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by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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DAILY ALERT

Friday,
August 18, 2006
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In-Depth Issues:

Report: Hizballah War Losses - 1,500 Men (Libanoscopie-French)
    As for the objectives of Hizballah: the recovery of the Shabaa farms and the return of three Lebanese detainees in Israeli jails, the first is not near, and the Israelis now hold 15 more Hizballah militiamen.
    According to semi-official sources, Hizballah has undergone total destruction of its logistic and economic infrastructures, and suffered about 1,500 deaths of militiamen and leaders.


Israel HighWay
- August 17, 2006

Issue of the Week:
    The Ceasefire - Will It Hold? Or Is It Only Halftime?

Turkey Grounds Iranian Planes for Weapons Search (AFP/ABS-CBN-Philippines)
    Turkey grounded two Syria-bound Iranian planes during the past month to search for weapons following Israeli intelligence that Iran is supplying rockets to Hizballah, Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Namik Tan said Thursday.
    The Hurriyet daily reported that two Iranian planes flying to Syria were forced to land in Diyarbakir on July 27 and August 8 following an Israeli tip-off that they were carrying rockets, but no military equipment was discovered in either of the aircraft.
    See also Israel Wants Turkey to Blockade Iranian Arms to Hizballah (Reuters/Ha'aretz)
    Israel wants the Turkish military to impose an air and ground embargo to prevent Iran from using Turkish territory to send arms to resupply Hizballah, a senior Israeli security source said Thursday.
    Israeli intelligence believes that nearly all of the heavy weapons that Iran has provided to Hizballah passed through Turkish ground or airspace en route to Syria and then to Hizballah in Lebanon, security sources said.


Islamist Preacher Qaradawi Calls for Jihad Against Israel (Middle East Online-UK)
    Prominent Islamist preacher Sheikh Yusef al-Qaradawi has called for a holy war against Israel, the Egyptian newspaper Al-Masri Al-Yom reported Wednesday.
    "Muslims must carry out jihad to liberate all the land of Islam. Palestine does not belong only to the Palestinians but to all Muslims," Qaradawi said.
    The Egyptian-born cleric, who now lives in Qatar and appears regularly on the Qatari satellite channel Al-Jazeera, said that the Islamic world "needs men like those of Hizballah: in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, and everywhere."
    Qaradawi, who has close links to the Muslim Brotherhood, said that Islamic law, or sharia, dictated "if a land of Islam is occupied, the entire population must resist and start jihad."
    Qaradawi has consistently defended Palestinian suicide attacks against Israel.


Italian Foreign Minister Criticizes for Stroll with Hizballah Minister (AKI-Italy)
    A photograph of Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema strolling arm-in-arm with Hizballah-linked Lebanese cabinet minister Faouzi Salloukh during the Italian minister's visit to Lebanon on Monday has stirred controversy in Italy, with a spokesman for Rome's Jewish community condemning the gesture.
    "It's incredible that our foreign minister can go arm-in-arm with an enemy, not just of Israel, but of peace," Riccardo Pacifici told La Stampa Thursday.


Dollars and Diplomacy: Foreign Aid and the Palestinian Question - Scott Lasensky and Robert Grace (U.S. Institute of Peace)
    Can foreign aid help the parties return to a political process? Or will international economic assistance reinforce the status quo?
    All the foreign aid in the world will have little impact if the parties cannot agree on a way to end violence and renew the political process.
    Foreign aid can be an effective instrument to facilitate peacemaking and sustain peace settlements, but it is a limited tool when aimed at trying to end an active conflict.


Norway: Imports from Israel Double Despite Boycott Calls (Aftenposten-Norway)
    Last July Norway bought goods from Israel for NOK 22 million (US$3.5 million), while the total for July 2006 was up to NOK 46 million, the newspaper Vart Land reports, based on figures compiled by Statistics Norway (SSB).
    Calls to boycott Israel from the Socialist Left Party and other organizations seem to have had no negative affect on consumer attitudes.


