Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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July 18, 2006

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Solidarity Rally with Israel in Washington (Jewish Community Relations Council)
    Wednesday, July 19, Freedom Plaza, Pennsylvania Ave. NW between 13th and 14th Sts.

In-Depth Issues:

Hizballah Rocket Hits Israeli Hospital - Gil Solomon (Maariv-Hebrew)
    A Katyusha rocket fired by Hizballah from Lebanon struck Safed Hospital on Monday night, where casualties from previous rocket attacks are hospitalized.
    Six patients and a pediatrician were hurt by flying glass when windows were shattered by the blast.

Canadian Prime Minister Won't Criticize Israel for Canadian Deaths (Canadian Press)
    Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered his condolences Monday to the families of seven Canadians from Montreal killed in an Israeli bombing raid while visiting their families in Lebanon, but said he was not going to be critical of Israel for defending itself.
    "We are not going to give in to the temptation of some to single out Israel, which was the victim of the initial attack," said Harper.

Arab World Fed Up with Hizballah - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    On Monday, hundreds of Palestinians marched in Ramallah in support of Hizballah, chanting: "Hassan Nasrallah is our hero," and "O beloved Abu Hadi [Nasrallah's nickname], bomb, bomb Tel Aviv."
    With the exception of the Palestinians, the Arab world appears to be united in blaming Iran and Syria for the fighting in Lebanon.
    Now that Hizballah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah and his top aides are in hiding, an anti-Hizballah coalition is emerging not only in Lebanon, but in several other Arab countries as well.
    The response on the Arab street has been so disappointing for Hizballah that its leaders are now openly talking about an Arab "conspiracy" to liquidate the Shi'ite organization.
    The anti-Hizballah coalition, which appears to be growing, is spearheaded by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan.
    See also From Arab Leaders, Sympathy for Civilians but Not Hizballah - Andy Mosher (Washington Post)

The Way We War - Etgar Keret (New York Times)
    Suddenly, the first salvo of missiles returned us to that familiar feeling of a war fought against a ruthless enemy who attacks our borders, a truly vicious enemy.
    Once again we're confident about the rightness of our cause and we return with lightning speed to the bosom of the patriotism we had almost abandoned.
    Once again, we're a small country surrounded by enemies, fighting for our lives.

Useful Reference:

A Measured Response to Hizballah Missiles (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Text of UN Security Council Resolution 1559 (United Nations)
    Resolution 1559 of September 2, 2004, calls for "the disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias" and supports "the extension of the control of the Government of Lebanon over all Lebanese territory."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Hizballah Rejects Cease-Fire, Say It Will Continue Rocket Strikes
    Hizballah sharply rejected talk of a cease-fire Monday. "The international envoys have conveyed Israeli conditions. These conditions are rejected," said Hizballah legislator Hussein Haj Hassan. Earlier, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Monday the fighting in Lebanon would end when Hizballah freed two captured soldiers, rocket attacks on Israel stopped, and the Lebanese army deployed along the border. (Fox News)
  • In Israel's North, Waiting Out Rocket Attacks - Greg Myre
    With Hizballah firing rockets on northern Israel for a sixth straight day on Monday - including one that destroyed part of an apartment building in Haifa - tens of thousands of Israelis remained holed up in bomb shelters. In Nahariya, municipal workers in flak jackets carry food, water, medicine, and even diapers to families running low on supplies in the shelters. Singers from around the country give impromptu concerts. Artists set up craft centers for painting and woodworking. Soldiers are sent to entertain children.
        Since Sunday, at least 20 rockets have hit in or near Haifa, a major port and Israel's third largest city, which is about 20 miles south of the border and had never been hit until last Thursday. (New York Times)
        See also Civilians in Missile Range Hunker Down - Conal Urquhart
    The main reason for the low casualty rate was that Israelis obeyed instructions from the army and hunkered down in their homes and bomb shelters. The other reason for the low casualty numbers was the inaccuracy of the missiles. (Guardian-UK)
  • EU Urges Immediate Halt to Mideast Hostilities - Mark John
    The European Union called on Monday for an immediate halt to hostilities in the Middle East and said it would consider contributing to an international security force for south Lebanon if one came into being. EU foreign ministers agreed on a joint statement which diplomats said put greater onus on Israel to halt its strikes than a declaration by the Group of Eight major powers at their weekend summit in Russia. (Reuters)
  • Thousands Rally at UN to Support Israel - Karen Matthews
    Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, Jewish leaders, and elected officials including Sens. Hillary Clinton and Frank Lautenberg rallied thousands of Israel supporters Monday near the UN. The rally was one of several being held this week. Organizers estimated the crowd at 10,000. Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor, said Israel is threatened "by two totalitarian movements, Hamas and Hizballah, whose unique goal is to destroy the Jewish state. Israel defends herself."  (AP/Yahoo)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Hizballah Rockets Strike Across Northern Israel - Yuval Azoulay, Amos Harel, and Yoav Stern
    Hizballah fired rockets at Israel on Monday that landed in Haifa, Acre, Nahariya, Afula, Safed, Rosh Pina, Kiryat Shmona, Tiberias, Hatzor Haglilit, Upper Nazareth, Migdal Haemek, the southern Golan Heights, and the Israeli Arab towns of Sakhnin, Peki'in, Julis, Abu Snan, and Kafr Yassif. Eleven people were wounded in Haifa and four in Safed. The Israel Air Force destroyed at least ten long-range Iranian-made missiles capable of hitting Tel Aviv, Brig.-Gen. Ram Shmueli said. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Demands Disarmament of Hizballah - Aluf Benn and Jack Khoury
    According to political sources in Jerusalem, when the current conflict in the north ends, Israel will demand disarmament arrangements in Lebanon that will prevent Hizballah from renewing its military capabilities. Israel's principal concern is that after the fighting, Hizballah will take advantage of the cease-fire to restore its military capabilities and renew its threat to the Israeli home front. The working assumption in Jerusalem is that the Lebanese army is strong enough to enforce security arrangements, whereas a UN force would be of little value. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Half of Lebanese Army Is Pro-Hizballah - David Horovitz
    The IDF knows that even if the Lebanese army ultimately deploys in the south, up to 50 percent of those troops are pro-Hizballah in orientation - so, to some extent, Lebanon would be formalizing Hizballah's presence on Israel's doorstep again. Were pro-Hizballah forces in that army to open fire on Israel, however, Israel would hold the sovereign government in Beirut directly responsible. (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Makes Buffer Zone Along Northern Border - Gideon Alon
    A senior Israel Defense Forces officer told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday that IDF troops had leveled land inside Lebanese territory up to one kilometer from Israel's northern frontier to prevent the reestablishment of Hizballah posts along the border. Defense Minister Peretz said Israel intends to create an unmanned buffer zone in south Lebanon.
        A Military Intelligence official also told the committee that the Palestinians had smuggled suicide bombers through the Philadelphi Route on the Gaza-Egypt border into Sinai in order to send them back into Israel to carry out attacks. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinian Rocket Fire Continues from Gaza - Hanan Greenberg
    Four Kassam rockets fired from Gaza landed in Nativ Haasara, Sderot, and Ashkelon early Tuesday. (Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Response and Responsibility - Editorial
    Make no mistake about it: Responsibility for the escalating carnage in Lebanon and northern Israel lies with one side, and one side only. And that is Hizballah, the Islamist militant party, along with its Syrian and Iranian backers. Ever since Israel unilaterally withdrew troops from southern Lebanon in 2000 and from Gaza last year, radical Islamists have stepped up their war on the Israeli state. Both Hamas and Hizballah, which have a pact to collaborate in attacking Israel, are backed by the Iranian government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who himself has called for Israel to be "wiped off the map."
        This latest conflagration in the Middle East presents a challenge for nations such as Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, which have long paid lip service to the desirability of moderation in the region. These nations, and the international community, should be prepared to place blame for this crisis where it belongs: on Hizballah, Hamas, and their state sponsors. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Bipartisan Backing for Israel - Editorial
    One encouraging thing about the American reaction to the crisis in the Middle East has been the extraordinary bipartisan nature of the support for Israel. One subject on which there is, thankfully, a broad and deep American consensus is that Israel has a right to defend itself. We attribute this to the wisdom of the American people and to their understanding of both the Islamic extremist enemy and the values that we share with our small, embattled ally in the Middle East. (New York Sun)
  • Hizballah's Little Helpers - Editorial
    As Israel fights to break the back of one of the world's most dangerous terrorist organizations, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has come up with a very bad idea. He wants to throw a lifeline to Hizballah, dispatching UN peacekeepers to Lebanon. Mr. Annan must explain how his peacekeepers would differ from the current UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which has failed miserably ever since it was dispatched in 1978. UNIFIL has been unable to stop Hizballah attacks but remarkably successful in getting in the way of Israelis defending themselves. "Hizballah would launch military attacks 50 meters from a UNIFIL outpost, Israel would shoot back, and UNIFIL would protest against the Israeli response," explained Dore Gold, a former Israeli ambassador to the UN.
        For now, the Israeli military is doing more to enhance the long-term prospects for peace in Lebanon than the UN has ever done. Kofi Annan can perform a great service by staying out of the way. (Washington Times)
        See also UN Delegation Meets Israeli Leaders in Jerusalem (Jerusalem Post)
  • A Heavily Armed Militia Attacks Your Territory. What Are You Meant to Do? - David Aaronovitch
    Why did the G8 countries take such a unanimously hard line against Hizballah when framing their joint reaction to the violence? Because what Hizballah has done - what Hizballah is doing - is intolerable to sovereign governments. An autonomous heavily armed militia, working from the territory of a state, has - without agreement from its own government (of which it is a part) - launched its own attacks on the territory of a neighbor. There is a whole cottage industry devoted to the reweaving of Hizballah as a kind of unique mixture of cool guerrillismo and charity organization, and its leader Hassan Nasrallah as the turbaned love-child of Gerry Adams and Bob Geldof.
        The closeness between the Iranian government and Hizballah can be judged by who supplies Hizballah's munitions. But why Iran judges that a party with 14 MPs in the Lebanese national parliament might require medium-range high-explosive missiles is a matter for some serious thought. Do we think that Israel's response is "proportionate"? By the way, if it isn't, then the Falklands campaign, in which deaths actually exceeded the population of the contested area, can only be described as grossly disproportionate. (Times-UK)
  • Hizballah's Mistakes - Moshe Elad
    Nasrallah believed Israel was afraid to engage him in light of the ongoing threat of long-range missiles at Israeli cities. He was wrong. Nasrallah believed that if Israel does attack, it will do so with ground forces - and that's what he prepared for. Nasrallah miscalculated the Israeli public's staying power. Judging by a previous prisoner swap in which Israel released hundreds of prisoners in response for a kidnapped civilian and the bodies of three dead soldiers, Nasrallah figured Israelis would pester their government for a hostage-swap. He doesn't understand that he is the last person Israel is going to make a deal with. It's been many years since the Israeli public supported a war so broadly against an enemy who "deserves it." Brig.-Gen. (res.) Moshe Elad is a researcher at the Shmuel Neeman Institute at the Technion. (Ynet News)
  • Eradication First Before Diplomacy - Michael Rubin
    Diplomacy that preserves a status quo in which terrorists win concessions through violence ensures future bloodshed. Hizballah is not a movement whose existence diplomats should intercede to preserve. There will be a role for diplomacy in the Middle East, but it will only be successful if it commences both after the eradication of Hizballah and Hamas, and after their paymasters pay a terrible cost for their support. (National Review)
  • Observations:

