower down upon places like Qana. Only the fact that Israelis have built stout underground shelters for their citizens rather than using them as human shields in front of their enemies' rockets has kept their death totals low. That is the essential difference in the "proportionality" by which so many in the West insist on judging this conflict. One side cares about the civilian death toll in this terrible Middle East conflict, and one side revels in it. (Arizona Republic)
If Israel doesn't attack Hizballah's human shields, the group keeps its weapons. If Israel does attack, Hizballah scores a propaganda victory. From a terrorist's point of view, it's win-win: Hizballah's leaders don't care about the lives of innocent Lebanese civilians any more than they care about the lives of Jews. According to both civilized morality and international law, it is not Israel that has the blood of innocents on its hands, but Hizballah. (National Post-Canada)
Israel can live with mortal enemies for neighbors. It can live with an arsenal of rockets and missiles that can hit a large portion of the country. But it cannot live with an arsenal of rockets and missiles and commando units operated by a terrorist organization which views itself as exempt from responsibility. The issue here is life and death. The issue is the hundreds of thousands of Israelis who have been displaced from their homes and jobs, and a fanatical, dangerous enemy. (Ynet News)
Israel has tried hard to minimize civilian casualties in southern Lebanon, often placing its own troops at risk in the process. It has repeatedly telegraphed its military moves and urged Lebanese civilians to leave the battle zone. Meanwhile, Hizballah and its sponsors - Syria and Iran - continue to deliberately target Israeli civilians. (Kansas City Star)
Terrorists and their supporters have lost the right to complain about civilian casualties, since all they have is one goal: this entire war is to target civilians. Every single one of the 2,200 rockets launched into Israel is launched into populated towns filled with women and children. So don't cry to me about civilian casualties. Cry to those who store weapons in mosques, ambulances, hospitals, and private homes. Cry to those launching deadly rockets from the backyards of kindergartens and schools. Cry to the heartless men who love death, and consider themselves victorious as long as they can keep on firing rockets at our women and children. (Ha'aretz)
So far Nasrallah's only achievements have been causing the destruction of Lebanon's infrastructure and killing of innocent Lebanese. Dictatorial decisions taken by a single man like Nasrallah, who gets instructions from foreign countries, will always lead to sorrow. Nasrallah's dictatorship will sink like those of Saddam Hussein and other regimes, which did not know their true ability. (Arab Times-Kuwait)
Life in the Galilee, and generally in Israel's north, has become a long game of Russian roulette. It happened within a few minutes three weeks ago - and hasn't stopped since. Every time you want to get out of the shelter, even for a few minutes, is a gamble: will Hizballah start shelling again just as I leave the shelter to get some milk and bread for my kids, who are sitting in it with me? And if it does - where is the closest hiding place? Is the local grocery store even open? Work is a forgotten dream, and those who still have jobs are afraid of the way back and forth.
Our kids, even those who are not in shelters, know that they must be alert, suspicious, connected to the news and to their parents. That is daily life, everywhere, for all ages. More than half of the population in the north has left their homes and gone south. (CAMERA)
The troops in this war include everyone: Young and old, regular soldiers and reservists, religious and secular, members of all ethnicities. Nobody says ''no" to Lebanon, everyone shows up - just like Shai Shalev, 33, who traveled to the world championship of poker in Las Vegas. And then the war started. "We happened to turn on the television at the hotel and suddenly saw missiles hitting Haifa," he says. "We were stunned, and within a few days returned home. At 7:20 a.m. I walked into the house, at 7:35 they informed me I need to go back up north, and there I am."
Everyone talks about the sense of responsibility and about being the country's first line of defense. (Ynet News)
On Thursday, there were only about 5,000 inhabitants left in Kiryat Shmona, a city of 25,000. Motti Avraham, owner of the Mor Minimarket, said, "One day two elderly men walked into my store. I could tell they were from Jerusalem by their accents. One of them asked me if I sold on credit. I said I did. Then he asked me whether some of my clients were poor. I said they were....He then began to give me NIS 300 for each of the people...and told me to deduct the money from their debt. I asked them who they were. They replied, 'What difference does that make?'" (Jerusalem Post)
The growth of websites and chat rooms that promote racism and antisemitism enables extremists and terrorist groups to advertise their hate messages, organize their activities, and facilitate attacks against their enemies. Despite the original intentions of the Internet's designers that it be a medium free of state control and subject to no sanction, it is becoming necessary to impose legal parameters and contractual obligations to protect potential victims, whose rights are now recognized as being at least equal to free speech obligations.
European and Commonwealth states have now criminalized incitement to hatred via the Internet, and have overcome legal barriers to prosecute and convict offenders; international organizations have issued declarations and enacted conventions that call on states to outlaw incitement online, while carefully protecting free speech rights. The writer is Government and International Affairs Director at the Community Security Trust, the defense agency of the UK Jewish community. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
White House: Israel Has a Right to Defend Itself (White House)
White House Press Secretary Tony Snow said Wednesday:
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