Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
To contact the Presidents Conference:
Experts: Reuters Jeep Not Hit by Missile - Yaakov Lappin (Ynet News)
Israeli Children Head Back to War-Battered Schools - Allyn Fisher-Ilan (Reuters/Washington Post)
Palestinians Aim to Learn from Hizballah - Joshua Mitnick (Washington Times)
Hizballah Advertises "Divine Victory" - David Enders (Washington Times)
Groups Promoting Jewish-Arab Unity Set Back by War - Orly Halpern (Globe and Mail-Canada)
What American Airport Security Can Learn from the Israelis' Behavioral Profiling System - Jonathan V. Last (Weekly Standard)
Israeli Media Attitudes toward the Holocaust - Interview with Yair Sheleg (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
U.S. Open: To Israeli Tennis Player, Winning Is Service to Her Country - Liz Robbins (New York Times)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
The International Atomic Energy Agency reported Thursday that inspectors had discovered new traces of highly enriched uranium at an Iranian facility. Thursday was the deadline set by the Security Council for Iran to freeze its enrichment-related activities. Iran's failure to comply means that it is vulnerable to further punitive action, perhaps economic and political penalties, either by the entire Council or a smaller group of countries led by the U.S. (New York Times)
See also Iran Defies Deadline on Nuclear Program - Dafna Linzer (Washington Post)
President Bush said Thursday: "This summer's crisis in Lebanon has made it clearer than ever that the world now faces a grave threat from the radical regime in Iran. The Iranian regime arms, funds, and advises Hizballah, which has killed more Americans than any terrorist network except al-Qaeda. The Iranian regime interferes in Iraq by sponsoring terrorists and insurgents, empowering unlawful militias, and supplying components for improvised explosive devices. The Iranian regime denies basic human rights to millions of its people. And the Iranian regime is pursuing nuclear weapons in open defiance of its international obligations."
"We know the death and suffering that Iran's sponsorship of terrorists has brought, and we can imagine how much worse it would be if Iran were allowed to acquire nuclear weapons....So far, the Iranian regime has responded with further defiance and delay....There must be consequences for Iran's defiance, and we must not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon." (White House)
Heeding the UN cease-fire resolution, the Lebanese army has deployed between the Litani River and the Israeli border. But to all appearances, the deployment has not displaced Hizballah, that Israel and the U.S. say must be destroyed as an armed force if peace is to return. During a drive through the border region, Hizballah flags often flew alongside Lebanese flags. Hizballah members staffed reconstruction offices, held town council meetings, and stood at their own checkpoints in what seemed to be cordial coexistence with the recently arrived army troops. No weapons were visible except those carried by the soldiers. (Washington Post)
Hizballah has recruited over 2,000 innocent children aged 10-15 to form armed militias. Before the recent war with Israel, these children appeared only in the annual Jerusalem Day celebrations, and were referred to as the "December 14 Units," but today they are called "martyrs." These are children barely ten years old, who wear camouflage uniforms, cover their faces with black camouflage paint, and swear to wage jihad.