West Bank Jewish Population Tops 260,000 - Etgar Lefkovits (Jerusalem Post)
    The number of Israelis living in the West Bank increased by three percent in the first six months of 2006, reaching 260,932, according to the Interior Ministry's population registry.


Israeli, Lebanese, Palestinian, Iranian Scientists Unite to Fight AIDS (AFP/Khaleej Times-Dubai, 15Aug06)
    In Toronto on Tuesday, there was unity in a common cause as Israeli, Palestinian, and Lebanese doctors, researchers, and scientists, joined by delegates from Iran, gathered to discuss AIDS problems in the Middle East at the 16th International AIDS Conference.


Anti-Israel Bias in the European Parliament and Other EU Institutions - Interview with Rijk van Dam by Manfred Gerstenfeld (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    About 20% of the members of the European Parliament are friends of Israel. Another 20% are clear friends of the Palestinian people, while the remaining 60% like to sit on the fence.
    Since 1993, the EU and its member states have given over four billion euros in financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority and a variety of Palestinian NGOs.
    In 2005 the European Parliament stated there is abundant evidence that Hizballah is a terrorist organization, and the European ministers should put it on the list of such organizations.
    This has not happened because of the opposition of three EU member states: France, Spain, and Ireland.
    Rijk van Dam, a former member of the European Parliament, representing several Christian parties from the Netherlands, is executive director of the European Coalition for Israel.


Useful Reference:

Israel's Losses in the War with Hizballah (Israel Project)
    159 Israelis were killed - 116 IDF soldiers and 43 civilians; 4,262 civilians were injured.
    Over 2 million people - a third of Israel's population - were within Hizballah rocket range; 300,000-500,000 were displaced from their homes.
    6,000 homes were hit by rockets.


