Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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August 8, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Poll: Nearly All Palestinians Back Hizballah (AFP/Yahoo)
    Hizballah had the support of 97% of Palestinians, compared with 3% who said they were opposed to the group, according to a poll conducted by the Ramallah-based Near East Consulting group.
    93% of Palestinians thought that two Israeli soldiers captured in a July 12 cross-border raid that sparked the war in Lebanon should not be released unconditionally even if it means an easing of the conflict.

    See also Some Israeli Arabs Back Hizballah Despite Deaths - Wafa Amr (Reuters)
    "Hizballah has raised up our heads and lifted our spirits," said Israeli Arab Ali Manna as he mourned two nephews killed in a Hizballah rocket attack.
    Despite the fact that Arabs make up a third of the 48 people killed by rocket fire on northern Israel, the sympathies of some of the Arab minority lie very much with the Lebanese group rather than the Jewish state.
    "Hizballah's popularity has increased immensely among the Arabs in Israel," said Rawda Atallah, head of the Arab Cultural Association in Haifa, a mixed Jewish-Arab city that has been one of the main targets of Hizballah attacks.

Israel Campus Beat
- August 7, 2006

Point Counter-Point:
    The Bombing in Qana

3,050 Rockets Have Hit Israel (Jerusalem Post)
    Since the fighting in the north began on July 12, 3,050 rockets have landed in Israel, police said Tuesday.

Reuters Admits More Image Manipulation - Yaakov Lappin (Ynet News)
    Reuters has withdrawn a second photograph and admitted that the image was doctored.
    A photograph of an Israeli F-16 fighter jet over the skies of Lebanon is said to be seen firing "missiles during an air strike on Nabatiyeh."
    In fact, the plane in the picture is actually firing defensive flares aimed at dealing with anti-aircraft missiles.
    In addition, while only one flare was dropped, two other "missiles" were added to the original photograph.
    In response, Reuters has withdrawn from its database all photographs taken by Beirut-based photographer Adnan Hajj.
    See also Media Manipulating the War News? - Jack Kelly (Real Clear Politics)

Forests in Northern Israel Are Damaged as Hezbollah Rocket Attacks Ignite Fires - Dina Kraft (New York Times)
    Hizballah rocket fire is also taking a toll on the environment, igniting hundreds of fires in Israel's few forests in the Galilee region.
    Officials estimated Monday that as much as 9,000 acres of land, including almost 3,000 acres of forest, has been damaged by fire in the past four weeks caused by daily barrages of rockets from Lebanon.
    At least one major forest in northern Israel has lost up to 75% of its trees.
    The firefighting teams include Jews and Arabs.
    See also Fires Caused by Katyushas Set Northern Forests Back 50-60 Years - Isaac Apter (Jerusalem Post)
    See also New York Firemen Come to Reinforce Israeli Firefighters - Max Kitaj (Jerusalem Post)