The children are selected by Hizballah recruitment officers based on one criterion: They must be willing to become martyrs. The first lesson that the children are taught by Hizballah is "The Disappearance of Israel," and it is always an important part of the training program. Na'im Qasim, deputy to Hizballah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, told Radio Canada: "A nation with child-martyrs will be victorious." (MEMRI/Roz Al-Yusuf-Egypt)
Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja said on Friday Hamas would need to change before the EU could talk to the Palestinian militant movement in an effort to revive the Middle East peace process. "We have to be prepared to talk to anyone...but not before they (Hamas) recognize preconditions." Among those were recognizing Israel and giving up violence, said Tuomioja, whose government currently holds the rotating EU presidency. "We have to put pressure on Hamas to change," he added. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
More than 60,000 people thronged to Rabin Square in Tel Aviv on Thursday night to call for the release of abducted IDF soldiers Gilad Shalit, Udi Goldwasser, and Eldad Regev. (Ha'aretz)
IDF forces operating in Nablus early Thursday killed Fadi Kafisha, 29, commander of Fatah's Al Aksa Martyrs' Brigades in the city and a "terrorist mastermind" who was financed and directed by Hizballah. "He was the chief fugitive in Nablus, an explosives expert, and responsible for many attacks, " said Col. Amir Braum, commander of the Shomron Brigade. IDF officials said Kafisha was the West Bank's chief bomb "engineer" who personally assembled dozens of explosive belts in the past year. "Since the end of the war in the north, there has been an escalation in the activities of terror organizations in Nablus," Braum said. (Jerusalem Post)
Police special forces stormed the British Embassy in Tel Aviv on Thursday evening and captured a Palestinian man who had been holed up inside for eight hours, claiming to have a gun and demanding political asylum. Police said the forces seized and disarmed the man after he laid down his pistol for a second to eat food they had given him. After the arrest, the authorities discovered that the weapon was plastic. Nadim Injaz, 28, a resident of Ramallah and former police informant, told Israel Channel 2 television that he would rather die than return to the West Bank, where he feared Palestinian militants would kill him. He said West Bank militants told him that he would only be allowed to return to Ramallah alive if he attacked Israelis. "I don't want to kill children," he said. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
The Arab media published differing assessments regarding the outcome of the war. Many writers declared that Hizballah had won, and that its resistance is a source of pride for the Arab and Muslim nations. Others stated that both Hizballah and Lebanon had received a crushing blow in this war, which had been conducted indirectly by Syria and Iran, and denounced the lack of self-criticism in the Arab world.
Zaghlul al-Najjar wrote in the Egyptian government daily Al-Ahram on Aug. 14: "Imagine what would [happen to Israel] if all the Arab countries around it fired rockets on it simultaneously and decided to put an end to its crimes and its filth. [If this happens], this criminal entity which threatens the entire region with mass destruction will not continue to exist on its stolen land even one more day."
Dr. Shamlan Yusuf al-'Isa wrote in the Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyassa on Aug. 14: "We must recognize that we are backward people in third-world countries, and that Israel can only be defeated through science and knowledge."
Muhammad al-Seif wrote in the Saudi daily Al-Iqtisadiyya on Aug. 14: "The war currently being waged in Lebanon has shown that many of our Arab intellectuals have a serious problem [in defining] the criteria for victory and defeat. Some of them are still convinced that Hizballah, despite its losses, has brought a humiliating defeat upon Israel and has shattered the myth of Israel as an invincible state. The problem repeats itself, in the exact same form, in every war fought by the Arabs. The criterion for victory is: As long as the emblem, or the heroic commander, still lives, [the outcome is pronounced to be] a victory - regardless of the consequences of the war for the peoples' property and loss of lives and capabilities."
Abd al-Mun'im Sa'id, director of the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Research, wrote in the Egyptian government daily Al-Ahram on Aug. 21: "[We too] must form an Arab investigation committee, official or unofficial, that will investigate the crisis and the war, as Israel is doing....Nasrallah said at the beginning of the war that his party will be the spearhead of the Arab and Muslim nation in liberating Palestine. Who appointed him to this role?"
"Many questions arise as to [Hizballah's] military performance, such as why it did not fire its Zilzal, Fajr-3 and Fajr-5 missiles, which it [promised] to fire in retaliation if Beirut was attacked....The most important question of all is why the rockets used by Hizballah were of such limited effectiveness that some 30 rockets had to be fired for every Israeli victim (some being Arabs). This ratio makes the war very expensive, and [we] should consider equipping the rockets with a mechanism to improve their accuracy." (MEMRI)
See also Hizballah's Rocket Campaign Against Northern Israel: A Preliminary Report - Uzi Rubin (with 14 photos and map) (ICA/JCPA)
During the Israel-Hizballah war in Lebanon, Palestinian society expressed three recurring reactions: profound identification with Hizballah, celebration of both the perceived Hizballah victory and the humiliation of Israel, and seeing Hizballah tactics as a role model for the Palestinians. Two-thirds of Palestinians said they wanted "Hizballah alone to handle the negotiations over the [three Israeli] soldiers," even though one was kidnapped by Palestinians and is being held in Gaza. The Palestinians put more trust in Nasrallah to succeed on their behalf than their own leaders.
