Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
War Going Better than We're Hearing - Rowan Scarborough (Washington Times)
- August 10, 2006
Issue of the Week:
Another Week of War - the Unseen Casualties
Israeli Intelligence Was Not Surprised - Gidi Weitz (Ha'aretz)
Hospital: Gaza Girl Not Killed by Israeli Strike (Reuters)
Hizballah Turns Ball Bearings into WMDs - Deroy Murdock (National Review)
Nasrallah's Men Inside America - Dan Ephron and Michael Isikoff (Newsweek)
Inside the New Hizballah - Kevin Peraino, Babak Dehghanpisheh, and Christopher Dickey (Newsweek)
Support for Nasrallah Skyrockets Among Young Palestinians - Mustafa Sabre (Palestine News Network-PA)
Judge Rejects Dismissal of Pro-Israel Lobbyists Case - Jerry Markon (Washington Post)
U.S. Marines Train with IDF - Zach Pluhacek
Half of All Christians Have Fled Iraq since 2003 - Simon Caldwell (Catholic News Service)
85% of Northern Factories at Least Partially Operating (Globes)
Spielberg Foundation to Donate $1M for Israeli Relief (AP/Los Angeles Times)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Alarming intelligence that an attack was imminent was the trigger for police raids which captured 24 terrorist suspects, British Asian men of Pakistani descent, as well as two British converts to Islam. Counter-terrorist agencies, which had been monitoring the plotters for 12 months, said the plot was to detonate suicide bombs on five U.S.-bound aircraft in the next few days, headed for New York, Washington, D.C., Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles on three airlines: American, Continental, and United. A second wave of attacks had been considered, with as many as 12 aircraft to be attacked. The terrorists discussed trying to blow up the aircraft as they circled above the destination cities to cause maximum death and destruction in the air and on American soil.
A "martyrdom video" recorded by a would-be suicide bomber was found at one of the raided addresses. U.S. sources claimed that substantial sums of money had been wired from Pakistan to two of the ringleaders to purchase airline tickets. One report said they were planning a "dry run." Arrests were also made in Pakistan. Michael Chertoff, the U.S. Homeland Security Secretary, said the plan had many of the characteristics of an al-Qaeda operation - a terrorist spectacular aimed at multiple targets. Sources in Washington said five suspects were still at large. (Times-UK)
Lebanon on Thursday raised objections to a U.S.- and French-backed draft resolution aimed at ending the fighting between Hizballah and Israel because it does not call for an immediate cease-fire and because the proposed new international force would have a broad mandate to use military firepower. Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora expressed concerns to Secretary General Kofi Annan about whether he could persuade Hizballah to accept the draft resolution.
The threat of Israeli ground action heightened the sense of urgency in concluding weeks of contentious negotiations over a plan to end the violence. A breakthrough in negotiations with France came after the U.S. dropped its demand that Israeli troops be allowed to remain in southern Lebanon until a muscular international force is in place with a tough mandate to ensure that Hizballah could not mount attacks on Israeli towns. Washington also agreed to scrap a provision that the force be explicitly authorized to disarm Hizballah. The U.S. and France agreed to expand UNIFIL, the existing UN peacekeeping force, with 2,000 more soldiers and to authorize it to use force to help Beirut restore its control over southern Lebanon. (Washington Post)
See also Israel Holds Off on Drive to the North - Steven Erlanger and Warren Hoge
The Israeli Army has thousands of troops massed on the border, waiting for an order to take the battle against Hizballah to the Litani River about 15 miles to the north, to reduce the number of rockets that can reach Israeli cities. But the order has not been given. (New York Times)
See also Beirut Confident Hizballah Will Give Up Power - Betsy Pisik
