Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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August 3, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Report: Iran Frees Bin Laden's Son to Help Hizballah in Lebanon (Reuters)
    The German newspaper Die Welt reported Wednesday that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard released Saad bin Laden on July 28 with the aim of sending him to the Syria-Lebanon border.
    "He has the task of building Islamist terror cells and preparing them to fight together with Hizballah," the report said, quoting intelligence information.
    "Apparently Tehran is counting on recruiting Lebanese refugees in Syria for the fight against Israel, using bin Laden's help," the report added.

Kidnapped Soldiers May Have Received Treatment in Baalbek - Anshel Pfeffer and Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
    The hospital in Baalbek, target of Tuesday's IDF raid on the Hizballah stronghold deep inside Lebanon, is believed to have been the place where kidnapped soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were treated after they were abducted by Hizballah last month, before being moved elsewhere.
    Col. Nitzan Alon, commander of the force on the ground, said Wednesday that the elite IDF units discovered large weapons caches as well as much equipment, including computers that were brought back to Israel.

Palestinian Militias in Lebanon Transfer Weapons to Hizballah - Aaron Klein (Ynet News)
    Palestinian militias operating out of Lebanon have passed large quantities of heavy weaponry, including rockets, to Hizballah for use against Israel, a senior Lebanese political source said.
    Lebanese officials said some of the weapons belonged to Hizballah but were stored in Palestinian bases.

Federal Agents Focus on Hizballah Presence in Detroit - Niraj Warikoo (Detroit Free Press)
    Federal agents said this week they're keeping close tabs on Hizballah's presence in metro Detroit, where support for the militant group runs high among some Muslims and Arab Americans and there are concerns terrorist cells could be activated.
    Eric Straus, chief of the counterterrorism unit in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Detroit, said Wednesday that FBI agents and other law enforcement authorities are monitoring Hizballah activity in southeastern Michigan.

Enemy Eyes - Robert H. Scales (Washington Times)
    The perception of success against the Israeli military will have a lasting effect on the ability of the United States to fight the long war against terrorism using our high tech military.
    The battle for control of southern Lebanon has become the key laboratory for radical Islamic groups to sample and apply Iraq.
    Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Robert H. Scales is a former commander of the Army War College.

The Green War: Saving the Galilee's Forests - Zafrir Rinat (Ha'aretz)
    Visitors to the north after the war is over will have trouble recognizing what was once some of the region's most beautiful scenery.
    Tens of thousands of dunams of woodland and large nature reserves like Mount Meron and the Birya Forest have been burned by Katyusha rockets.
    With firefighters busy protecting the region's communities, much was saved by the ten pilots of a crop-dusting company who attacked the fires again and again with fire retardant.