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  • Lebanese Army Moves South - Sabrina Tavernise and John Kifner
    Lebanese government soldiers began crossing the Litani River at dawn Thursday in a deployment that was more about symbolism than security. The reality on the ground is a kind of murky backroom deal in which Hizballah takes its weapons off the street and the army will not look too hard for them, if at all. "There will be no confrontation between the army and the brothers in Hizballah," said Ghazi Aridi, the Lebanese information minister.
        Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said "the [UN] resolution clearly calls for the creation of a Hizballah-free zone south of the Litani River and anything less would mean the resolution is not being implemented." (New York Times)
  • France Hesitates Over UN Force - Crispian Balmer
    France is considering providing only a symbolic force for the UN contingent in Lebanon, and not the thousands of troops UN officials had expected, Le Monde reported Thursday. Such a move could seriously delay the UN mission or even scupper the operation. Le Monde reported that France wanted to send just a dozen officers and 200 personnel from an engineering division for the beefed-up UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). Many diplomats had expected France to provide at least 2,000 men. (Reuters/Washington Post)
        See also UN Gets Tentative Pledges of 3,500 Troops, Sets Rules of Engagement
    The UN got pledges of 3,500 troops for an expanded UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon, but it was unclear whether the soldiers represented the right mix of countries and units and could deploy very quickly. Bangladesh offered 2,000 troops. "Very much the issue is under what circumstances our troops have to engage in hostile offensive activities," said UN Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown. "If (small groups) do not voluntarily disarm when confronted by our troops and if they try to forcefully resist disarmament we will indeed employ force ourselves to disarm them," he said. "The role of this force is not large-scale disarmament of Hizballah, but rather policing a political agreement where the Lebanese government and Hizballah have agreed to disarm," Malloch Brown said. (AP/AFP/Naharnet-Lebanon)
  • Pakistan: Al-Qaeda Approved UK Bomb Plot - Munir Ahmad
    Detained terror suspects told interrogators that al-Qaeda no. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri probably authorized the plot to blow up planes from Britain to the U.S., a senior Pakistani intelligence agent said Thursday. Pakistani intelligence officials said the would-be plane bombers wanted to carry out a large, al-Qaeda-style coordinated attack to mark the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks in the U.S. At least seven suspects were arrested in Pakistan, including British national Rashid Rauf, who Pakistani authorities say had been in contact with al-Qaeda figures in Pakistan and Afghanistan to prepare for the attacks. (AP/Guardian-UK)
        See also UK Police Find Bomb Kit
    Police probing a plot to bring down flights have found a suitcase containing items which could be used to construct a bomb. A police source said the case contained "everything you would need to make an improvised device." (BBC News)
        See also Islamic Missionary Group Links Plotters - Sean O'Neill and Roger Boyes
    Central figures in the terrorism cell that police say was planning to blow up transatlantic airliners are followers of Tablighi Jamaat, an Islamic missionary group that rejects secular society and advocates strict adherence to an Islamic dress code and lifestyle. The European headquarters of Tablighi Jamaat, which was formed in India in 1927, are in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, where it has a 4,000-capacity mosque. Mohammed Sidique Khan, the ringleader of the 7/7 suicide bombers, lived in Dewsbury and attended the Tabligh mosque. (Times-UK)
  • Ahmadinejad Vows to Stand by Iran Nuclear Work
    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has vowed to stand by the country's nuclear work, insisting the UN Security Council cannot deprive Iran of its "rights," the Iranian state news agency IRNA reported. (AFP/Yahoo)
  • Jewish Leaders, Paris Slam Iran Holocaust Cartoon Show - Corinne Heller
    The Israeli government, Jewish groups, and Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe on Thursday condemned Iran's International Holocaust Cartoon Contest, accusing Tehran of spreading hatred and trivializing the murder of six million Jews. Israeli government spokesman Gideon Meir called on the international community "to express disgust from such an anti-Semitic and inhuman event." Yosef Lapid, chairman of the council of the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, said: "The exhibit not only is horrific propaganda that supports Holocaust denial, it also paves the road to justifying genocide of the Jews in Israel." (Reuters)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • New "Mini-Iran" Emerging in Southern Lebanon - Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff
    While for the first time in 30 years the Lebanese Army deployed south of the Litani River on Thursday, the army has no plans to drive Hizballah out of the south or to confront it. Lebanon's president and commander in chief of the army, Emile Lahoud, made it clear on Wednesday that Hizballah would not be disarmed, not even in the area south of the Litani River. Hizballah men may not carry their arms openly, but they could rebuild their bunkers and fill them up with rockets in preparation for the next confrontation with Israel.
        UN Security Council Resolution 1701, passed a week ago, is already on the path to becoming meaningless. While the Americans are declaring that the new forces in southern Lebanon will not allow Hizballah to resume their positions along the border, Nasrallah's forces are patrolling without hindrance in the villages of southern Lebanon, recording Israel Defense Forces activities, and giving interviews, while armed, to Arab television stations. (Ha'aretz)
  • Hizballah Encourages Stepped-Up Palestinian Terror - Yaakov Katz
    Palestinian terror cells operating in the West Bank and Gaza in conjunction with Hizballah are under orders to escalate their attacks against Israel, a high-ranking IDF officer has said. On Sunday, Palestinians in Gaza fired two Grad-type Katyusha rockets at Israel. Since the cease-fire went into effect in the north, there has been an increase in the number of Kassam rockets fired by Palestinians at Israel. On Thursday, several IDF jeeps were attacked by Palestinian terrorists as they patrolled the Gaza security fence.
        "There is an effort to step up attacks within the Palestinian territories now that there is a cease-fire in the north," the high-ranking officer said. "Hizballah is trying to activate their cells in Gaza and the West Bank and to ensure that Israel is still under attack." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Two Hamas Terrorists Killed Making Bombs in West Bank "Work Accident" - Ali Waked
    Two Hamas members were killed and a third mortally wounded by an explosion Friday in Dir Abu Daif in the Jenin area of the northern West Bank. Palestinian sources say the blast apparently resulted from a "work accident," as one Hamas member accidentally set off an explosives belt he was wearing. (Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

