Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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Syria Still Transferring Rockets to Hizballah - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
Israel Campus Beat
- August 13, 2006
The Cease-Fire Agreement in Lebanon
Hizballah: Countdown to End of Zionist Entity Has Begun - Roee Nahmias (Ynet News)
4,000 Hizballah Rockets Hit Israel (AP/Jerusalem Post)
IDF Destroys Explosives Truck Heading Toward Israel - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
Lebanon Photos: Take a Closer Look - Tim Rutten (Los Angeles Times)
Two Palestinian Rockets Hit Ashkelon (Jerusalem Post/Ha'aretz)
Britain's Al-Qaeda Leader Seized - David Leppard (Sunday Times-UK)
Video: Hizballah's War Against Israel (theisraelipatriot)
See also Video: Hizballah Rocket Hits Haifa (YouTube)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Israel said it was calling back some troops from southern Lebanon after its military and Hizballah stopped fighting in compliance with a UN-brokered cease-fire that began at 8 a.m. local time Monday. (Bloomberg)
See also Israeli Cabinet Approves UN Cease-Fire Deal - Molly Moore and Edward Cody
The Israeli cabinet voted Sunday to accept Friday's UN-declared cease-fire, even as fierce ground fighting continued in southern Lebanon. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Sunday that Israeli forces would not withdraw from southern Lebanon until both an international force and the Lebanese army took control of the area. On Friday evening, Israel dispatched more troops and armor into Lebanon to drive Hizballah fighters from a strip of border territory south of the Litani River. On Saturday, 24 Israeli soldiers were killed, including five who died when Hizballah shot down their helicopter. (Washington Post)
The Lebanese government, which includes two members of Hizballah, unanimously approved UN Security Council Resolution 1701 on Saturday, Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said. The two Hizballah members told the cabinet that the Islamic militia has no intention of disarming south of the Litani River, about 15 miles (25 kilometers) north of the Israel-Lebanon border, a senior cabinet member said. (CNN/China Daily)
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told Israel Radio on Saturday: "I believe that this is a resolution that really does enhance Israel's security because, for the first time in really a very long time, there is an opportunity to extend the authority of the Lebanese government and army with an international force that will be a substantial force, into the south of the country and to keep Hizballah away from the border."
"If we do our work right, this will be an enduring cease-fire. One reason that, as much as we wanted an immediate stop to the hostilities, that the United States refused to just call for an immediate stop to the hostilities, was that we thought we needed to have in place some conditions that might give us a chance to have an enduring cease-fire. I'm quite certain now that there will be an international force that will have a robust mandate. It will have real troops in it. Even though it's called UNIFIL, this is not the same force; this is going to be a very different force. And that force of more than 15,000 Lebanese soldiers and about 15,000 international forces should make the south a very different place, a safer place, and a place to which Hizballah cannot return to the kinds of activities that led it to, without the knowledge of the Lebanese government, attack Israel....The plan is that, as soon as this force is in, of course the Lebanese government has an obligation to start the disarmament of Hizballah." (State Department)
Australian Prime Minister John Howard has said Hizballah must be disarmed if the UN truce in Lebanon is to last. Howard said the UN Security Council resolution to end hostilities was not specific enough and needed a clear authority to disarm Hizballah. Howard said he had serious concerns about whether the UN-brokered truce between Israel and Hizballah could last. French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy has said the mandate of the expanded UN force would not include disarming Hizballah. (BBC News)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Hizballah gunners in Lebanon fired at least 250 rockets at northern Israeli towns on Sunday, killing one person in Shlomi and injuring at least 26 others, three seriously. At least five long-range missiles provided by Syria landed in open areas in the Jezreel Valley town of Migdal Ha'emek. (Ha'aretz)
Seven Israel Defense Forces soldiers were killed in south Lebanon on Sunday in heavy fighting with Hizballah. The IDF on Sunday shot down two Iranian-made Hizballah drones it suspects were laden with explosives heading toward Israel. One was shot down over Kibbutz Cabri in the Western Galilee. The other was downed over the Lebanese city of Tyre. (Jerusalem Post/Ha'aretz)
St.-Sgt. Uri Grossman, 20, the son of prominent Israeli author David Grossman, was a tank commander, killed by an anti-tank missile which hit his tank. Sgt. Yoan Zarbiv, 22, immigrated to Israel from France three years ago on his own. St.-Sgt. Major (res.), Ron Mashiach, 33, leaves behind a wife, Sivan, who is expecting their first child. Sgt. Yossi Abutbul, 20, was lightly injured in the first week of fighting but insisted on returning to his brigade. Cpl. Kamal Amar, 19, of the Druse village of Jolis in the Galilee, was on sick leave due to a recent shoulder injury, but insisted on rejoining his comrades who were fighting in Lebanon. Staff Sgt. Ami Masholmi, 20, and his family had been evicted last year from their home in Gaza. (Jerusalem Post)
See also IDF Woman Soldier Killed in Lebanon - Ruth Sinai
Sgt. 1st Class Keren Tendler, 26, a reservist air force mechanic, was killed in a helicopter crash in Lebanon Saturday night, the first woman soldier to die on active duty since the Yom Kippur War. (Ha'aretz/Ynet News)
See also "I Saw the Missile Hit the Helicopter" - Ron Ben-Yishai (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
The UN Cease-Fire Resolution