Lebanon's government says it has received promises that Hizballah will cede power in the nation's south to the national army, but that it is not willing to disarm the Islamist militia using force. "We are confident, comfortable," that Hizballah will give up its arsenal of up to 10,000 missiles that it is using to pummel civilian centers in northern Israel, Mohamad Chattah, a senior adviser to Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, said Thursday. (Washington Times)
See also Israel Rejects Russia's Call for Truce, Says It Would Give Hizballah Time to Regroup (MosNews-Russia)
Driving north to the war from Tel Aviv, the traffic thins gradually - until you realize abruptly that your car is the only one left on the road. The city of Safed is empty, a scene from a 1950s science-fiction film. A few residents remain, but I did not see a single one. In town after town, it's as if a plague has struck. And one has: the plague of terrorist rockets, whose only purpose is to butcher indiscriminately. There is no looting. The empty houses of the refugees are safe. Israel pulls together, and no police patrols are needed to protect these businesses and homes. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis have been driven away from their homes, but you don't hear much about that. (New York Post)
Ali Houssaiky and Osama Abulhassan of Dearborn, Michigan, were apprehended on Tuesday in Marietta, Ohio, during a traffic stop and found carrying $11,000 in cash, 12 cell phones, airline passenger lists, and information on airport security, a spokesman for the Washington County prosecutor's office said. They are being held on charges of money laundering on behalf of Hizballah. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
An IDF reserve soldier was killed Thursday in Leboneh in southern Lebanon when an anti-tank missile hit his vehicle. Nine others were seriously wounded during heavy clashes between the IDF and Hizballah terrorists. Defense Minister Amir Peretz froze a planned thrust deep into Lebanon up to the Litani River on Thursday, in order to exhaust the diplomatic front before launching the operation. A high-ranking IDF officer said the army had killed more than 100 Hizballah gunmen on Thursday. Still, Hizballah was able to fire more than 170 Katyusha rockets into northern Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
Two people were injured by shrapnel and more than 12 suffered shock following three rocket barrages on Haifa on Friday. At least 16 rockets landed on the city, five of them in populated areas, causing damage. Rockets also struck three homes in the Krayot area north of Haifa. Four rockets landed Friday in the Nahariya area, one of them directly striking a home. Earlier, rockets landed in the Shlomi area and in Acre. (Ynet News)
A 24-year-old Italian tourist was stabbed in the back and killed Thursday by an Arab in the Old City of Jerusalem. Police said the attack was nationalistically motivated. (Ynet News)
Riyad Mzarib, 30, of the Bedouin village of Beit Zarzir in the Jezreel Valley, was charged with conspiring to assist the enemy in wartime, holding contacts with a foreign agent, and delivering information to the enemy. According to police commander Yaakov Zigdon, the suspect confessed to having delivered to Lebanese drug dealers reports on the movements of IDF forces and the location of missile hits in the north. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
The War with Hizballah
There is growing consensus in Europe and the Middle East that the indecisive carnage in Lebanon has resulted in a strategic weakening of Israel and also by extension of its American ally, and a dramatic strengthening of the position of Hizballah and its patrons in Syria and Iran. Through Hizballah's defiance, the regimes of Tehran and Damascus find a new legitimacy in Arab eyes. Still, this consensus may be premature, for four main reasons. First, the tensions between Sunnis and Shiites have divided the Islamic world for 1,300 years. They are not going to disappear overnight. Second, no foreseeable U.S. administration is going to abandon Israel, and no foreseeable array of European governments is going to accept any outcome that questions or undermines Israel's right to exist.