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  • 230 Rockets Strike Northern Israel - Jonathan Finer and Edward Cody
    Hizballah shattered two days of relative calm in northern Israel on Wednesday, spraying the region with more than 230 rockets that set buildings and forests ablaze, and wounded at least 33 civilians, as several thousand Israeli ground troops continued their sweep through southern Lebanon. Israeli officials say between 300 and 400 Hizballah fighters have been killed.
        Lt. Col. Ishai Efroni said his forces found a bunker complex with a one-square-yard opening and a vast cavern 35 feet underground, rigged with a camera mounted at the top and a monitor below to observe advancing forces. "Most of the towns we pass through, there is not even a shot," he said. The Hizballah fighter "wakes up in the morning, drinks his coffee, takes a rocket out of his closet, goes to his neighbor's yard, sticks a clock timer on it, goes back home, and then watches CNN to see where it lands," said Efroni.
        Israel had reduced airstrikes in the south in the wake of a Sunday airstrike on the Lebanese village of Qana. The Lebanese government said that 57 people died there, but a Human Rights Watch report published Wednesday put the death toll at 28. (Washington Post)
        See also Israeli Killed by Hizballah Rocket Was Originally from Boston
    David M. Lelchook, 52, a former Massachusetts resident, was killed by a Hizballah rocket in Kibbutz Sa'ar on Wednesday. Lelchook graduated from Newton South High School in 1972, and studied agriculture at Cornell University. When the attacks began he sent his family to southern Israel but stayed behind to tend to the kibbutz orange grove. (AP/Boston Globe)
        See also 1,453 Victims of Rocket Attacks
    Since July 12, Magen David Adom teams have treated 1,453 people at the scene of 830 Hizballah rocket attacks on Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
  • UN Talks Focus on Terms of Cease-Fire - Colum Lynch and Glenn Kessler
    Lebanon's acting foreign minister, Tarek Mitri, said Wednesday he doubts that his government would agree to invite a European-led intervention force into southern Lebanon, citing fierce opposition from Hizballah and its key foreign backers, Syria and Iran. He also said "no solution" to the current violence in Lebanon can be found without the participation of Syria and Iran in the search for a political settlement.
        Diplomats said France and the U.S. largely agree on a set of principles that would include clearing the area between Israel's border and the Litani River of all armed personnel and weapons other than the Lebanese military and a UN-mandated force. Diplomats said Wednesday that an agreement was unlikely to be reached until next week. The proposal to expand the UN role is opposed by Israel, which has faulted the UN force for failing to restrain Hizballah's attacks against Israel for more than two decades. The head of the UN peacekeeping department, Jean-Marie Guehenno, told the French newspaper Le Monde that in the best case "it will take months" to send a large peacekeeping mission to Lebanon. (Washington Post)
  • Israel Kibbutz a Way Station for War - Matti Friedman
    Sixteen men have been called up so far from Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu near the Jordan border, one of the few communities in Israel still loyal to the socialist ideals of the kibbutz movement's founders. Five of the kibbutz's sons are fighting in Lebanon with the regular army. The kibbutz's high school students, who are on summer vacation, have been told they will have to work in the fields and factories until the men return. Since the beginning of the fighting, Sde Eliyahu has also taken in Israelis fleeing their homes in towns near the Lebanon border, filling every vacant room and giving about 80 people a place to stay and access to all its services. (AP/Washington Post)
        See also Reservists Are Ready for Call-Up - Stephen Farrell
    These are Israel's reservist fighters, a 500,000-strong army of truck drivers, office managers, salesmen, and students who will drop everything to fight for their country. (Times-UK)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • IDF Carving Out South Lebanon Buffer Zone - Ze'ev Schiff, Amos Harel and Aluf Benn
    The Israel Defense Forces is planning a new defensive line in southern Lebanon that will be six to eight kilometers north of the Israeli border, an area comparable to the security zone it held until the pullout from Lebanon in May 2000. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Israeli Soldier Killed in Lebanon - Efrat Weiss
    Sgt. Adi Cohen, 18, of Hadera, was killed Wednesday in a battle in the village of Aita al-Shaab in the western region of southern Lebanon. (Ynet News)
  • Hizballah Fires More Iranian Missiles at Israel Navy Ships - Amos Harel
    Hizballah on Monday fired three Iranian land-to-sea missiles at an Israeli naval vessel off the Lebanese coast. The IDF confirmed that the missiles had been fired but had not landed anywhere near Israeli ships. The missiles were Iranian C-802s, the same kind that hit an Israeli naval vessel a few weeks ago, killing four soldiers. (Ha'aretz)
  • Anti-Tank Missiles a Favorite Hizballah Tactic - Anshel Pfeffer
    The same story repeats itself time and again in the hospital wards where wounded IDF solders are recovering and comparing experiences. "They are small teams, three or four people, hiding in the undergrowth, firing [anti-tank missiles] out of nowhere. They're the biggest danger," said Lt. Ohad Shamir. The missiles were originally designed to be used against tanks, but the IDF's Merkava tanks and upgraded armored fighting vehicles are capable of withstanding most missiles in Hizballah's arsenal.
        Hizballah has been avoiding close-range combat, where IDF soldiers' high level of training gives them the upper hand. Instead, Hizballah fires from positions high above villages where large stores of missiles were prepared in advance. Their range - up to three km - and the force of their explosive charges make them ideal for attacking soldiers and IDF positions from afar. IDF reserve units mobilized this week have all received special training on detecting and avoiding the missiles. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • No International Force Is Going to Disarm Hizballah - Ephraim Halevy
    More than 20 years ago, an international force consisting of 1,800 U.S. Marines, 1,500 French foreign legionnaires, and 1,400 Italian soldiers came to Lebanon to help stabilize the country's leadership. Hizballah decided their presence stood in opposition to Iranian and Lebanese interests, and a suicide bomber drove an explosive-laden truck into the forces' barracks. Overall, the Americans lost 265 soldiers, France lost 89 men, and Italy lost one.
        There is no chance an international force will be deployed with any enforcement power. French President Chirac has already said that the French soldiers who are supposed to form the backbone of the international force would not disarm Hizballah. No international force can protect Israel's security. UNIFIL has served as an umbrella for Hizballah to gain strength in the areas in which the UN force is deployed. The writer is a former head of Israel's Mossad intelligence agency. (Ynet News)
  • Disarming Hizballah Is Key to Lebanon's Peace - John Hughes
    Think if a renegade group had a base in New Jersey and could hit Manhattan with 100 rockets a day nonstop for three months. Or a similar group across the Potomac could do the same to downtown Washington. Hizballah is the provocateur that launched this war. The ideal shape of a solution beyond a cease-fire is in the language of UN Resolution 1559 that requires that Hizballah be disarmed.
        International diplomats seem to be leaning toward some multinational force, but what will be their mission? If it is simply to attempt to keep the peace in a region where there is no peace, then the mission is pointless. If it is to fulfill UN Resolution 1559 requiring the disarming of Hizballah, are they to do it themselves, or in concert with Lebanon's own rather ineffective army? What degree of force will be needed? And what will be the stance of Syria and Iran, Hizballah's mentors? Will they stand idly by on the sidelines? (Christian Science Monitor)
  • The Media Aims Its Missiles - Tom Gross
    Large sections of the international media are not only misreporting the current conflict in Lebanon, they are actively fanning the flames. International television channels have used the same footage of Beirut over and over, showing the destruction of a few individual buildings in a manner which suggests that half the city has been razed.
        The BBC World Service has increasingly come to sound like a virtual propaganda tool for Hizballah. The fact that this is a two-sided war (started, of course, by Hizballah) is all but obscured. As a result, from BBC broadcasts you wouldn't really know that hundreds of thousands of Israelis have been living in bomb shelters for weeks now. You wouldn't have any real understanding of what it is like to have over 2,000 Iranian and Syrian rockets rain down indiscriminately on towns, villages, and farms across one-third of your country, aimed at killing civilians. You wouldn't really appreciate that Hizballah, far from being some rag-tag militia, is in effect a division in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, with relatively advanced weapons. (National Post-Canada)
  • Hizballah's Human Shields - Alan M. Dershowitz
    The Hizballah rocket attacks against Israel are the first battle of what is likely to become a world war of terrorists versus democracies. It must become a war crime to fire rockets from civilian population centers and then hide among civilians. The terrorists, not their victims, must be deemed the war criminals. It should, of course, already be a war crime for terrorists to target civilians from anywhere. (National Post-Canada)
        See also Hizballah's Triumph - Alan M. Dershowitz (FrontPageMagazine)
  • Hizballah's War - Michael Widlanski
    Two days before the deaths of 28 Lebanese in the collapse of a building - used as a Hizballah rocket warehouse - Hizballah's al-Manar television launched an unusually anti-Semitic attack on Israel when a featured commentator claimed that Jews were instructed to kill women and children. "What does their Torah say: it says kill all men, women, and children, and even animals," said the Hizballah commentator, Ghassan Matar, identified as a former member of the Lebanese parliament. "That is what their Israeli Zionist god, their racist god 'Yahweh,' orders them," sneered Matar, adding that Israeli conquest of some villages in southern Lebanon would not bring it victory. (FrontPageMagazine)
  • Observations:

    The Rules of War - Lt.-Gen. (res.) Moshe Yaalon (Washington Post)

    • Judging from how most of the world has responded to Israel's military action against Hizballah, the very rules of war that underpin the entire international order have been completely abandoned.
    • The rules of war boil down to one central principle: the need to distinguish combatants from noncombatants. Those who condemned Israel for what happened at Qana, rather than placing the blame for this unfortunate tragedy squarely on Hizballah and its state sponsors, have rewarded those for whom this moral principle is meaningless and have condemned a state in which this principle has always guided military and political decision-making.
    • Faced with enemies who openly call for its destruction and victimized by unremitting wars and terrorism since well before it was born, Israel has risked the lives of its citizens and its soldiers to abide by this principle in a way that is unprecedented in the history of nations.
    • It is clear to any objective observer that Hizballah is using Lebanese civilians as human shields. It builds its headquarters in densely populated areas, embeds its fighters in towns and villages, and deliberately places missiles in private homes, even constructing additions to existing structures specifically to house missile launchers.
    • The difference between us and the terrorists is clear: We endanger ourselves to protect their civilians. They endanger their own civilians to protect themselves. If tragedies such as Qana are not to be repeated, rather than condemning Israel, the world should be directing its anger at Hizballah and at the Syrian and Iranian regimes that support it.
    • If we want to live in a world where civilians are never used as human shields, then we must create a world in which employing such measures results in the unequivocal condemnation of terrorists and in forceful action against them by the civilized world.
    • Instead, those who condemn Israel have sent precisely the opposite message. They have told every terrorist group around the world that the use of human shields will pay huge dividends, thereby providing them with a powerful weapon that endangers innocents everywhere.

      The writer was chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces from 2002 to 2005. He is now a distinguished military fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

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