After reading the text of the UN Security Council's cease-fire resolution adopted on Friday, we'd say the "status quo ante" is nearly what we've got. The new resolution does call for disarming Hizballah, just as Resolution 1559 previously did, but without saying who will do it. There's reason to doubt that Lebanon's army will be able to disarm Hizballah's still-powerful military. The resolution also calls for beefing up UNIFIL, the existing UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon that also couldn't disarm Hizballah. The resolution fell short of invoking the Chapter VII powers that U.S. officials had previously said were necessary to ensure a strong enough UN presence. The likelihood is that UNIFIL and the Lebanese army will co-exist with Hizballah, which will slowly re-arm to strike Israel again at the time of its choosing.
Yes, the new resolution calls for an arms embargo against Hizballah, but Iran and Syria have evaded such strictures before. Perhaps, for a time, this cease-fire resolution will "stop the violence." But the price for letting a transnational terrorist group like Hizballah claim victory is likely to be far more bloodshed in the future. (Wall Street Journal, 14Aug06)
The cease-fire resolution approved by the Security Council emphasizes the need not only to end the violence but also "to address urgently the causes that have given rise to the current crisis." The chief cause was Hizballah, a radical Islamist force that has maintained a sophisticated army beyond the control of Lebanon's government. Hizballah's leader, while saying he accepted the resolution, vowed to continue attacking Israeli forces in Lebanon. The resolution doesn't explicitly authorize the international force to disarm Hizballah but it does authorize it "to take all necessary action" to ensure that southern Lebanon can no longer be used as a base for attacks against Israel.
Hizballah may calculate that it can accept and ignore the terms - that no Lebanese army or international force will dare prevent its rearmament and its return to the Israeli border. If so, it will be up to Lebanon's government, the UN, and the European nations expected to supply troops to prove the militia wrong. (Washington Post)
The fighting in Lebanon will not easily be halted despite Israeli and Lebanese acceptance of the Security Council resolution on a "cessation of hostilities." The Lebanese government cannot control Hizballah. Nasrallah does not want to stop a war that, he believes, recruits more extremists to the cause with every Israeli bomb dropped. The deployment of a reinforced UN contingent led by France could take weeks. Lebanon's enfeebled government, which contains Hizballah ministers and politicians in league with it, might decide to "authorize" Hizballah's continued military existence, perhaps by bringing its fighters into the Lebanese Army. Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary-General, has unwisely hinted that "incorporation" might be a way out.
There will be no real chance of peace unless UNIFIL disarms Hizballah. The resolution authorizes the UN force "to take all necessary action" and to resist armed efforts to prevent it discharging its duties, but - a curious caveat - only "as it deems within its capabilities." France now says that these capabilities exclude disarming Hizballah; Australia, sensibly, sees no point in committing troops if that is not to be part of their job. (Times-UK)
It would not be wise to put too much stock in the current cease-fire as a long-term solution to problems in the Middle East. Israel has made clear that its most fervent desire is to be left alone and in peace on its small strip of land on the Mediterranean. It put up with six years of often-fatal harassment by Hizballah before finally striking back. Time and again it has offered serious settlements to the Palestinian people only to have peace derailed by radicals, the most extreme of whom will not be satisfied until Israel is obliterated. Thus it will always find itself going to war as long as its neighbors refuse to countenance its existence. (The Australian)
Israel could not have hoped for a better resolution than the one adopted by the UN Security Council. Resolution 1701 constitutes a clear diplomatic victory for the State of Israel, but, in the meantime, the resolution is only a declaration of principles and intentions. There must next be agreement between the Israeli and Lebanese governments to execute it; the make-up of the international force must be decided, as well as the source of their logistical guidance and how they will be armed; and most importantly - a clear timetable by which the principles will be implemented on the ground. The UN has accumulated hundreds such theoretical decisions, which were not implemented in the slightest or only partially implemented. (Ynet News)
See also Text of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 (AP/Jerusalem Post)
The IDF embarked on a broad ground offensive in southern Lebanon on the 32nd day of the war, aiming to destroy Hizballah's short-range rocket capability in the south. The IDF informed the security cabinet that it intended to meet its goals within the short period available. The IDF landed heliborne forces in different areas to block Hizballah's resupply of ammunition. The Security Council resolution allows for certain change in southern Lebanon, one of Israel's goals, and it is clear that Hizballah will not be able to return to its previous deployment, particularly not along the border with Israel. However, Hizballah rocket capabilities are not checked by the resolution north of the Litani River, nor is there a serious mechanism to enforce the arms embargo on Hizballah. There is also no clear deadline by which Hizballah must release the abducted Israeli soldiers. (Ha'aretz)
Hizballah is hailing a "victory" of sorts, considering it a triumph that it has not been completely "destroyed" after just four weeks of fighting, in contrast with the dismal record of several Arab armies combined in 1967. As victories rank, not being destroyed is not that impressive. However, the facts now evident on the ground suggest an entirely different assessment. First, the damage inflicted by the IDF on Hizballah's infrastructure and resources is far greater than the equivalent harm that it has suffered. Second, Hizballah has deployed its missile arsenal to very little advantage. Roughly 95 percent of them hit nothing of value. It took Hizballah six years to accumulate a stockpile that, fundamentally, it has wasted.