    Prime Minister Olmert: "This Is a National Moment of Truth" (Prime Minister's Office)

    Prime Minister Ehud Olmert addressed the Knesset on Monday:

    • Over the past few weeks, our enemies have challenged the sovereignty of the State of Israel and the safety of its residents - first in the southern sector, then on the northern border, and deeper into the home front.
    • Israel did not seek these confrontations. On the contrary. We have done a lot to prevent them. We returned to the borders of the State of Israel, recognized by the entire international community. There were those who misconstrued our desire for peace as a sign of frailty. Our enemies misinterpreted our willingness to exercise restraint as a sign of weakness. They were wrong.
    • The campaign we are engaged in these days is against the terror organizations operating from Lebanon and Gaza. These organizations are nothing but "subcontractors" operating under the inspiration, permission, instigation, and financing of the terror-sponsoring and peace-rejecting regimes in Tehran and Damascus.
    • On the Palestinian front, we will conduct a tireless battle until terror ceases, Gilad Shalit is returned home safely, and the shooting of Kassam missiles stops.
    • In Lebanon, we will insist on compliance with the terms stipulated by the international community:
      • The return of the hostages, Ehud (Udi) Goldwasser and Eldad Regev;
      • A complete cease fire;
      • Deployment of the Lebanese army in all of southern Lebanon;
      • Expulsion of Hizballah from the area, and fulfillment of UN Resolution 1559.
    • We are at a national moment of truth. Israel will not be held hostage - not by terror gangs or by a terrorist authority or by any sovereign state.

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