    Disarming Hizballah in Lebanon

  • France Has Second Thoughts on Lebanon - Editorial
    Whatever wriggle room the precise wording of UN Resolution 1701 may contain, its thrust is clear: to prevent the resumption of hostilities by neutralizing the Hizballah threat. UNIFIL is specifically charged to take all necessary action to ensure that the area south of the Litani "is not utilized for hostile activities of any kind." The demilitarization of Lebanese society is central to a return to normality. It is vital to regional stability. The job cannot be done without UN help, or overnight, but the pressure must be relentless. By committing 400 troops instead of an expected 3,500, France has relaxed the pressure at a vital moment. (Times-UK)
        See also Where Did the French Go? - Editorial (Washington Post)
  • Only Lebanese Pressure Will Disarm Hizballah
    if Hizballah is ever to give up its weapons and become just another political party, it will be through the pressure of the other Lebanese, not as a direct result of Israel's war. The trouble for Israel is that in peacemaking, as well as in war, the enemy gets a vote. What the well-meaning protesters who have been marching in Europe in praise of Hizballah refuse to acknowledge is that today, as in the 1940s, Israel still has some neighbors who continue to deny its very right to exist as a Jewish state.
        Peace does not depend only on Israel. Six years ago Israel withdrew from Lebanon to a border painstakingly demarcated by the UN. Hizballah fought on anyway. Like Iran, it says its aim is Israel's destruction. Whether Hizballah and Iran seriously propose to destroy Israel is hard to tell, but it is what they keep saying - and they have imitators. The Palestinians' ruling Hamas movement has not yet dared to say out loud that it accepts even the principle of sharing Palestine with a Jewish state. Hamas, after the Lebanon war, is in danger of subscribing anew to the old illusion that Palestine can be liberated by force.
        Hizballah has now killed stone dead the idea of Israel giving up territory again without cast-iron security assurances. So there will be no leaving any of the West Bank until there is a deal. (Economist-UK, 17Aug06)
  • Unless Hizballah Is Swiftly Disarmed, We Will Face an Emboldened Iran - Oliver Kamm
    Israel can't be defeated by Hizballah, but an existential threat to the Jewish state is not the proper measure of a terrorist group's capacities. So long as Hizballah remains in southern Lebanon, Israeli civilians face a continuous threat of rocket attacks or periodic incursions. The aim and effect are comparable to those of the suicide bomber in Israeli towns. Death may strike at any time. No democratic government can long survive, or ought to tolerate, a position in which civilians need reserves of courage merely to live within its boundaries. Western powers have a particular responsibility. UNIFIL must now disarm Hizballah, and be seen to do so. If it does not, then Iran's ambitions in the region, and its transfer of arms, will only burgeon. (Guardian-UK)
  • Cease-Fire on Verge of Collapse - Barry Rubin
    Hizballah says it will not disarm voluntarily and Lebanon says it will not disarm Hizballah unless it wants to be disarmed. Israel says that if Hizballah does return to its positions with weapons, the IDF will resume its offensive. In short, the whole basis of the cease-fire is on the verge of collapse.
        On a military level, Hizballah lost the war, despite their public relations successes. What we saw is actually fairly typical of wars historically. One side attacks using new techniques and weapons, at first scoring some successes. After a while, however, the other side adapts to these challenges and goes on to inflict heavy losses and take control of the battlefield.
        If the war restarts, Hizballah may face a two-front war. Lebanese Christians, Druze, and Sunnis, the majority of the population, are largely angry at how Hizballah dragged their country into a war and is increasingly subjugating it to Iran and Syria. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Can the UN Resolution Be Put into Lasting Effect? - Colin Rubenstein
    Unless the Hizballah militia is effectively disarmed, Lebanon will likely never become fully sovereign. Any areas vacated by Israel in the West Bank will become another Hizballah-stan-like entity, only this time with rockets easily able to reach Israel's civilian heartland around Tel Aviv. The key to changing this grim scenario is strong pressure on Iran and Syria to stop resupplying Hizballah with arms, which will now be illegal under Resolution 1701. If Hizballah does not agree to disarm and become a normal political party in Lebanon, no one can expect Israel to stand by and allow Hizballah to rebuild. The writer is executive director of the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council. (The Age-Australia)
  • Will the Security Council Decision Be Enforced? - Nahum Barnea
    On paper, the Security Council decision promises both the disarming of Hizballah and its removal from the north, in addition to the release of the two kidnapped soldiers, a strong, multi-national force to deploy in Lebanon, authorized to enforce its will, and it suggests international authority over entry to Lebanon. Yet one would have to be an eternal optimist to believe the agreement will be enforced as written. (Ynet News)

