Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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August 2, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Hizballah Rockets Bombard Northern Israel, One Dead - Ahiya Raved (Ynet News/Reuters)
    Hizballah terrorists fired at least 150 rockets across northern Israel on Wednesday, killing one person near Nahariya and wounding at least 14 others, after a two-day lull.
    Rockets also fell on Acre, Kiryat Shmona, Rosh Pina, Safed, and Tiberias.
    Hizballah has fired more than 1,700 rockets into Israel since July 12, killing at least 19 civilians and wounding hundreds.
    See also Hizballah Rockets Hit Galilee Kindergarten - Hagai Einav (Ynet News)
    Hizballah fired Katyusha rockets and mortars at Israeli communities in the western Galilee Tuesday night. One rocket struck an empty kindergarten.

Long-Range Hizballah Rocket Hits West Bank - Ali Waked (Ynet News)
    Some of the long-range rockets fired at Israel by Hizballah on Wednesday fell near the Palestinian village of Pqua in the Jenin area of the West Bank, the farthest point Hizballah has managed to hit so far.
    A week and a half ago, an improved Fajr-5 rocket landed in Afula.
    A security forces examination revealed that the rockets, believed to be of Syrian origin, were fired 100 km away, from the Lebanese town of Tyre.

400 Hizballah Terrorists Killed by IDF - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
    On Tuesday, Tourism Minister Isaac Herzog said that some 400 Hizballah terrorists had been killed by the IDF in the current fighting.

Hizballah Trains Children for War - Thanassis Cambanis (Boston Globe)
    Hussein, a Hizballah commander, described how its members begin training at age 14:
    "How do you think our children are raised? To fight the Israelis. My son is 13 years old and knows how to fire a mortar."

West Bank Palestinians Call on Hizballah to "Bomb Tel Aviv" - Ali Waked (Ynet News)
    About 1,500 Palestinians, organized by Fatah, demonstrated in Ramallah Tuesday, where they burned Israeli and American flags.
    A Jenin journalist who works in Ramallah said support for Nasrallah and Hizballah was overwhelming and encompassed the whole of Palestinian society.
    He said Palestinians in Jenin were celebrating the news that a Hizballah rocket had hit the nearby Israeli town of Afula.
    See also Palestinian Anti-Rice Feeling Peaks - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Palestinian demonstrators have been directing much of their criticism toward U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
    Placards feature Rice as a raven preying on the corpses of children.
    See also Palestinians in Gaza Find Heroes in Hizballah - Greg Myre (New York Times)
    At Palestinian souvenir shops in Gaza, the best-selling items for the past couple of weeks have been posters, T-shirts, buttons, and coffee mugs featuring Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah.

Israel's Economy Can Weather Conflict - Sharmila Devi (Financial Times-UK)
    Israel's economy is in good shape to weather the cost of its offensive against the Lebanese Hizballah, but the costs of compensation to the rocket-hit north, loss of tourism receipts, and the blow to consumption have led analysts to downgrade this year's growth forecasts.
    Before the conflict erupted three weeks ago, Israel's budget was in surplus.