Palestinians see the war as a turning point in which the "resistance" to Israel proved its ability, from which the Palestinians will now learn. There has been much detailed discussion in the Palestinian media about tactics and strategies that the Palestinians must implement, including analyses of Hizballah's fighting methods. (Palestinian Media Watch)
Hizballah may have won the propaganda war, but on the ground it lost. Badly. Hizballah lost hundreds of its best fighters. A deeply entrenched infrastructure on Israel's border is in ruins. The great hero has had to go so deep into hiding that Nasrallah has been called "the underground mullah." As the dust settles, the Lebanese are furious at Hizballah for provoking a war that brought them nothing but devastation - and then crowing about victory amid the ruins.
The Arabs know where their interests lie. And they do not lie with a Shiite militia that fights for Iran. Hizballah is in no position, either militarily or politically, for another round. Nasrallah's admission that the war was a mistake is an implicit pledge not to repeat it, lest he be completely finished as a Lebanese political figure. (Washington Post)
See also No Victory for Hizballah, Say Lebanese Christians - Patrick Bishop (Telegraph-UK)
Amnesty International has announced that Israel was guilty of a slew of war crimes for "widespread attacks against public civilian infrastructure, including power plants, bridges, main roads, seaports, and Beirut's international airport." But Amnesty is wrong about the law. Israel committed no war crimes by attacking parts of the civilian infrastructure in Lebanon. The strategy of destroying some infrastructure was particularly imperative against Hizballah. Israel first had to ensure that its kidnapped soldiers would not be smuggled out of the country, then it had to prevent Hizballah from being re-armed by Syria and Iran.
As law professor David Bernstein has written: "The idea that a country at war can't attack the enemy's resupply routes has nothing to do with human rights or war crimes, and a lot to do with a pacifist attitude that seeks to make war, regardless of the justification for it or the restraint in prosecuting it, an international 'crime.'" In other words, if attacking the civilian infrastructure is a war crime, then modern warfare is entirely impermissible, and terrorists have a free hand in attacking democracies and hiding from retaliation among civilians. Terrorists become de facto immune from any consequences for their atrocities.
The more troubling aspect of Amnesty's report is their inattention to Hizballah. If Israel is guilty of war crimes for targeting civilian infrastructure, imagine how much greater is Hizballah's moral responsibility for targeting civilians. But Amnesty has not issued a report accusing Hizballah of war crimes. (Jerusalem Post)
One morning this week in my Tehran neighborhood, the local bakery failed to open. The small crowd outside concluded that the Iranian government had sent all the country's flour to Lebanon. That people so readily accepted that their government would forsake their daily loaf for a distant Islamic cause speaks to the overwhelming bitterness these days in Tehran. Most people are convinced the government is spending outrageous sums on the Lebanese. Nightly news broadcasts that Iranians watch on their illegal satellite dishes have shown Hizballah doling out thick stacks of cash, courtesy of Iran, infuriating the majority of Iranians who are barely scraping by. The more Ahmadinejad panders to public sentiment in the Arab world, the more Iranians feel neglected. (TIME)
The two Fox News journalists held hostage in Gaza were released after their captors had made tapes of them dressed as Arabs and announcing they had changed their names and converted to Islam. Two years ago, an heroic Italian captive, Fabrizio Quattrocchi, asked to make whimpering statements as part of the video of his execution in Iraq, ripped at his hood and instead declared, "This is how an Italian dies!" to his contemptible captors. He must have upset them: for they shot him instead of sawing off his head. In making his stand for human dignity, he also turned one of their propaganda videos into one of ours.
Why did Fatah make the video in Gaza? They made it to show the whole Muslim world, via satellite television, what wimps these Westerners are. That they'll do anything at all to save their lives. That is the substance of most Islamo-fascist propaganda: that the West consists of straw men, of men easily pushed over. (Ottawa Citizen/RealClearPolitics)
The Media War Against Israel - Melanie Phillips (melaniephillips.com)
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