Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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Poll: Nearly All Palestinians Back Hizballah (AFP/Yahoo)
See also Some Israeli Arabs Back Hizballah Despite Deaths - Wafa Amr (Reuters)
Israel Campus Beat
- August 7, 2006
The Bombing in Qana
3,050 Rockets Have Hit Israel (Jerusalem Post)
Reuters Admits More Image Manipulation - Yaakov Lappin (Ynet News)
Forests in Northern Israel Are Damaged as Hezbollah Rocket Attacks Ignite Fires - Dina Kraft (New York Times)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Diplomatic efforts stalled at the UN on Monday, after Lebanon and Arab League members objected to a draft resolution on a cease-fire. The American-French proposal calls for a truce, asks the current UN peacekeeping force to monitor the border area, and lays out a plan for a permanent cease-fire and political settlement.
President Bush called for the resolution's speedy adoption, but made clear that the main sticking point - Lebanon's insistence that the draft be altered to require Israel to withdraw troops immediately - was nonnegotiable. In resisting Lebanon's demand for a speedy pullout, Bush said such a withdrawal could create the "unacceptable" situation of allowing Hizballah to flourish at the border. "We must not create a vacuum into which Hizballah and its sponsors are able to move more weapons," he said. (New York Times)
See also Bush: "Innocent Civilians in Israel Should Not Have to Live in Bunkers in Fear of Missile Attacks" (White House)
Israel is studying Lebanon's offer to deploy Lebanese troops along the Israel-Lebanon border to take control of the Hizballah stronghold in southern Lebanon, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Tuesday. Israel has long demanded the deployment of Lebanese forces in southern Lebanon, along with the disarming of Hizballah. (AP/Houston Chronicle)
The UN Security Council will almost certainly adopt a cease-fire resolution this week, but diplomats and analysts expressed doubts that the resolution could stop the fighting. "It does not look good," one European diplomat said. "There is nobody interested in stopping now. Hizballah has no reason to stop." (Guardian-UK)
Rambam Hospital in the northern city of Haifa had just moved many patients underground. With northern Israel under Hizballah rocket bombardment for nearly a month, hospitals in the war zone are working around the clock and under fire to protect those in their care. (AP/Washington Post)
As always when the siren went off, Labeeba Mizawi, 68, hurried across the street into the front yard of her neighbor and relative, Hanna Hamam. Then the rocket struck. Thousands of small ball bearings rained down in a shower of burning hot steel. Mizawi and Hamam, both Arab Christians, were killed instantly. (Guardian-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Monday, "We have to stop the rockets....We cannot have a million residents living in shelters." Three IDF soldiers were killed and four others wounded in fierce fighting with Hizballah militants Monday. On Wednesday the security cabinet will discuss an IDF plan to take control of areas south of the Litani River that are used by Hizballah to fire short-range rockets at Israel. (Ha'aretz)
The IDF intercepted and shot down a Hizballah drone off the coast of northern Israel on Monday. It was detected by IDF forces immediately upon leaving Lebanese territory. (Ynet News)
Over 160 rockets landed in northern Israel on Monday, wounding at least six people. (Ynet News)
Israel has recalled its ambassador to Caracas following comments by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez comparing Israel to Hitler, the Foreign Ministry said Monday. "We are concerned at the attitude of Venezuela," said ministry spokesman Mark Regev. "They have allied themselves with the most extreme elements in the region." (Reuters/Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Hizballah leaders proclaim that they are winning great victories against Israel much as they claimed that Israel's unilateral withdrawals from Lebanon and from Gaza were great victories for Islam. And the poor, benighted Arab masses believe them and celebrate in the streets. They do not realize that continuing to seek Israel's destruction is a fool's game; when threatened with annihilation, Israel is obliged to defend its borders and to prevent its enemies from ever again launching the kinds of attacks Hizballah and Hamas started.
A simple cease-fire that would permit Hizballah to rearm and commence future assaults against Israel will send the message that Hizballah has achieved a victory and that terrorism succeeds. It is a message America's enemies would welcome and may be expected to act upon. Any cease-fire must involve the termination of terror and guarantees that Hizballah will be disarmed and will never again be in a position to commence at will assaults against Israel or its civilian population. (New York Sun)
Last week, even before the carnage in Qana, a parade of pundits argued that the Bush administration should talk with Syria about reining in Hizballah, perhaps with an eye to breaking the Damascus-Tehran axis. This policy prescription is ill-advised and poorly timed. Moreover, the strategy was tried and failed during President Bush's first administration. Washington engaged Syria in a robust fashion from 2001 through the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri in February 2005, sending no less than five senior-level U.S. delegations to cajole Bashar Assad to change his unhelpful behavior. Discussions during this period focused on Iraq - in particular on Syria's role in destabilizing the newly liberated country - but also touched on Syrian interference in Lebanon, provision of safe haven to Palestinian terrorist groups, and ongoing support for Hizballah.
Granting Damascus a reprieve from its well-deserved international isolation would undermine what remains of U.S. credibility with Syrian reformers and Lebanese democrats. Reengagement would also practically invite a Syrian return to Lebanon. The writer, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, served from 2002 to 2006 as the Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestinian affairs adviser in the office of the secretary of defense. (Weekly Standard)
The UN's verbal assault on Israel is coupled with a three-pronged political agenda. The UN seeks to: (1) protect Hizballah from further Israeli attacks; (2) produce a political win for Hizballah by giving them the territorial prize of the Shebaa farms; and (3) increase UN presence, oversight, and control of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Every element of this agenda is satisfied in the current UN resolution and is part of the declared intention of the second resolution to follow. The resolution calls for a "full cessation of hostilities" and "the immediate cessation by Israel of all offensive military operations." What offensive military operations?
The resolution reintroduces the notion that Israel occupies Lebanese territory, calling for action on "areas where the border is disputed or uncertain, including in the Shebaa farms area." It completely contradicts the secretary-general's own final determination of January 20, 2005, that the Shebaa farms is not Lebanese.
An international force is to be authorized under the first-ever Chapter VII resolution - a legally binding resolution that can be implemented through sanctions or the use of force - in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The very UN that accuses Israel of murder and heinous violations of international law is now to be charged with judging compliance with a legally binding instrument purporting to define the terms and conditions of Israel's self-defense. (National Review)
In Islam, as in Judaism and Christianity, there are certain beliefs concerning the cosmic struggle at the end of time - Gog and Magog, anti-Christ, Armageddon, and for Shiite Muslims, the long awaited return of the Hidden Imam, ending in the final victory of the forces of good over evil, however these may be defined. Ahmadinejad and his followers clearly believe that this time is now, and that the terminal struggle has already begun and is indeed well advanced. It may even have a date, indicated by several references by the Iranian president to giving his final answer to the U.S. about nuclear development by Aug. 22.
This year, Aug. 22 corresponds, in the Islamic calendar, to the 27th day of the month of Rajab of the year 1427. This, by tradition, is the night when many Muslims commemorate the night flight of the prophet Muhammad on the winged horse Buraq, first to "the farthest mosque," usually identified with Jerusalem, and then to heaven and back (c.f., Koran XVII.1). This might well be deemed an appropriate date for the apocalyptic ending of Israel and if necessary of the world. It is far from certain that Ahmadinejad plans any such cataclysmic events precisely for Aug. 22. But it would be wise to bear the possibility in mind. (Wall Street Journal, 8Aug06)
Hizballah, Iran, and Syria - Not Israel - Are Flouting International Law
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