Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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July 25, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Israel Targets Hizballah Leaders - Yossi Melman (Ha'aretz)
    Last Wednesday, the Israel Air Force dropped 23 tons of explosives on a Hizballah bunker in Beirut.
    Hidden under an innocent-looking mosque, the bunker had been built by Iranian engineers who specialized in the construction of protected subterranean buildings for their country's nuclear facilities.
    Hizballah is carefully guarding the area around the damaged bunker and preventing strangers from approaching.
    Israel's chief of staff hinted Friday that Israel knows the identities of some of those killed in the bombing, but prefers that Hizballah publicize their names.
    Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah wasn't in the bunker at the time, but it is possible that other members of the organization's leadership were wounded.

Israel Targets Hizballah Banks - Adam Ciralsky and Lisa Myers (NBC News)
    Israeli intelligence sources say Israel has targeted as many as a dozen financial institutions in Lebanon as part of a campaign to destroy Hizballah's financial infrastructure, demolishing some banks and damaging others.
    "The message is for all the Lebanese banks," says Brig.-Gen. Dani Arditi, advisor to the Israeli Prime Minister for Counterterrorism. "Assistance to Hizballah is direct assistance to terrorist organizations."

U.S. Public Supports Israel, Wary of U.S. Involvement - Linda Feldmann (Christian Science Monitor)
    A CNN poll taken July 19 found that 65% of Americans do not want the U.S. to play an "active role" in trying to resolve the conflict between Israel and Hizballah, versus 27% who do.
    45% favored U.S. military participation in an international peacekeeping force; 42% opposed the idea.
    In another poll conducted last week for the Israel Project, U.S. public support for Israel had risen to 60%, up from 45% last January, before the election of Hamas. Support for the Palestinians remained at 7% in both polls.

Syria Denies Helping U.S. Track Al-Qaeda in Lebanon (AFP/Khaleej Times-Dubai)
    Syria's ambassador to the U.S., Imad Moustapha, denied on Monday a report that Damascus was ready to help Washington track down al-Qaeda cells in Lebanon.

Muslim Cleric in Melbourne Sought to "Kill 1,000" - Natasha Robinson (The Australian)
    Islamic cleric Abdul Nacer Benbrika allegedly wanted to kill 1,000 Australians to "please Allah" and to force the government to withdraw troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.
    "If we kill, we kill here 1,000," Benbrika allegedly said in a conversation taped by police.
    Thirteen men are being tried in Melbourne Magistrates Court, accused of being members of a terrorist organization which Benbrika directed.