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  • U.S. Insists Cease-Fire Must Await Plan to Disarm Hizballah - Jim Rutenberg and Thom Shanker
    The U.S. firmly reiterated its position on Tuesday that there can be no cease-fire in Lebanon until there is a solid plan in place to disarm Hizballah. "The United States is working for a cease-fire, for an end to the hostilities that will not allow a return to the status quo ante," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Tuesday. U.S. officials have said anything short of a plan to ensure the disarming of Hizballah before Israel halted fighting would leave the group in a position to lob missiles at Israel, and perhaps solidify the gains it has made in the Arab imagination for standing up to the regional superpower and surviving. (New York Times)
        See also Israel to Resist UN Cease-Fire Push Until Its Goals Are Met - Gal Beckerman
    The UN Security Council is slated to begin debate on a resolution calling for a cease-fire between Israel and Hizballah before the end of this week. Israel does not want a cease-fire until all the elements are in place to secure southern Lebanon and to prevent the rearming of Hizballah. Most of the rest of the world wants an immediate cease-fire to take effect the moment the resolution passes. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Lebanese President Fears an International Force - Zvi Bar'el
    Pro-Syrian, pro-Hizballah Lebanese President Emile Lahoud told Al Jazeera that he opposed the deployment of French troops, to prevent France from influencing Lebanese political developments. Lahoud and Syria view France as hostile for sponsoring UN Security Council Resolution 1559. Hizballah is willing to discuss a multinational force as long as it is under the auspices of the UN or considered an expansion of UNIFIL. Hizballah has built a strong, give-and-take relationship with UNIFIL, it is familiar with its meager equipment, and knows that UNIFIL has no intention of getting involved in its activity in southern Lebanon.
        Nasrallah does not want his political power to be transferred to the Lebanese government under the umbrella of the multinational force. Accordingly, Hizballah is likely to adopt the argument that a multinational force is nothing but an occupation force. This argument also contains a veiled threat by Nasrallah of the consequences to the force if it does not play nice with his organization. (Ha'aretz)
  • Syria Threatens to Attack Multinational Force in Lebanon
    Following international efforts to send a multinational force to Lebanon under the aegis of the UN, the Syrian government press has published several articles threatening to attack the multinational force and Israel. An editorial in the Syrian government daily Al-Ba'ath on July 27 said: "As long as [the international forces] are of this type, it will be necessary for the forces facing Israel in southern Lebanon, the Arab brothers, and those friends in the world who stand alongside the resistance to put up resistance against them and to clash with them, through various means and methods." In an editorial in Teshreen on July 30, Izz al-Din Darwish wrote: "The Lebanese will be forced to treat these international forces as occupation forces in their land."
        Fuad Sharbaji, former director of Syrian national television, wrote in Teshreen on July 30, "We will never agree to any force that tries to take away our weapons of honor, and we will not allow Israel to achieve its goals through international forces or NATO forces or multinational forces. We in Syria...are armed with what is needed in order to hurt the enemy and to spring surprises on him that will complement what the Lebanese resistance has done." (MEMRI)
  • Blair Strongly Backs Israel - Carla Marinucci
    British Prime Minister Tony Blair delivered a strong defense of Israel on Tuesday, warning the World Affairs Council in Los Angeles against the view that "looks at Israel and thinks we pay too great a price for supporting it." Such opinions lack "any understanding of the Israeli predicament," he said. "We must commit ourselves to a complete renaissance of our strategy to defeat those that threaten us," he said. (San Francisco Chronicle)
  • EU: No Intent to Add Hizballah to Terror List
    The European Union does not intend to place Hizballah on its list of terrorist organizations, EU President Finland said on Tuesday. "Given the sensitive situation, I don't think this is something we will be acting on now," said Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja, responding to a letter signed by 213 members of the U.S. Congress asking that the EU add Hizballah to its terrorist list. (Reuters)
  • Iran, France Foreign Ministers Meet in Beirut
    Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, whose country is a main backer of Hizballah, met French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy in the Iranian embassy in Beirut on Monday for talks on resolving the crisis in Lebanon. Douste-Blazy said Iran was a significant, respected player in the Middle East which is playing a stabilizing role, putting him at odds with Washington which accuses Iran and Syria of destabilizing the region. (Reuters)
  • Peres: "Lebanon Cannot Behave Like They Are Responsible for Nothing and the Whole World Owes Them Everything"
    Addressing a large gathering of American Jewish leaders under the auspices of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations on Monday, Israel's Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres defined five elements of victory in the current conflict with Hizballah: 1) to prevent the return of Hizballah to the southern border of Lebanon, which must be secured by the Lebanese army, 2) to return the kidnapped soldiers to Israel, 3) to end the shooting of missiles and rockets into Israel, 4) to prevent the resupply of rockets and missiles to Hizballah by Iran and Syria, and 5) to free Lebanon from the control of Hizballah. (Conference of Presidents)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • IDF Commandos Raid Hizballah Stronghold in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley - Amos Harel and Yoav Stern
