Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
If your email program has difficulty viewing this page, see


July 19, 2006

To contact the Presidents Conference:
click here

In-Depth Issues:

Hizballah at Half Its Strength - David Horovitz (Jerusalem Post)
    Hizballah is operating at between 50 and 60 percent of its military capability, and the IDF believes it needs at least another week or two to reach the declared goal of dramatically weakening it.
    Unfolding diplomatic efforts are regarded by the IDF as being complementary to its military action, rather than threatening to curtail it at this stage.

The Arming of Hizballah - Mark Mazzetti and Thom Shanker (New York Times)
    Both the U.S. and Israel are just now learning the extent to which Hizballah has succeeded in getting weapons from Iran and Syria, and some officials in Washington admitted to being blindsided by the abilities of Hizballah's arsenal.
    "We've seen a new capability in striking the [Israeli] naval vessel and in the number of casualties that have been sustained from the Hizballah missile attacks," a Bush administration official said.
    "In the past, we'd see three, four, maybe eight launches at any given time if Hizballah was feeling feisty....Now we see them arriving in large clusters, and with a range and even a certain accuracy we have not seen in the past."
    See also Missile War Is a New Challenge to Israel - Scott Wilson (Washington Post)
    Israel and the radical Islamic groups Hamas and Hizballah are waging war for the first time largely in the skies, exchanging rocket fire, artillery rounds, and airstrikes.
    The launch sites of both militias are hard to detect, and the short-range rockets reach targets in seconds, making interception nearly impossible.
    See also Israeli Jets Target Hizballah's Missiles, Logistics, and Symbols - Laura King (Los Angeles Times)

Video: NBC Film Crew Witnesses Hizballah Rocket Launches (MSNBC)
    NBC's Brian Williams was flying over the northernmost part of Israel when he witnessed Hizballah rockets being fired from the ground.
    And NBC's Martin Fletcher found himself in the middle of a tragedy Tuesday in Nahariya and witnessed the death of one man who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Human Rights Watch: Hizballah Rocket Attacks on Haifa Designed to Kill Civilians (Human Rights Watch)
    Hizballah's attacks in Israel were at best indiscriminate attacks in civilian areas, at worst the deliberate targeting of civilians. Either way, they were serious violations of international humanitarian law and probable war crimes, Human Rights Watch said Tuesday.
    Some of the rockets launched against Haifa contained hundreds of metal ball bearings that are of limited use against military targets but cause great harm to civilians and property.

    See also NGOs Exploit Lebanon Crisis to Attack Israel (NGO Monitor)
    Concurrent with the outbreak of the fighting, major international NGOs, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Christian Aid, and World Vision International issued statements that failed to distinguish between Hizballah's intentional attacks against civilians and Israel's response against strategic Hizballah targets.

Report from the Front Line in the Katyusha War - R. Z. Freedman (Jerusalem Post)
    Inside the security room of our Nahariya home I have given up counting Katyusha hits, although we have heard two more within the last few minutes.

Fatah-Hamas Tensions Continue in Gaza - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Earlier this week, Hamas gunmen killed Zaki Dahlan, a senior officer belonging to the Preventative Security Service in Khan Yunis and a relative of former PA security chief Muhammed Dahlan.
    On Tuesday, Hamas gunmen launched a rocket attack that destroyed the home of Nabil Tamous, another senior Preventative Security Service officer and a close ally of Dahlan, killing one of his guards.

12th Anniversary of Bombing of Jewish Center in Buenos Aires by Hizballah (BBC News)
    Argentines are marking the anniversary of the July 18, 1994, bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires that left 85 people dead and 300 injured.
    An Argentine prosecutor said a member of the Islamic militant group Hizballah was behind the attack and had been identified by Argentine intelligence and the FBI.