Third, Israel's military may have been bruised in Lebanon, but Israel's military remains the most formidable force in the Middle East, and it has massive resources in hand. The Israeli army is an adaptable, well-armed, and fast-learning institution; it will swiftly learn the tactics required to tackle the hidden bunkers of Hizballah. Fourth, politics and diplomacy have yet to kick in, as they inevitably will. The Europeans will soon remember that the one thing they can wholly agree on for the region is that Iran's nuclear ambitions must be curbed. (UPI)
On the morning after the morning after the ceasefire, Lebanese war refugees, who had real jobs and homes, will start streaming back by the hundreds of thousands, many of them Shiites. Tragically, they will find their homes or businesses badly damaged or obliterated. Yes, they will curse Israel. But they and other Arabs will also start asking Nasrallah publicly what many are already asking privately: "What was this war all about? What did we get from this and at what price? Israel has some roofs to repair and some dead to bury. But its economy and state are fully intact, and it will recover quickly. We Lebanese have been set back by a decade. Our economy and our democracy lie in ruins, like our homes. For what? For a one-week boost in 'Arab honor?' So that Iran could distract the world's attention from its nuclear program? You did all this to us for another country?" (New York Times, 11Aug06)
Eradicating Hizballah-land, the Iranian-backed statelet inside politically fragile Lebanon, won't be easy and it certainly won't be "peacekeeping." Diplomatic efforts intensified to shape a military force once the fighting ends. But the vexing questions of force composition and timing remain. The grim litany of UN failures in Lebanon stretches back to the dawn of peacekeeping. A former UN commander in Bosnia, retired Canadian Maj.-Gen. Lewis Mackenzie, warns: "It's a recipe for disaster" unless it's a massive, combat-capable force with a robust mandate coupled to a broader political solution. Mackenzie says the job needs 25,000 well-trained, well-equipped troops and that the UN needs to subcontract the job, perhaps to NATO. (Globe and Mail-Canada)
When the war in Lebanon ends, the U.S. will have to piece together a whole new strategy for dealing with Iran - especially its nuclear program. The Israeli-Hizballah war has boldly ratcheted up Iran's regional stature. Hizballah surprised Israel and the U.S. by successfully testing a number of Iranian-made advanced weapons systems. It was Iranian clerics and Revolutionary Guards commanders who first organized Hizballah in the 1980s. Since then, Tehran has bankrolled and armed Hizballah's war machine. Many among the current leadership of Iran's Revolutionary Guards have served tours of duty at Hizballah's headquarters in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Iran's leaders see Hizballah as an ally and an asset. Hizballah is a fruit of the Iranian revolution - the only time its seed found fertile soil outside Iran. Tehran cannot back away from Hizballah without acknowledging that the revolution is over. Iran's hard-line leaders, looking to rekindle revolutionary fervor at home, see their own values reflected in Hizballah. Nor will Tehran easily give up on a pro-Iranian force in the heart of the Arab world and an important instrument in confronting Israel and the U.S. The writer teaches at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey and is adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. (Christian Science Monitor)
War and Morality
Wars, as we all know, are now fought on TV and are subject to far greater - and quicker - scrutiny than ever. The tendency to support war and then recoil from its consequences is very modern and very human - but it is also a major handicap against an Islamic extremist enemy that is all too aware of our weaknesses. If we are going to effectively fight the fascism of our time, we'd better face up to the sad fact that even the most just wars and justly fought wars cause civilian casualties.
The West will have to fight against an enemy that hides missiles in family homes and cynically exploits the inevitable results. It will occasionally have to take military action that it knows in advance will cause civilian casualties, even as it tries to minimize those casualties. And when those casualties do occur, it will have to place blame where it belongs - on the extremists and their supporters - and then go on with the war. The writer is Washington director of the American Jewish Committee. (Washington Post)
On the day an Israeli airstrike inadvertently killed some 28 civilians in the Lebanese town of Qana, a Berlin daily, Der Tagesspiegel, published an amazing letter that summarized the Hizballah strategy that resulted in those deaths. Dr. Mounir Herzallah wrote that he was a Shiite from southern Lebanon who had lived there until 2002. After the Israelis withdrew from the area in 2000, he recalled, Hizballah moved into his town, dug rocket depots in bunkers, and then built a school and a residence over those bunkers. "Laughing, a local sheikh explained to me that the Jews would lose in any event because the rockets would either be fired at them or, if they attacked the rocket depots, they would be condemned by world opinion on account of the dead civilians. These people do not care about the Lebanese population; they use them as shields and, once dead, as propaganda." (New York Sun)
We have not yet heard the claim by Israel and other Western countries that, after an end to hostilities, Hizballah leaders must be called to account for war crimes committed against Israel. Hizballah has been intentionally firing missiles at Israel's civilian population. Missiles aimed at civilians meet the definition of war crime or a crime against humanity as defined by the 1949 Geneva Convention, as well as the International Criminal Court at The Hague that was established in 2000.
I would have expected Israel and its allies to demand that the UN Security Council use its authority to instruct the International Criminal Court to investigate the responsibility of Hizballah leaders, with an eye on bringing them to trial, as was done to those responsible for attacks on civilians in Yugoslavia and Rwanda. The writer is a professor of criminal law at Haifa University. (Ynet News)
The politicians, journalists, and intellectuals of Lebanon knew full well that Hizballah had created an independent state in our country. In fact, our country had become an extension of Iran, and our so-called political power also served as a political and military cover for the Islamists of Teheran. Our army collaborated with the Iranians to put our coastal radar stations at the disposal of their missiles.