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  • Lebanon, Arab League Object to Draft UN Resolution on Cease-Fire - Hassan M. Fattah and Steven Erlanger
    Diplomatic efforts stalled at the UN on Monday, after Lebanon and Arab League members objected to a draft resolution on a cease-fire. The American-French proposal calls for a truce, asks the current UN peacekeeping force to monitor the border area, and lays out a plan for a permanent cease-fire and political settlement.
        President Bush called for the resolution's speedy adoption, but made clear that the main sticking point - Lebanon's insistence that the draft be altered to require Israel to withdraw troops immediately - was nonnegotiable. In resisting Lebanon's demand for a speedy pullout, Bush said such a withdrawal could create the "unacceptable" situation of allowing Hizballah to flourish at the border. "We must not create a vacuum into which Hizballah and its sponsors are able to move more weapons," he said. (New York Times)
        See also Bush: "Innocent Civilians in Israel Should Not Have to Live in Bunkers in Fear of Missile Attacks" (White House)
  • Israel Ready to Consider Lebanon's Offer to Deploy Troops Along Border
    Israel is studying Lebanon's offer to deploy Lebanese troops along the Israel-Lebanon border to take control of the Hizballah stronghold in southern Lebanon, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Tuesday. Israel has long demanded the deployment of Lebanese forces in southern Lebanon, along with the disarming of Hizballah. (AP/Houston Chronicle)
  • UN Deal May Not End Fighting - Ewen MacAskill and Rory McCarthy
    The UN Security Council will almost certainly adopt a cease-fire resolution this week, but diplomats and analysts expressed doubts that the resolution could stop the fighting. "It does not look good," one European diplomat said. "There is nobody interested in stopping now. Hizballah has no reason to stop."  (Guardian-UK)
  • Israeli Hospitals Working Under Fire - Delphine Matthieussent and Matti Friedman
    Rambam Hospital in the northern city of Haifa had just moved many patients underground. With northern Israel under Hizballah rocket bombardment for nearly a month, hospitals in the war zone are working around the clock and under fire to protect those in their care. (AP/Washington Post)
  • Hizballah Rockets Bring Death and Destruction to Haifa's Arab Quarter - Rory McCarthy
    As always when the siren went off, Labeeba Mizawi, 68, hurried across the street into the front yard of her neighbor and relative, Hanna Hamam. Then the rocket struck. Thousands of small ball bearings rained down in a shower of burning hot steel. Mizawi and Hamam, both Arab Christians, were killed instantly. (Guardian-UK)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Olmert: "We Have to Stop the Rockets" - Aluf Benn
    Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Monday, "We have to stop the rockets....We cannot have a million residents living in shelters." Three IDF soldiers were killed and four others wounded in fierce fighting with Hizballah militants Monday. On Wednesday the security cabinet will discuss an IDF plan to take control of areas south of the Litani River that are used by Hizballah to fire short-range rockets at Israel. (Ha'aretz)
  • Hizballah Drone Shot Down over Israel - Efrat Weiss
    The IDF intercepted and shot down a Hizballah drone off the coast of northern Israel on Monday. It was detected by IDF forces immediately upon leaving Lebanese territory. (Ynet News)
  • 160 Rockets Hit Northern Israel Monday - Ahiya Raved
    Over 160 rockets landed in northern Israel on Monday, wounding at least six people. (Ynet News)
  • Israel Recalls Venezuelan Envoy after Chavez Compared Israel to Hitler
    Israel has recalled its ambassador to Caracas following comments by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez comparing Israel to Hitler, the Foreign Ministry said Monday. "We are concerned at the attitude of Venezuela," said ministry spokesman Mark Regev. "They have allied themselves with the most extreme elements in the region." (Reuters/Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Fool's Game - Kenneth Bialkin
    Hizballah leaders proclaim that they are winning great victories against Israel much as they claimed that Israel's unilateral withdrawals from Lebanon and from Gaza were great victories for Islam. And the poor, benighted Arab masses believe them and celebrate in the streets. They do not realize that continuing to seek Israel's destruction is a fool's game; when threatened with annihilation, Israel is obliged to defend its borders and to prevent its enemies from ever again launching the kinds of attacks Hizballah and Hamas started.
        A simple cease-fire that would permit Hizballah to rearm and commence future assaults against Israel will send the message that Hizballah has achieved a victory and that terrorism succeeds. It is a message America's enemies would welcome and may be expected to act upon. Any cease-fire must involve the termination of terror and guarantees that Hizballah will be disarmed and will never again be in a position to commence at will assaults against Israel or its civilian population. (New York Sun)
  • Been There, Done That - David Schenker
    Last week, even before the carnage in Qana, a parade of pundits argued that the Bush administration should talk with Syria about reining in Hizballah, perhaps with an eye to breaking the Damascus-Tehran axis. This policy prescription is ill-advised and poorly timed. Moreover, the strategy was tried and failed during President Bush's first administration. Washington engaged Syria in a robust fashion from 2001 through the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri in February 2005, sending no less than five senior-level U.S. delegations to cajole Bashar Assad to change his unhelpful behavior. Discussions during this period focused on Iraq - in particular on Syria's role in destabilizing the newly liberated country - but also touched on Syrian interference in Lebanon, provision of safe haven to Palestinian terrorist groups, and ongoing support for Hizballah.
        Granting Damascus a reprieve from its well-deserved international isolation would undermine what remains of U.S. credibility with Syrian reformers and Lebanese democrats. Reengagement would also practically invite a Syrian return to Lebanon. The writer, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, served from 2002 to 2006 as the Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestinian affairs adviser in the office of the secretary of defense. (Weekly Standard)
  • A Diplomatic Disaster in the Making - Anne Bayefsky
    The UN's verbal assault on Israel is coupled with a three-pronged political agenda. The UN seeks to: (1) protect Hizballah from further Israeli attacks; (2) produce a political win for Hizballah by giving them the territorial prize of the Shebaa farms; and (3) increase UN presence, oversight, and control of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Every element of this agenda is satisfied in the current UN resolution and is part of the declared intention of the second resolution to follow. The resolution calls for a "full cessation of hostilities" and "the immediate cessation by Israel of all offensive military operations." What offensive military operations?
        The resolution reintroduces the notion that Israel occupies Lebanese territory, calling for action on "areas where the border is disputed or uncertain, including in the Shebaa farms area." It completely contradicts the secretary-general's own final determination of January 20, 2005, that the Shebaa farms is not Lebanese.
        An international force is to be authorized under the first-ever Chapter VII resolution - a legally binding resolution that can be implemented through sanctions or the use of force - in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The very UN that accuses Israel of murder and heinous violations of international law is now to be charged with judging compliance with a legally binding instrument purporting to define the terms and conditions of Israel's self-defense. (National Review)
  • August 22 - Bernard Lewis
    In Islam, as in Judaism and Christianity, there are certain beliefs concerning the cosmic struggle at the end of time - Gog and Magog, anti-Christ, Armageddon, and for Shiite Muslims, the long awaited return of the Hidden Imam, ending in the final victory of the forces of good over evil, however these may be defined. Ahmadinejad and his followers clearly believe that this time is now, and that the terminal struggle has already begun and is indeed well advanced. It may even have a date, indicated by several references by the Iranian president to giving his final answer to the U.S. about nuclear development by Aug. 22.
        This year, Aug. 22 corresponds, in the Islamic calendar, to the 27th day of the month of Rajab of the year 1427. This, by tradition, is the night when many Muslims commemorate the night flight of the prophet Muhammad on the winged horse Buraq, first to "the farthest mosque," usually identified with Jerusalem, and then to heaven and back (c.f., Koran XVII.1). This might well be deemed an appropriate date for the apocalyptic ending of Israel and if necessary of the world. It is far from certain that Ahmadinejad plans any such cataclysmic events precisely for Aug. 22. But it would be wise to bear the possibility in mind. (Wall Street Journal, 8Aug06)
  • Observations:

    Hizballah, Iran, and Syria - Not Israel - Are Flouting International Law
    - Orde F. Kittrie (Wall Street Journal)

    • At Qana, Israeli aircraft fired toward a building to stop Hizballah from shooting rockets at its cities. The aircraft did not deliberately target civilians; but Hizballah rockets are targeted at civilians, a clear war crime. If Hizballah used Lebanese civilians in Qana as "human shields," then Hizballah, not Israel, is legally responsible for their deaths.
    • Hizballah and Iran - which provides this terrorist group with arms, direction, and over $100 million a year - are in continual violation of international law. Their calls for Israel's destruction violate the international genocide treaty's prohibition of "direct and public incitement to commit genocide." Iran's effort to develop a nuclear arsenal that could obliterate Israel, or deter its responses to future Hizballah attacks, violates the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
    • Iranian (and Syrian) support for Hizballah violates UN Security Council Resolution 1373, requiring states to "refrain from providing any form of support, active or passive, to entities or persons involved in terrorist acts." Hizballah began the armed conflict with rocket attacks on Israeli towns and the abduction of Israeli soldiers: unprovoked acts of war violating an internationally recognized border.
    • China killed hundreds of peaceful Tiananmen Square protestors in 1989, and has for five decades occupied Tibet, slaughtering tens of thousands. As many as 200,000 have been killed as Russia has leveled the capital city of Grozny. All of the leading EU countries actively participated in NATO's 78-day bombing campaign against Yugoslavia in 1999, killing hundreds of civilians, though Yugoslavia posed no threat to the existence of any of the EU countries that bombed it.
    • Compared with how China, Russia, and the EU have dealt with non-existential threats, Israel's responses to the threats to its existence have been remarkably restrained rather than disproportionately violent.

      The writer, a professor of international law at Arizona State University, served in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the U.S. State Department from 1993 to 2003.

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