    In the Wake of the Lebanon War

  • The War's Surprises - Ze'ev Schiff
    In its second Lebanon war, Israel was surprised by Hizballah's anti-tank weapons and the way they used them. We knew Hizballah had advanced anti-tank rockets; however, we failed to understand the significance of the mass deployment of these weapons. The result: nearly all the armored corps' casualties and many from the infantry were caused by anti-tank weapons. More infantry soldiers were killed by anti-tank weapons than in hand-to-hand combat. Many of the infantry soldiers had entered houses in the villages, and the rockets penetrated the walls, killing them.
        Hizballah used seven different types of rockets in the war - four of them the most advanced available and all produced by Russia and sold to Syria. Four Israeli tanks hit large landmines. Three of the tanks, which lacked underbelly protective armor, lost all 12 crew members. The fourth had underbelly protective armor; of its six crew members, only one died. Anti-tank missiles hit 46 tanks and 14 other armored vehicles, with 20 soldiers killed, 15 of them tank crew members. In Wadi Salouki, Hizballah carried out a successful anti-tank ambush, hitting 11 tanks. Missiles penetrated the armor of three tanks, killing seven crewmen. (Ha'aretz)
  • What Israel Didn't Hit in Lebanon - Kim Murphy
    Israel largely avoided major power plants, water treatment facilities, telephone systems, central government buildings, and most factories in Lebanon. The bombing focused on Shiite areas of southern Lebanon and the Beirut suburbs. Most of the damage in Beirut was limited to a single square mile of the southern suburbs: the neighborhoods of Bir Abed and Hrat Hreik. An almost daily barrage of missiles and bombs has systematically removed Hizballah's headquarters. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Iran's Oil Money Will Bail Out Nasrallah - Thomas L. Friedman
    Iran will dip into its oil income and ship cash to Nasrallah, so that he will not have to face the wrath of Lebanese for starting a war that reaped nothing but destruction. Iran is OPEC's second-largest producer, selling the world about 2.4 million barrels of oil a day and earning the regime some $4 billion a month - the government's main source of income. To buy public support, Iran's regime subsidizes housing, gasoline, interest rates, flour, and rice. Repressive governments like Iran's and Syria's use oil money to buy off their people and insulate themselves from the pressure of political and economic reform. (New York Times, 18Aug06)
  • Iran's Militia Mayhem - David Makovsky
    Iran has honed a strategy that, if seen to succeed, could replicate itself all across the Arab world. Today in the Mideast, there are three places where militias operate freely within states: Iraq, Gaza, and Lebanon. In all three cases, the militias receive political, economic, and military backing from Iran. Iran gives at least $100 million annually, plus an estimated 11,000 missiles, to Hizballah. It provides Iraq's Mahdi militia and others with Iranian explosives. It even aids Hamas, which is Sunni and does not share Iran's Shiism. If Hizballah emerges from this conflict emboldened, it is a safe bet that Iran will set out to make still more militia mayhem - strengthening homegrown radical Arab groups with the potential to destabilize governments from Egypt to Saudi Arabia. (New York Daily News/Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Lebanon War Strengthens Religious Extremists in Arab World - Nadia Abou el-Magd
    Around the Arab world, Hizballah and its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, have emerged as popular heroes because of the tougher-than-expected resistance it put up in the 34-day war with Israel. "The last thing I expected is to fall in love with a turbaned cleric," wrote Howeida Taha, a secular Egyptian columnist, in Al-Quds al-Arabi this week. "Thanks be to God and to Hizballah," read the banner of the Egyptian weekly Al-Destour on Wednesday. "I want to marry one of Nasrallah's three boys and dedicate myself to resistance," Noha Hussein, a university student in Cairo, wrote on an Islamist website for youth.
        Yet behind the outpouring of support for Hizballah in recent days, some observers are increasingly worried about the rising power of religious extremists. "The crux of the problem in Lebanon is that a political movement became bigger than the state," said Maamoun Fandy, director of the Middle East program at London's International Institute for Strategic Studies. "In many Arab and Muslim states...[the] message is that movements can do what states failed to do." Jordan's former information minister, Saleh Qallab, said Hizballah's new strength could now be turned against the anti-Syrian, pro-democracy movement that gained power in Lebanon last year - "which means that a civil war is imminent in Lebanon, unless a miracle occurs. Do we call this a victory?" (AP/Washington Post)
  • View of Common Fears Drives U.S.-Israel Policy - Farah Stockman
    The recent conflict in Lebanon has showcased what many foreign policy analysts see as a new era in U.S.-Israeli relations: For the first time in Israel's history, key figures in the U.S. government believe that the same forces that threaten Israel - Islamic terrorists and a nuclear-armed Iran - also present the greatest strategic threat to the U.S. In the past, U.S. officials say, much of the U.S.' involvement in Israel's conflicts stemmed from a feeling of moral obligation to ensure that the nation of Jewish refugees survived, as well as a desire to balance the concerns of Arab allies who opposed Israel.
        Now, Israel has evolved into a strategic ally in a war on terror that directly threatens the U.S. "The Bush administration and the president himself tends to look at so much that happens in the Middle East through the prism of terrorism, and in that context, he is very sympathetic to very aggressive actions by Israel to respond," said Arthur Hughes, who served as deputy chief of mission in Tel Aviv in the '80s and director general of peacekeepers in the Sinai Peninsula in 1998-2004. In the recent conflict, the U.S. government rushed previously approved shipments of jet fuel and munitions to Israel. (Boston Globe)
  • War of a Thousand Cuts Threatens Israel - Youssef Ibrahim
    "Once the cow falters, knives and butchers multiply," an Arab proverb says. Since the start of the war, a new paradigm has emerged that says to every jihadist out there: Israel can be vanquished; its aura of invincibility is just a mirage, and it is high time for the "big push." This genie has to be forced back into the bottle. (New York Sun)
  • Observations:

    A Moment to Be Seized in Lebanon - Charles Krauthammer (Washington Post)

    • The preamble of newly-minted UN Resolution 1701, mandating the return of south Lebanon to Lebanese government control, lists seven Security Council resolutions going back 28 years that have demanded the same thing.
    • There is no doubt that had Israel been permitted to proceed with the expanded offensive it began two days before the cease-fire, Israel would eventually have destroyed Hizballah in the south, albeit at great cost to itself, Lebanon, and Israel's patron, the U.S. - which is why the war was called off. Having obviated that possibility with the cease-fire, the U.S. is left with certain responsibilities.
    • Hizballah has declared that it will not disarm. Everything remains in place awaiting the order to restart the war when the time is right. That arrangement, essentially a return to the status quo ante, is precisely what the U.S. had said it would not permit. With the psychological success of the war with Israel, Hizballah may soon become the dominant force in all of Lebanon. In the south, the Lebanese army will be taking orders from Hizballah.
    • That is why ensuring that Hizballah is cut down to size by a robust international force with very strict enforcement of its disarmament is so critical. For all its boasts, Hizballah has suffered grievously militarily, with enormous losses of fighters, materiel, and infrastructure. Now is its moment of maximum weakness. That moment will not last long. Resupply and rebuilding have already begun.
    • If we are not working frantically behind the scenes to make sure that the UN gets real troops in quickly, armed with the right equipment and the right mandate, the moment will be lost. And with it Lebanon.


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