Lebanon a victim? What a joke! Before the Israeli attack, Lebanon no longer existed. In Beirut, innocent citizens like me were forbidden access to certain areas of their own capital. Our police, our army, and our judges were also excluded. Without the Israelis, how could we have received another chance - that we in no way deserve - to rebuild our country? Once again, the soldiers of Israel are doing our work. If, at the end of this war, the Lebanese army retakes control over its territory and gets rid of the state within a state, it will only be thanks to the IDF.
Like the overwhelming majority of Lebanese, I pray that no one puts an end to the Israeli attack before it finishes shattering the terrorists. In the name of my people, I wish to express my infinite gratitude to the relatives of the Israeli victims - civilian and military - whose loved ones have fallen so that I can live standing upright in my identity. (Metula News Agency/New Republic)
For years, Hizballah resisted the deployment of the Lebanese army in the South; this week, it finally agreed to the idea that the government would send 15,000 troops to the South. But Hizballah has not yet ceded that authority over the South rests with the state alone. Nor has it taken the only step that would put an end to the war: surrendering its weapons to the state. On no condition will the Security Council bless Hizballah if it keeps its weapons.
War with Israel is a decision that should only be taken by a sovereign state. Hizballah must give up the authority it has robbed from the state, and return it willingly by taking concrete steps that go beyond the rhetoric of Hassan Nasrallah's speeches. Hizballah should give up its weapons to the state, the militias should be disbanded, and they should be integrated into the regular army, without conditions or bargaining. (Al-Hayat-Lebanon)
When the Palestinians adopted suicide bombing as their strategy, I concluded that their indiscriminate war on Jews had begun. The Palestinian people have lost their inner compass. A whole generation of children was born and reared in their midst, and all their hopes and aspirations are to die a holy death. A Palestinian moral-ethical debate on the status of the suicide bomber never took place. He was a "martyr," with all the positive attributes that the word carries in Islamic terminology. Palestinians who still opposed the bombings did so on tactical grounds; that is to say, if it had furthered their cause, they would have seen no wrong in it.
A similar process happened with Hizballah. If before 2000 it could claim it is fighting Israeli occupation of Lebanon, today it is clear that its war is against Jews wherever they may be.
It is clear to all that a Hamas-led Palestinian government and a Hizballah-controlled Lebanon will not bring democratic societies with a flourishing political and social pluralism. Arab citizens of Israel who truly believe in the principle of two states for two peoples and those who believe in a democratic liberal society must ask themselves if the Islamic ideology that is leading the war today against Israel and the West is representative of their ambitions. The writer is a reporter for Israel Television Channel 1. (Ha'aretz)
The Palestinian Authority is being transformed, de facto, into an international trusteeship (a framework floated by American former diplomat Martin Indyk a few years ago). Economic policy and major budgetary decision-making are increasing the responsibility of the World Bank and international aid organizations. Diplomatic contacts have been carried out by representatives of the Quartet. And Israel has resumed full and direct responsibility for security, moving forces in and out of Gaza and the West Bank based on intelligence information regarding rocket production, explosives smuggling, and planning for terror attacks. Until basic changes in Palestinian self-governance take place and a more capable and pragmatic leadership emerges, de facto trusteeship is likely to continue. (bitterlemons.org)
It is striking that the EU, antagonistic to both Israel and the policies of the U.S. in the Middle East, has taken such a strong stand on the Iranian nuclear question. France and Germany may not be admirers of the Bush administration, but they know a real threat to their security when they see one, and they see one in the fanatic ambitions of the theocrats in Tehran. Unfortunately, Russia and to a lesser extent China are making a lot of money helping Iran develop nuclear capacity, and they will almost certainly block any move to impose serious economic sanctions on Iran. This means the burden of imposing sanctions will fall on the U.S. and its allies. (The Australian)
There are approximately 550,000 Jews in France. About 60 percent live in the Paris region, mainly in suburban areas. In view of the current prejudices against the Jews in France, they have become a kind of screen on which the French project their distress and their expectations. The crisis in French national identity and the demographic shock resulting from large-scale, mainly Muslim, immigration have fundamentally changed French Jewry's position in the societal landscape. At the same time, several major Jewish institutions are in crisis. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
Just over a week ago the BBC screened footage of some girls in a Middle Eastern school. Beautifully turned out, and with faces shining, the children sang a carefully prepared anthem for their parents, friends, and relatives. But the lyrics committed to heart by the girls of the al-Khalil al-Rahman Young Girls' Association sat a little incongruously with the innocence of their appearance. "We all sacrifice ourselves for our country," they sang. "We answer your call and make of our skulls a ladder to your glory. A ladder." We saw young girls dancing to music which proclaimed: "Fasten your bomb belt, oh would-be martyr, and fill the square with blood so that we get back our homeland."