Key Links 
Media Contacts 
Back Issues 
Fair Use 
Related Publications:
Israel Campus Beat
Israel HighWay
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Bush Supports Israel's Move Against Hizballah - Robin Wright and Thomas E. Ricks
    President Bush Tuesday endorsed Israel's campaign to cripple or eliminate Hizballah, charged that Syria is trying to reassert control of Lebanon, and called for the isolation of Iran. Bush said the "root cause" of the conflict between Israel and Hizballah "is terrorism and terrorist attacks on a democratic country. And part of those terrorist attacks are inspired by nation states, like Syria and Iran. And in order to be able to deal with this crisis, the world must deal with Hizballah, with Syria, and to continue to work to isolate Iran."
        Bush said again that Israel should be allowed to defend itself. "It is now clear for all to see that there are terrorist elements who want to destroy our democratic friends and allies, and the world must work to prevent them from doing so," Bush said. "The real objective here has to be to deny the Mediterranean branch of Tehran a strategic victory," a senior U.S. official added. (Washington Post)
        See also Blair Blames Syria and Iran for Spreading Terror Across Region - Anton La Guardia
    Tony Blair laid the blame for the crisis in the Middle East at the door of Syria and Iran Tuesday, saying they were responsible for supporting militants ranging from Lebanon's Hizballah to insurgents who have killed British soldiers in Iraq. (Telegraph-UK)
  • U.S. Waiting for More Israeli Airstrikes - Helene Cooper and Steven Erlanger
    The outlines of an American-Israeli consensus began to emerge on Tuesday in which Israel would continue to bombard Lebanon for about another week to degrade the capabilities of the Hizballah militia, officials of the two countries said. Then, Secretary of State Rice would go to the region. American officials signaled that Rice was waiting at least a few more days before wading into the conflict, in part to give Israel more time to weaken Hizballah forces. (New York Times)
        See also Mideast Cease-Fire Not Imminent - Joshua Brilliant (UPI)
  • Congress Gives Israel a Vote of Confidence - Jim VandeHei
    Democratic and Republican congressional leaders are rushing to offer support for Israel's offensive against Hizballah. The Senate Tuesday unanimously passed a bipartisan resolution endorsing Israel's military campaign and condemning Hizballah and its two backers, Iran and Syria. The House is expected to pass a similar resolution Wednesday. (Washington Post)
        See also Thousands Gather in Chicago for Pro-Israel Rally - Tonya Maxwell (Chicago Tribune)
  • Israelis Support Military's Mission - Joshua Mitnick
    Israelis on the front lines of the battle with Lebanon's Hizballah militia are girding for more attacks but say they are willing to endure temporary hardship if the government succeeds in getting Hizballah off their backs once and for all. "If we don't want to pay the small payment now, in the future we'll have to pay a much bigger price," said Geda Young, whose third-floor Haifa apartment was destroyed by a Hizballah Katyusha rocket Monday.
        "It's the first time since the 1948 war that the Israeli home front has been so exposed to attack and by an outside party," said Sami Michael, an Israeli author who lives in Haifa. "The population is showing maturity in dealing with the situation. The country believes that it is in the right." A survey in the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot Tuesday found that 86 percent of Israelis think the operation is justified and 81 percent want it to continue. (Washington Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Hizballah Fired over 100 Rockets at Northern Israel on Tuesday - Yuval Azoulay
    Hizballah launched over 100 Katyusha rockets at towns and cities in northern Israel on Tuesday. Rockets struck Safed, Carmiel, Sde Eliezer, Acre, Kiryat Shmona, Tiberias, the Haifa suburbs of Kiryat Yam, Kiryat Haim, and Kiryat Ata, Hatzor Haglilit, Yesod Hama'ala, the central Golan Heights, Gush Halav, and the Haifa Bay region. (Ha'aretz)
  • Nahariya Man Killed at Entrance to Bomb Shelter
    Nahariya resident Andrei Zelinsky, 37, and his family moved to Israel from Ukraine several years ago. On Tuesday, when the siren sounded to warn of an incoming rocket, he insisted that his family enter the nearest bomb shelter before him. His wife and four-year-old daughter managed to enter the shelter in time, but Zelinsky was still outside when the rocket hit, killing him. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Home Front Command Modifies Instructions - Roni Singer-Heruti
    The Home Front Command has called on residents of the north to remain indoors when they hear the air-raid siren rather than heading for the nearest bomb shelter, after a Nahariya resident was killed in a rocket attack while on his way to a bomb shelter. "From the moment of the warning, there is not enough time to reach the shelter, and we don't want people to be outside when there is concern over rocket hits," said Lt.-Col. Tzachi Shoham. (Ha'aretz)
  • Olmert: No to International Force - Herb Keinon
    Prime Minster Ehud Olmert said Tuesday that the idea of an international force in Lebanon was "a good headline," but that Israel's experience "shows that there is nothing behind it." "Today there is a multinational force in Lebanon, and we are seeing what they do....I think it is premature to talk about it."
        Olmert said he did not rule out negotiations, as long as they are not held with Hizballah and are based on the principles of an unconditional release of the abducted Israeli solders, and UN Security Council Resolution 1559 that calls for a dismantling of Hizballah and an extension of the Lebanese government's sovereignty throughout the country. He added that the start of these negotiations would not end the military operation.
        Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told a visiting UN delegation Tuesday that preventing Syria's resupply of arms to Hizballah, the total disarmament of that group, and a complete overhaul of the UN forces in south Lebanon were among Israel's requirements for a cease-fire. She said it was no longer enough to move Hizballah out of southern Lebanon since, given the range of Hizballah's missiles, "they can now fire from Beirut." (Jerusalem Post)
        See also UN Force in Lebanon Offers Harsh Realities and Lessons - Hassan M. Fattah and Warren Hoge (New York Times)
  • Israel Air Force Destroys Hizballah-Bound Trucks from Syria Carrying Arms - Amos Harel
    Israel Air Force fighter jets destroyed two Hizballah-bound trucks carrying weapons and ammunition after they had crossed the border from Syria on Tuesday. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • From Bad to Worse - Mortimer B. Zuckerman
    Eleven months ago, Israel withdrew from every last inch of the Gaza Strip. Everyone hoped then that the Palestinians would show the world what they could achieve with freedom as a template for a future independent state. Not one day of peace has followed, as Palestinian militants fire rockets from Gaza into Israeli towns, targeting innocent civilians living in the pre-1967 Israel recognized by the international community. Israeli withdrawals and concessions have brought about not Palestinian moderation but just the opposite. The proposed realignment of the West Bank's borders will simply create a new battle line, just as the disengagement in Gaza created new battle lines. A withdrawal from the West Bank would put Hamas within range of Israel's main population centers and infrastructure, raising the fear that a rocket launched from the West Bank could hit the country's most densely populated areas, like Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Ben-Gurion Airport.
        It is more clear than ever that the core of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute stems not from Israel's unwillingness to compromise but from the desire among Palestinians to eliminate Israel. Most fair-minded observers share the Israeli conclusion that there is no Palestinian partner for peace. (U.S. News)
  • Shaken Awake by War - David Grossman
    There is no justification for the large-scale violence that Hizballah has unleashed from Lebanese territory on dozens of peaceful Israeli villages, town and cities. Israel has counterattacked, and it has every right to do so. No country in the world would remain silent and abandon its citizens when its neighbor strikes without any provocation. Israel had no choice but to respond to the severe attack on its territory.
        Hizballah is, openly, an Iranian agent in the Middle East, a bridgehead for its murderous plans against Israel. Iran's aspirations do not include an equitable peace between Israel and Palestine. Its ideology and actions demonstrate that, even if Israel and the Palestinians reach a peace agreement, Hizballah will oppose compromises. (Los Angeles Times)
  • A Conflict That Will Stay Close to Home - Edward Luttwack
    Could the fighting widen across the region? Not likely. Hamas is very isolated, with no local allies other than Syria. The Israeli bombing is arousing some Arab solidarity, but all know that Israel's target is Hizballah, which deliberately started the fighting by crossing into Israel. Much more important, other Arabs view Hizballah as the paid agent of its Shiite brethren, the leaders of non-Arab Iran. (New York Times)
        See also Iran Moves First - Edward Luttwak
    Instead of passively awaiting the inevitable sanctions, Iran's leaders decided to start a Middle East crisis by organizing attacks against Israel. Hizballah has thrown away its political position in Lebanon because it is obvious to all that it is bringing destruction upon the country. Recently, Iranian leaders threatened Israel with bombardment by Hizballah rockets if Israel attacked Iran's nuclear installations. Israel, therefore, is now using the opportunity of the current fighting to search out and destroy the underground and other hidden sites where Hizballah keeps its missiles. The writer is a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. (Jerusalem Post)
  • It's Our War - and the U.S. Should Confront Iran - William Kristol
    This Arab-Israeli war is different from all other Arab-Israeli wars because most of Israel's traditional Arab enemies have checked out of the current conflict. The prime mover behind the terrorist groups who have started this war is a non-Arab state, Iran. What's happening in the Middle East is an Islamist-Israeli war, part of the Islamist war on the West. (Weekly Standard)
  • A Cease-Fire Now Will Benefit Hizballah - Jed Babbin
    A cease-fire would protect both Hizballah and the nations that support it - Syria and Iran - as well as the Lebanese that have accepted the terrorist organization as a legitimate part of their government. A cease-fire would allow Hizballah to rebuild its power base and enable it to resume its attacks whenever Damascus and Tehran desired. For Israel, a UN force would create no security whatever against future attacks. In Lebanon the UN flag and the Hizballah flag fly side-by-side and the UN presence serves as a shield against Israeli strikes against the terrorists. If we pressure the Israelis to call a halt to action prematurely, the lesson will be that there is no penalty for supporting, succoring, and ordering terrorists to do their work. (Wall Street Journal)
  • What Else Can Israel Do? - James Carroll
    Given the rejectionism of both Hamas and Hizballah, is the path of negotiations actually open to Israel? There is no moral equivalence here. Nothing makes this clearer than the Hamas elevation of suicide-bombing to the effective status of religious cult. Now Hamas turns the entire Palestinian population into a suicide-bomber writ large. The apocalyptic energy of this hatred, running from Gaza City to Tehran, draws on currents that run deep in history. The fury of anti-Israel rage among Arabs and Muslims is accounted for only partially by the present conflict. (Boston Globe)
  • Observations:

    A Strategic Assessment of the Hizballah War: Defeating the Iranian-Syrian Axis in Lebanon - Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror and Dan Diker
    (Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    • Israel's current military operations to uproot Hizballah and to destroy it as a formidable military and terror organization is not merely an operation against another determined terror group like Hamas in Gaza. Hizballah has a disciplined, well-trained army with sophisticated weaponry, backed directly by Syria and Iran.
    • A high-level Iranian official recently emphasized to Western diplomats in London Hizballah's importance to Iran: "Hizballah is one of the pillars of our security strategy, and forms Iran's first line of defense against Israel." Walid Jumblatt, the Lebanese Druze leader, shares this perspective: "The war is no longer Lebanon' is an Iranian war. Iran is telling the United States: You want to fight me in the Gulf and destroy my nuclear program? I will hit you at home, in Israel."
    • Iran's Revolutionary Guards provide the majority of Hizballah's weaponry, financing, instruction, and strategic command and control. Hizballah's short- and medium-range missiles are manufactured in Iran and exported to Lebanon via the Damascus International Airport. Iranian officers from the Revolutionary Guards are on the ground in Lebanon, playing active roles in supervising terror actions and training Hizballah operatives to launch rockets against Israel.
    • The only way to defeat an insurgency is to first isolate it from external reinforcement. Israel is seeking to cut off Hizballah from Syria and Iran and isolate it from the rest of Lebanon. Syria appears undeterred from continuing its wartime supplies to the Hizballah insurgency, as it has been undeterred in supplying the Sunni insurgency in Iraq.
    • Israel must carry out its current military operation against Hizballah until it is fully neutralized, isolated, and disarmed. It would be nothing short of catastrophic for both Israel and the international community if diplomatic efforts result in Israel being forced to end its military operation prematurely.

      Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror, Program Director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs, is the former head of the IDF's research and assessment division. Dan Diker is a senior policy analyst at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

    To subscribe to the Daily Alert, send a blank email message to:
    [email protected]
    To unsubscribe, send a blank email message to:
    [email protected]