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  • Rice, in Israel, Seeks Enduring Peace, Not Temporary Solutions
    U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said after arriving in Israel on Monday: "If we have learned anything, it is that any peace is going to have to be based on enduring principles and not on temporary solutions. We will talk about how to get to an enduring cessation of violence." (State Department)
        See also U.S. Keen on Giving Israel Time in Lebanon - Herb Keinon
    This time the script is different. Secretary of State Rice is not expected to dictate a cease-fire to Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
  • UN Humanitarian Chief Accuses Hizballah of Causing the Deaths of Hundreds in Lebanon
    UN humanitarian chief Jan Egeland accused Hizballah on Monday of causing the deaths of hundreds of Lebanese civilians during the past two weeks of cross-border violence with Israel. "Hizballah must stop this cowardly blending... among women and children," he said. "I heard they were proud because they lost very few fighters and that it was the civilians bearing the brunt of this. I don't think anyone should be proud of having many more children and women dead than armed men."
        Israel's death toll stands at 36, with 17 people killed by Hizballah rockets and 19 soldiers killed in the fighting. (AP/Fox News)
  • No Troop Commitments for Proposed International Force in Lebanon - Elaine Sciolino
    Where will the troops come from for the proposed international military force in Lebanon? The U.S. has ruled out its soldiers' participating, NATO says it is overstretched, Britain feels its troops are overcommitted, and Germany says it is willing to participate only if Hizballah agrees, a highly unlikely development. (New York Times)
        See also Lebanese Leader Rejects Deploying NATO - Mark MacKinnon
    The deployment of a NATO-led force in Lebanon would be rejected by the majority of Lebanese as a form of occupation, and any foreign army would likely be targeted by Hizballah, Bahia Hariri, sister of Rafik Hariri, the popular former prime minister who was assassinated last year, said Monday. (Globe and Mail-Canada)
        See also below Observations: An International Force: Advantages and Disadvantages - Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon and Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror
  • At Border, Quick Raids Are Norm for Israel - Joel Greenberg
    Israeli troops have been conducting armored forays and raids by elite units to destroy Hizballah's bunkers, positions, and rocket depots and launchers. "They're hiding in bunkers, and they come out, fire a Katyusha rocket and go back in," said Dudi Mizrahi, 21, a tank driver. Lt.-Col. Yishai Efroni said that because ground forces were not using their full firepower in an effort to spare civilians in the villages where Hizballah was dug in, "the mission will take time." Efroni said the raids had uncovered rockets stored in basements, a rocket launcher in a vehicle parked near a mosque, and a truck carrying a battery of 12 rocket launchers. (Chicago Tribune)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Two IDF Soldiers Killed, Thirteen Hurt in Southern Lebanon - Amos Harel
    Two Israel Defense Forces soldiers were killed and thirteen were wounded Monday in the Hizballah stronghold of Bint Jbail in southern Lebanon. The IDF believes Hizballah lost close to 40 gunmen in the battle. (Ha'aretz/Jerusalem Post)
        See also Two IDF Pilots Killed in Apache Helicopter Crash - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
  • 81 Rockets Hit North on Monday, 50 Hurt - Ahiya Raved
    81 Hizballah rockets hit northern Israel Monday. At least 50 people were hurt. Police reported that 28 rockets landed in the Maalot area, 24 hit Kiryat Shmona, 12 hit Nahariya, 6 landed in Acre, 5 in Carmiel, 4 in Safed, and 2 in Rosh Pina and Hatzor Haglilit. (Ynet News)
        See also One Killed, 48 Wounded Tuesday as Hizballah Rockets Strike North
    At least 16 Hizballah rockets struck Haifa on Tuesday, with one hitting a city bus. Other rockets landed in the Druze village of Kfar Mrar where a teenage girl was killed, Kiryat Shmona, Acre, Nahariya, Safed, and Shfaram.
        In the south, one woman was moderately wounded when Palestinians in Gaza fired a Kassam rocket that hit a house in Amioz in the western Negev. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Air Force Hits Weapons Warehouse in Gaza, Palestinian Rocket Fire Continues
    The Israel Air Force on Monday fired at an Islamic Jihad warehouse in Gaza City containing large amounts of ammunition, resulting in a large explosion. Palestinian terrorists fired seven Kassam rockets at southern Israel on Monday, including two which landed near Ashkelon. Palestinians have launched about 200 rockets from Gaza at Israel in the last month alone. (AP/Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Is Israel's Response Disproportionate? No, It's Survival - Richard Cohen
    Anyone who knows anything about the Middle East knows that proportionality is madness. For Israel, a small country within reach of a missile launched from any enemy's backyard, proportionality is not only inapplicable, it is suicide. The last thing Israel needs is a war of attrition. It is not good enough to take out this or that missile battery. It is necessary to reestablish deterrence: You slap me, I will punch out your lights. The only way to ensure that babies don't die in their cribs and old people in the streets is to make the Lebanese or the Palestinians understand that if they host those missiles, they will pay a very steep price.
        These calls for proportionality rankle. They fall on my ears not as genteel expressions of fairness, some ditsy Marquess of Queensberry idea of war, but as ugly sentiments pregnant with antipathy toward the only democratic state in the Middle East. (Washington Post)
  • This Is a Fight for Our Survival - Isaac Herzog
    Some may wonder how, as a man of Israel's peace camp, I can at the same time be a member of a government now fighting a war in Lebanon. When your very existence is under threat, you have the right to defend yourself, and the responsibility to your people to defend their security. This is not a political issue, it is not an ideological issue; it is a matter of survival. That is why I and the vast majority of the Israeli population support this military response.
        In the past few days, 1,000 rockets and 1,200 mortar rounds have been hurled across the border by Hizballah at hospitals, schools, and homes. A third of our people are in immediate danger of Hizballah missiles and are sheltering for fear of their lives. The whole of the north of our country has in effect been shut down. Israel is fighting back and its use of force is entirely proportionate to the extent of the threat that Hizballah poses. The writer, a member of Israel's Labor party, is Minister of Tourism. (Guardian-UK)
  • God's Army Has Plans to Run the Whole Middle East - Amir Taheri
    Since 1984 Iran has created branches of Hizballah in more than 20 countries. In Lebanon, Hizballah is a state within a state, controlling 25 percent of the national territory, 400,000 inhabitants, and collecting its own taxes. It runs its own schools, where a syllabus produced in Iran is taught at all levels. Hizballah also has a satellite television channel, Al-Manar (the lighthouse), which is watched all over the Arab world, four radio stations, newspapers, and magazines. It operates its own police force, courts, and prisons. The Hizballah's militia is a fighting force of 8,000 men, trained and armed with the latest weapons by Iran and Syria. Once you enter Hizballah land (in south Beirut), the scene changes, you feel you are in Qom, the Iranian holy city. Billboards feature giant portraits of Khomeini and Iranian "supreme guide" Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
        Ahmadinejad believes that his strategy to drive the "infidel" out of the Islamic heartland cannot succeed unless Arabs accept Iran's leadership. The problem is that the Iranian regime is Shi'ite while most Arabs are Sunni. To overcome that, it is necessary to persuade the Arabs that only Iran is sincere in its desire and capacity to wipe Israel off the map. (Sunday Times-UK)
  • Lebanon Is Not Innocent - David Horowitz
    Critics of Israel's defensive war against Islamic terrorists are calling on Israel to cease its fire and leave the Hizballah aggressors intact. Since Israel had no role in starting this war, this is like blaming the Allies for the damage inflicted on Germany in World War II. But the very idea that Lebanon is an innocent bystander in the war against Israel won't wash. Lebanon is host to the terrorist aggressor which has sworn to eliminate Israel and its Jews from the face of the earth. Hizballah is part of the Lebanese government, occupying two cabinet positions and seats in its parliament.
        If the Lebanese government had enforced UN Resolution 1559 which calls on it to disarm all militias on its territory, there would be no war and no Lebanese civilian casualties. Instead the Lebanese government allowed Hizballah to build its headquarters and underground bunkers in the populated neighborhoods of Beirut, and import 13,000 missiles to be fired into Israel's cities and towns. (FrontPageMagazine)
  • Observations:

    An International Force: Advantages and Disadvantages
    - Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon and Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror
    (Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    • Discussions about security arrangements in Lebanon at the end of the war have included the proposal to station an international force in that country. Yet the UN has a very bad name in terms of confronting strong forces in areas where it is stationed.
    • The only logical basis for an international presence is the creation of a force whose primary mission will be assisting the Lebanese Armed Forces in disarming Hizballah (as stated in UN Security Council Resolution 1559). Such a force should be deployed close to Beirut, at the border passages with Syria, and deep in the Lebanese Bekaa Valley.
    • An international force has no role in southern Lebanon along the Israeli-Lebanese border. Israel itself is deployed along its northern border to defend itself and prevent the strengthening of Hizballah, should it try to move southward.
    • To complement this deployment, there should be an agreement prohibiting the building of fortifications in southern Lebanon - as in the agreement between Israel and Egypt. In addition, the UN should establish a supervisory force like UNSCOM to deal with locating and clearing out Hizballah's arms caches and preventing the building of new ones.

      Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon was the Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces and is currently a distinguished military fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror heads the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

        See also An International Stabilization Force for Lebanon: Problems and Prospects - Michael Eisenstadt
    The mandate, terms of reference, rules of engagement, composition, and leadership of an international stabilization force for Lebanon should be carefully weighed, for past peacekeeping and peace enforcement experiences and the Lebanese operational environment provide more than ample reason to believe that this will be a high-risk mission that will pose major challenges for the force. Much will also depend on how the current crisis ends, and on the strategy that Hizballah adopts in its aftermath. It is vital that the international community bring maximum pressure to bear on Hizballah to disarm, and warn both Hizballah and its Iranian patrons that attacks on a stabilization force could have grave consequences for both. The writer is a senior fellow and director of security studies at the Washington Institute. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

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