The songs were recorded for a Panorama special presented by veteran BBC reporter John Ware investigating donations to the charity Interpal. Ware's painstaking work suggested that some of the institutions which benefit from the charity are linked to the Hamas terrorist organization. It is natural to believe that all one can do in the way of helping to end the suffering is simply to join the chorus demanding a cease-fire. But don't we owe our children, and the children of the Middle East, a few moments more reflection and questioning? What are the chances of a lasting peace when young girls are taught to celebrate suicide bombings in kindergarten? And what are we going to do about it? (Times-UK)
See also BBC Responds to Criticism of Panorama Documentary - John Ware
We said Hamas was "regarded by Western governments as terrorists." That's been the factual position since Hamas - both political and military wings - was proscribed as a terrorist organization by the European Union in September 2003. The program showed that some of Interpal's money had gone to charities like the al-Khalil al-Rahman Girls' Society and that over the years this had helped build Hamas. The contribution that charitable funds have made to the growth and popularity of the Hamas movement is something Hamas leaders themselves have consistently acknowledged.
Having asked the Israelis for their evidence, and having been persuaded by it, we could of course have come away and said: "These guys are Zionists. You can't trust a single thing Zionists say because they're, well, Zionists." But surely that would have been "agenda journalism" because it demands that information from one side should never be believed (even if it survives scrutiny), while the benefit of the doubt should generally be given to another side. The Muslim Council of Britain seems also to have expected us to discount Israeli-sourced documents simply because they came from Israelis. In fact, many of the documents on which we relied were not written by the Israelis, but by Interpal and the Palestinian Authority. It was the Israelis who seized the documents when they raided a number of charities in the West Bank.
What we invited viewers to consider was whether such charities were suitable organizations for British charitable funds to go to, given that violence directed at civilians has been a cornerstone of Hamas' ideology. The important point, surely, is that these young girls were learning that death - not life - is a goal, and to believe in the illusion of total victory, namely the elimination of Israel. Those girls were being given the oxygen to help keep this conflict going for another 60 years. (AIM Magazine-UK)
Their day began at dawn and ended at dusk, and they landed only to refuel and reload. Artillery shells and rockets whizzed past their windscreens as they swooped and soared, dive-bombing targets near Israel's northern border Saturday. Aharon Berenson, 58, and Svika Rosen, two decorated combat pilots, have been among the busiest airmen around, fighting fires caused by Hizballah's unprecedented barrage of rockets. The two graying veterans of Israel's 1973 Yom Kippur War are part of a team of 10 professional crop-dusters drafted back into service to help control blazes caused by rockets. (Washington Post)
Despite his Leeds accent, Ben, 26, is an Israeli soldier, one of hundreds serving in the Israeli military either as newly arrived citizens or on army programs for Zionists who want to defend Israel while deciding whether to emigrate. Earlier in the day he was ducking Hizballah mortars in the Lebanese village of Adessa, just across the border, an Israeli soldier known among his colleagues for his stamina and ability to carry a heavy machinegun over long distances. He did not have to join - compulsory military service would not have come for a few years - but volunteered because he sees the Army as Israel's "melting pot."
"Can you imagine if the Isle of Wight started bombing London? How long would it be left standing? There's no other country that is asked to show as much restraint as Israel," he declares. (Times-UK)
The Foresight Saga - Ze'ev Schiff (Ha'aretz)
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