    On Wednesday, Israel Defense Forces commandos, landing by helicopter, raided the Hizballah stronghold of Baalbek, over 100 km north of the Israel-Lebanon border in the Bekaa Valley, capturing six terrorists and killing several others before returning safely. (Ha'aretz)
  • Three IDF Soldiers Killed in Lebanon - Ze'ev Schiff, Amos Harel, and Aluf Benn
    Three Israel Defense Forces soldiers were killed by Hizballah terrorists with anti-tank weapons in Ayta a-Shab in southern Lebanon on Tuesday. Twenty-five soldiers were wounded in these and other attacks. At least 10 Hizballah terrorists were killed. (Ha'aretz)
        See also His Dream Was to Serve in the IDF, U.S.-Born Paratrooper Killed in Lebanon - Eli Senyor
    Staff sergeant Michael Levine, 22, immigrated from Mangold, PA, three years ago to enlist in a combat unit in the IDF. Four days ago, he cut short a trip to the U.S. to visit his family in order to return to Israel and to fight in the north. On Tuesday, he was killed in a battle near Ayta a-Shab in southern Lebanon. (Ynet News)
  • Palestinian Rocket Wounds Israeli Near Ashkelon
    One person was wounded by shrapnel when a Kassam rocket fired by Palestinians in Gaza hit an installation near Ashkelon Wednesday. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • This War Must Not End Before the Destruction of Hizballah - Jules Crittenden
    The war in Lebanon must not end short of its logical conclusion. Its logical conclusion is not the successful use of human shields by Hizballah to hamstring the Israel Defense Forces. Its logical conclusion is the destruction of Hizballah as a military and political force that will always remain a threat to peace and stability of the region. Hizballah has gotten a pass from the international community at Qana, as it did when it targeted UN peacekeepers for death by placing Hizballah fighting positions within meters of the doomed UN observation post. Israel has received widespread condemnation for firing on a town that Hizballah cynically used as a base to launch missiles into Israel.
        The threat from Hizballah cannot be allowed to remain, when its mere survival emboldens it and ensures it will be able to rebuild. The twisted perception of Hizballah as David to the Israeli Goliath - a perversion of the reality in which Israel is vastly outnumbered, outgunned, and surrounded - positions Hizballah as a winner in any conclusion short of its utter destruction. The pressures of European leaders and the UN for a quick fix - an accommodation of evil of the sort they historically have preferred to acting with determination against a nascent threat - must not be allowed to stop Israel, with our support, from completing this dirty job. This war, like all just wars against aggression, must not end short of its logical conclusion - the extermination of Hizballah. (Boston Herald)
  • In Its War on Terror, the U.S. Would Never Accept the Limits Being Pushed on Israel - Frank J. Gaffney
    On Sept. 11, 2001, a freedom-loving nation was attacked by a terrorist organization operating from the territory of a sovereign state with the acquiescence, if not the active complicity, of the latter's government. The U.S. retaliated with what can only be called a "disproportionate response." America launched air and ground assaults on Afghanistan, aimed at destroying not only the al-Qaeda safe havens but toppling the Taliban regime. We damaged or destroyed critical Afghan infrastructure so as to deny its use to the enemy. Civilian casualties occurred, as did refugee flows.
        Once the campaign to eliminate al-Qaeda was launched, there was no consideration given to negotiating with the terrorists or the government that afforded them protection. The U.S. would not have contemplated a UN-mandated ceasefire, let alone the insertion of an international peacekeeping force - whose purpose, inevitably, would have been to protect the terrorists from our military. For the U.S., the current phase of this War for the Free World began on Sept. 11, 2001. For others, like Israel it has been going on for decades and represents an unmistakably existential threat. We cannot afford to pretend that there is an appropriate way for the U.S. to fight Islamofascist totalitarians and the terror they wield against us, then insist that our allies must try to appease such groups. (Center for Security Policy/Wall Street Journal)
  • Hizballah Is Our Enemy, Too - Jeff Jacoby
    Hizballah hates Americans at least as implacably as al-Qaeda does. Prior to 9/11, Hizballah was responsible for more American casualties than any other terrorist organization in the world. For more than two decades, Hizballah's Shi'ite fanatics, backed by Iran and sheltered by Syria, have made it their business to murder, maim, hijack, and kidnap Americans with the same irrational hostility they harbor for Israel. (Boston Globe)
        See also Hizballah Has Murdered Hundreds of Americans - Mitchell Bard
    For those who may have forgotten, here is a partial list of Hizballah's acts of war against the U.S. (Washington Times)
  • Observations:

    As Israel Sees It - Editorial (Times-UK)

    • In Israel, polls suggest that 90 percent of the population believe that the response to Hizballah has been right and three-quarters of those surveyed think that the military campaign should be prosecuted more vigorously. The army is having no difficulty in mobilizing its reservists. Hizballah is perceived as representing a threat to the integral territory of Israel.
    • There is, furthermore, a widely held fear that Hizballah will deploy whatever devices it could acquire against Israel and that it might not be long before Tel Aviv comes under fire. That prospect is deemed so dire that most Israelis would prefer to deal with Hizballah today, even at a sizeable cost to the country's image abroad as well as its young men in uniform, than rely on the UN.
    • The Israeli public is pressing to see this mission through until the international community can provide a credible force for southern Lebanon that will actively deter Hizballah from launching missiles.
    • Many outsiders seeing pictures of civilian casualties in Lebanon regard Israel as the aggressor. Israelis of all stripes have rarely felt more like victims.

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