Third, Lebanon, which had refused to send its soldiers to the south, has been obliged to pledge that it will now do so. Moreover, the problem of Hizballah, which was exclusively Israel's problem, has been internationalized. The Lebanese government and the UN Security Council well know that if Lebanon's troops cannot pacify Hizballah, then Israel's air force will be back over Beirut. Finally, the past few weeks have exposed Iran's pivotal role as the political patron of terrorism as well as the extent of its ambitions to shape Islam in its image. It will become obvious to Sunni regimes that Israel is an ally against Shiite Iran. (Times-UK)
See also Hizballah Has Been Weakened - Roee Nahmias
"Hizballah has become weak on a few important parameters," says Dr. Reuven Erlich, head of the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center and an expert on Lebanon. "First, the stronghold it built in the past six years, which became one of its symbols of power, has been harshly beaten. There may be some resistance, but it is clear that what it built will not return to the previous format." "Second, the 'security quadrangle' in Beirut's Dahiya, where all the main headquarters were concentrated and which the Lebanese government did not have access to, has been largely destroyed." "Third, the missile arsenal has been greatly damaged, even if it has not been completely destroyed. In addition, the organization has hundreds of casualties among its core group of its best fighters." "The refugees who will return to the south will also see massive wreckage and will ask tough questions." However, it is clear that Hassan Nasrallah does not plan to surrender, and he will do all he can, with the help of his operators in Tehran, to quickly rehabilitate Hizballah. (Ynet News)
At least 50 newborn babies in the West Bank and Gaza have been named after Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah over the past month, sources in the PA Health Ministry said Sunday. As the war nears its end, some moderate Arabs expressed fear that the widely-perceived conviction on the Arab street that Hizballah had won would enhance the position of those who argue that Israel can be defeated or destroyed. PA Minister of Culture Atallah Abu al-Sabah told a pro-Hizballah rally in Gaza City: "Israel can be defeated and this is what the Arab regimes should know. It's time to remove the dust from Arab weapons and to use them to liberate Palestine and the Aksa Mosque....We hope that all the Arab countries will start recruiting and training young men to fight like the great Hizballah fighters."
Palestinian political analysts said the fact that many Palestinians and Arabs are convinced that Hizballah had won the war will boost the popularity of extremist groups like Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and al-Qaeda. (Jerusalem Post)
Bush is right, as is Blair, to see the current conflict in Lebanon as part of the wider war on terror. Hizballah concedes that its goal is not simply to establish a Palestinian state or to recover a disputed territory known as Shebaa Farms. Hizballah wants to annihilate Israel, a step in a much broader campaign. Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei recently described Hizballah as the Muslim world's "front-line against the West."
For this reason, the emerging cease-fire in Lebanon may turn out to be a disaster, producing the worst of all possible policy outcomes. Hizballah has not been disarmed. This will embolden the extremists. It will allow Iran, Hizballah's chief sponsor, to claim victory. Once again, America's image has taken a blow. There is good reason to believe the West has missed an opportunity to push through critical changes. Lebanese opinion, especially among non-Shia Muslims, was initially critical of Hizballah. Other regional governments - Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan - openly criticized Iran's proxy. (Financial Times-UK)
What Israel Has Done for the U.S. Lately - Brig.-Gen. Yossi Kuperwasser (Jerusalem Post)
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