Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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DAILY ALERT

Thursday,
August 17, 2006
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In-Depth Issues:

Parents in UK Terror Plot Planned to Blow Up Themselves and Their Baby - Andy Soltis (New York Post)
    Fanatical terror suspect Abdula Ahmed Ali, 25, and his wife, Cossor, 23, are among those being interrogated by British police as suspects in the massive plot to attack trans-Atlantic flights in midair.
    The Alis planned to use 6-month-old son Zain's baby bottle as a liquid bomb, blowing themselves and their child up, along with hundreds of others aboard the flight.


Costa Rica to Move Israel Embassy Out of Jerusalem (Reuters)
    Costa Rica will move its embassy in Israel from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, its new president, Oscar Arias, said on Wednesday, in a move that pleases Arab nations and is a blow to Israel.
    "It's time to rectify an historic error that hurts us internationally and deprives us of almost any form of friendship with the Arab world, and more broadly with Islamic civilization, to which a sixth of humanity belongs," Arias said.
    Former Costa Rican President Luis Alberto Monge moved the embassy to Jerusalem in 1982 as a show of support for Israel.


Foreign Fighters Swell Taliban's Ranks - Michael Evans (Times-UK)
    Highly trained foreign fighters from Syria, Egypt, and Yemen are pouring back into Afghanistan across the Pakistani border to take on British and other NATO troops, military sources say.


Hollywood Stars Blast Hizballah, Hamas - Yitzhak Benhorin (Ynet News)
    Heads of the film industry in Hollywood and prominent movie stars have signed a statement blaming Hamas and Hizballah for terror activities in the Middle East, the war in Lebanon, and for harming innocents.


Police in Tehran Remove Satellite Dishes - Nazila Fathi (New York Times)
    Police raided rooftops in downtown Tehran and removed more than 100 satellite dishes.
    The newspaper Kargozaran reported that a crackdown against satellite television had already begun in at least three other provinces.
    Satellite dishes - widely used to watch opposition Persian-language programs beamed mostly from the U.S. - are prohibited by law, but previous governments rarely enforced it.


Campus Groups Brace for Anti-Israel Campaign - Gary Rosenblatt (New York Jewish Week)
    American Jewish leaders and educators are bracing for a surge of rallies, protests, and campaigns against Israel's military conduct in Lebanon when the fall semester begins.
    They plan to counter this with a message emphasizing Hizballah's responsibility not only for Israeli deaths with missiles aimed at civilians but Lebanese casualties as well, since the terror group positions itself among the populace.


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  • Lebanon Sending Troops into South, Hizballah to Keep Arms - Edward Cody and Colum Lynch
    The Lebanese government on Wednesday ordered army troops to deploy across southern Lebanon under a compromise arrangement that allows Hizballah to retain some of its arms caches near the border with Israel. (Washington Post)
        See also Israel Wants UN to Block New Arms for Hizballah - Edith M. Lederer
    Israel wants an expanded UN force to help monitor the Lebanese border to prevent Iran and Syria from replenishing Hizballah's weapons, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Wednesday in New York. "We expect that the international community, or that the new international force, will assist the Lebanese government to monitor the international borders in order to prevent Iran and Syria from rearmament of Hizballah," Livni said. She also accused Hizballah of violating the resolution's call to unconditionally release two Israeli soldiers whose capture sparked the conflict.
        "We must ensure that the end result of the process will be the full and complete disarmament of Hizballah," Livni said. Earlier Wednesday, Livni met with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and said, "The war is not over yet....At first there was the military battle, then there was the diplomatic battle, and now it is crucial that the international community and the Lebanese government will implement fully Resolution 1701." (AP/Washington Post)
  • White House: Lebanese Government in Charge of Disarming Hizballah
    White House Spokesman Tony Snow said Wednesday: "The Lebanese armed forces are still preparing to begin to move south and it is going to be their job eventually to make sure that Hizballah is disarmed and is no longer functioning as an independent militia. And we expect that to happen, but it's going to take some time....But it's important to realize that the Lebanese government will be in charge of disarming Hizballah, and we expect that to happen." (White House)
        See also Hizballah Says Disarmament Not an Option (Reuters)
  • Devastation Fuels Lebanese Anger at Hizballah - Mark MacKinnon
    As the returnees to Ainata in southern Lebanon took in the scope of the destruction, the victorious mood of a day earlier as they streamed back waving Hizballah flags quickly evaporated. In its place rose something new and rarely voiced: anger at Hizballah for having brought the ire of the Israeli army raining down on their village. Despite Hizballah's propaganda, there was no victory for the Lebanese people to celebrate, said local resident Ali Arbid. (Globe and Mail-Canada)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Withdrawal of IDF Depends on Deployment of Lebanese Army - Gideon Alon and Yoav Stern
    Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Dan Halutz told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Wednesday that the IDF would halt its withdrawal from southern Lebanon if the Lebanese army did not deploy in the area within days. A senior General Staff officer told the committee, "The deployment of UNIFIL troops in south Lebanon is likely to take several months....Until then, IDF forces will be forced to stay in the field."
        Halutz also said Israel was "successful in destroying 90 percent of [Hizballah's] long-range missiles." (Ha'aretz)
  • Reserve Paratroop Brigade Surprises Hizballah - Hanan Greenberg
    It was one of the most impressive battles in the war against Hizballah. Dozens of terrorists were killed, many weapons - including a 24-head rocket launcher - were destroyed, and not a single IDF soldier was hurt as a reserve paratroop brigade surprised Hizballah. Just days before the cease-fire, almost a thousand IDF soldiers were positioned behind enemy lines, attacking from the north against Hizballah positions that faced south toward Israel. (Ynet News)
  • Saving a Soldier's Life Under Fire in a Helicopter - Yaakov Katz
    St.-Sgt. Avraham, a paramedic with the Air Force's elite 669 search and rescue unit, was trained to treat the wounded while flying in a helicopter in complete darkness under enemy fire. The unit flew over 100 operational sorties into Lebanon during 33 days of fighting and evacuated and treated over 300 wounded soldiers. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • On Balance, Israel Won This Round - Nadav Morag
    Despite being cheered by many in the Arab world for its willingness to confront Israel and its ability to make life miserable for civilians in northern Israel, Hizballah's actions have only created greater fear among Arab leaders of Iranian attempts to create a "Shiite Arc" stretching through Iraq and ending in Lebanon. Moreover, in the coming months, Hizballah will discover that it has alienated most of the Lebanese population, including large numbers of Lebanese Shiites, because its aggressive actions produced a harsh Israeli response that has brought the destruction of significant areas and infrastructure in Lebanon, as well as a major loss of life. Ultimately, Hizballah will come out of this conflict considerably weakened. (Christian Science Monitor)
  • Why Hizballah Will Not be Disarmed - Nick Blanford
    Forget about Hizballah being disarmed. It is just not going to happen. Hizballah doesn't want to be disarmed and there is nobody else willing to do it. Even if the Lebanese government had tried to force the army to do it, I think the army would have refused. A lot of its senior officers are loyal to President Emile Lahoud, the last leading ally of Syria to remain in office in Lebanon. Many people regard the Lebanese army as almost a proxy of Hizballah. The Shia contingent, which represents about 60 percent of all soldiers, would have refused to take on their Shia brothers in Hizballah.
        It is clearly understood that the last thing that foreign countries sending troops to maintain the cease-fire want to do is to get involved in disarming Hizballah - or even in preventing Hizballah from reaching the border and attacking Israel. The countries willing to offer troops for the new UN mission want a political understanding to be in place at the start, that Hizballah won't attack Israel and that when they arrive in south Lebanon they will not find Hizballah still deployed in bunkers along the border. In effect, they want the UN force to be mainly a PR stunt to reassure the international community that the situation in Lebanon is under control. (Times-UK)
  • Europe and the War in Lebanon - Freddy Eytan
    In 1978 France was the only country in the world that offered warm and sympathetic political refuge to the spiritual leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini. French Foreign Minister Douste-Blazy declared during a recent visit to Beirut that: "Iran constitutes a stabilizing force in the Middle East and it should be taken into account and included in any arrangement for restoring quiet to our region." He told Le Monde on August 12 that the purpose of the enlarged UNIFIL in southern Lebanon would not include the disarming of Hizballah by force.
        Recently, French Maj.-Gen. Alain Pellegrini has commanded the UNIFIL force. Hizballah fortified its positions and brought in huge quantities of weapons and ammunition right under his nose. Did he warn of the arming of Hizballah by Iran and Syria? Did he prevent the kidnapping of the Israeli soldiers? In any multinational force, France will not take upon itself the task of disarming Hizballah. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Observations:

    A Cease-Fire Reality: Dealing With Syria - Dennis Ross (Washington Post)

    • In 1993 and 1996 I helped broker understandings that brought conflicts between Hizballah and Israel to an end. Both times Hizballah instigated warfare with Katyusha rocket fire into Israel and Israel retaliated, determined to damage Hizballah's capacity for making war and to demonstrate to the Lebanese the cost of Hizballah's adventures. And both times, to bring about an enduring cease-fire, we needed to deal with Syria. This time, however, the cease-fire deal was done without the Syrians.
    • Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 will depend to a large degree on the Syrians - unless, of course, the new international force deployed with the Lebanese army can both prevent resupply to Hizballah and bolster Lebanon's military so it can fulfill the role envisioned for it in the resolution. The more determined Syria is to frustrate implementation of the resolution, the more the international force will need a capability and a mandate to be aggressive in stopping efforts to get arms to Hizballah and in preventing its restoration as a fighting force.
    • Will the international force have intensive inspection capability? Will it be deployed along all routes into Lebanon from Syria and be able to inspect all relevant vehicular traffic? Will it set up checkpoints on north-south access routes in Lebanon to do the same? There is every reason to believe the international force will not be able to accomplish such a mission anytime soon.
    • Working in tandem, the Bush administration and the French should try to change the Syrian calculus. We should create a one-two punch with the French to make clear that Syria has something significant to lose by not cutting off Hizballah, and that it has something meaningful to gain from changing course.
    • The Europeans currently provide a critical economic lifeline to the Syrians. Assad must see that Syria will pay an unmistakable price if it tries to block implementation of Resolution 1701. That price could be a joint French-EU and American effort to isolate Syria economically if it is unwilling to end its material support for Hizballah.

          See also Syria Adamantly Defiant of Resolution 1701 (UPI)


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