Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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August 10, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Terrorist Plot to Blow Up Planes in Britain Foiled - Adrian Croft (Reuters)
    British police said on Thursday they have thwarted a plot to blow up aircraft in mid-flight between Britain and the U.S., arresting 18 people in the London area.
    MI5 raised the threat level to the country to "critical" from "severe," meaning an attack is expected imminently.
    See also U.S. Raises Threat Level for Flights from Britain (AP/WVLT)
    The U.S. government, responding to the discovery of an alleged terror plot in Britain, is raising the terror-threat level for flights to the U.S. from Britain to code red. That's the highest level and indicates a severe threat.

Iranians Among Hizballah Combat Dead (Reuters)
    Members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard have been found among Hizballah guerrillas slain by Israeli forces in southern Lebanon, Israel's Channel 10 television reported on Wednesday citing diplomatic sources.
    The Iranians were identified by documents found on their bodies.

U.S. Navy Sailor Suspected of Spying for Russia, Not Israel - Barbara Starr (CNN/TIME/Jerusalem Post)
    U.S. Navy submariner Ariel Weinmann, 21, who faces espionage charges, is suspected of having worked on behalf of Russia, said military sources close to the case.
    His father, Robert Weinmann, says his son is not Jewish (the family's heritage is German), and Navy sources also say Israel is not the alleged recipient, as the Saudi daily Al-Watan had claimed.

IDF Changes Tactics in Response to Hizballah - Dan Williams (Reuters)
    One striking change in tactics is Israel's growing preference for moving its troops on foot rather than in armored personnel carriers or inside battle tanks, which have become targets for anti-tank rockets.
    The battlegrounds are criss-crossed with thick white fibers, the guidance wires left behind by spent Sagger anti-tank missiles.
    Israeli sharpshooters now deploy at strategic hilltops with .50 caliber rifles capable of hitting their would-be Hizballah ambushers at long ranges.

Listening to Radio a Matter of Life, Death - Abraham Rabinovich (Washington Times)
    A radio station that broadcasts silence has been initiated by Israel Radio for residents in northern Israel who fear they might not hear sirens warning of a rocket attack while they are sleeping.
    The "silent station" is an alternative wake-up device next to their bed and breaks its silence only with announcements of impending rocket attacks, affording residents less than a minute to get to cover.

Useful Reference:

Hizballah Fires at Israel from Residential Areas - Video Clips (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
    View ten video clips documenting Hizballah's exploitation of Lebanese population centers and civilians.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Israel Puts Ground Offensive on Hold to Give Diplomacy More Time - Ravi Nessman
    Israel has put its massive new ground offensive into southern Lebanon on hold to give the UN Security Council more time to come to an agreement on a cease-fire, senior Israeli officials said Thursday. Israel's security cabinet on Wednesday approved an expanded ground offensive in Lebanon. (AP/Houston Chronicle)
        See also U.S. Pressure Prompts Delay of IDF Offensive - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
  • UN's Mideast Diplomatic Efforts Falter - Edith M. Lederer
    Diplomatic efforts to reach agreement on a UN resolution aimed at ending the escalating Israeli-Hizballah conflict faltered Wednesday over differences between the U.S. and France on the timing of an Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon. While France was backing Lebanon's call for Israeli troops to pull out as Lebanon deploys 15,000 troops of its own, the U.S. was supporting Israel's insistence on staying until a robust international force is deployed. "We don't want Hizballah to re-infiltrate the southern part of Lebanon," U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said. (AP/Washington Post)
  • Israel Slams Deliveries of Sophisticated Russian Weapons to Middle East
    Hizballah is using sophisticated Russian-made anti-tank missiles - "which in the past it was promised would not fall into the hands of Hizballah" - against Israel's army in southern Lebanon, Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz said Wednesday. Ha'aretz claimed on Sunday that Hizballah used Russian-made RPG-29 anti-tank missiles, which were sold to Syria by Russia, and then transferred to Hizballah. (MosNews-Russia)
  • Across Northern Israel, a 24-Hour Dash to Evacuate 15,000 People - Jonathan Finer
    Across northern Israel, as many as 15,000 people were to be evacuated over a 24-hour period, most to hotels or military bases outside rocket range, for the first time during the war. Residents of Kiryat Shmona, who have endured more than 600 rocket attacks, were told they had an hour to pack and dash to one of five schools serving as bus depots for transportation to a hotel in Netanya. About a third of the 24,000 residents will remain in Kiryat Shmona. (Washington Post)
        See also Family Runs Risk of Rockets for a Breath of Fresh Air - Tim Butcher (Telegraph-UK)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Fifteen IDF Soldiers Killed Wednesday in South Lebanon Fighting - Amos Harel and Eli Ashkenazi
    Fifteen Israel Defense Forces troops were killed on Wednesday in southern Lebanon. Nine reserve paratroopers were killed and 11 wounded by anti-tank missiles fired at a house in Debel. Four reservists were killed when a tank was hit by an anti-tank missile in Ayta al-Shaab. (Ha'aretz)
        See also IDF Kills 38 Hizballah Terrorists Wednesday
    IDF ground forces killed 38 Hizballah terrorists during fighting in southern Lebanon on Wednesday. Israel's air force attacked 150 targets in Lebanon including 69 buildings, two bridges over the Litani River, six rocket launchers, and three gas stations on Wednesday. Since the beginning of the fighting, the air force has attacked more than 5,000 terrorist targets throughout Lebanon. (IDF Spokesperson, 10Aug06)
  • Palestinian Suicide Bomber Arrested on Way to Israel - Efrat Weiss
    IDF forces arrested a Palestinian woman near Nablus Wednesday who is suspected of intending to carrying out a suicide bombing in Israel. Over the past month, security forces thwarted eight suicide bombing and kidnapping attempts. The security services assessed that most of the attacks were orchestrated in cooperation with Hizballah, in an attempt to open up a third front against Israel in the West Bank. (Ynet News)
  • Toddler, Mother Killed by Hizballah Rocket in Israeli Arab Village
    A 3-year-old toddler and his mother were killed Thursday morning after a Hizballah rocket hit the Israeli Arab village of Dir Al-Assad in the Western Galilee. (Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Lebanon Cannot Tackle Hizballah on Its Own - Editorial
    The Lebanese army has proved incapable of stopping Hizballah, backed by Syria and Iran, from creating a state within a state. Beirut on its own cannot be trusted with neutralizing the militia. For these reasons, Israel should not withdraw from Lebanon until an international force with teeth is in position. The ineffective UN interim monitoring force, UNIFIL, should be disbanded. (Telegraph-UK)
        See also U.S. Aid Unlikely to Turn Around Lebanese Army Capabilities - Ed Blanche
    The U.S. has offered to help train and equip the Lebanese Army so it can extend government control over Lebanon as part of a cease-fire agreement to end the current conflict between Hizballah and Israel. Yet the Lebanese Army, which has operated primarily as an internal security force since the 1975-90 civil war, is incapable of undertaking any peacekeeping mission unless Hizballah is completely disarmed. (Jane's Defense Weekly)
  • An Assertive Lebanon? A Tough International Force? Give Me a Break - Marcus Gee
    Even if the international force does come together, it is not clear whether it would solve the problem. How would even a muscular international force handle a still armed, still militant Hizballah? Remember that Hizballah made its name by opposing a previous foreign intervention, killing 241 U.S. Marines and 58 French paratroopers in truck-bomb attacks in Beirut in 1983. The hard truth is, this conflict grinds on because no one wants to take on Hizballah - not the government of Lebanon, not the rest of the Arab world, and certainly not its sponsors in Syria and Iran. As usual, that dirty job is left to Israel. (Toronto Globe and Mail)
  • Israel Has an Entitlement to Defend its Security, and a UN Resolution on its Side - Mary Dejevsky
    As this war has escalated, so too has the all too familiar shrill and simplistic condemnation of Israel from whole swathes of the liberal West. Israel has a case that deserves a more sympathetic hearing than it is getting. What is incontestable is that Israel has on its side a UN Security Council resolution, 1559, from 2 September 2004, which called for the disarming of Hizballah.
        In an ideal world, Israel would have left the disarming of Hizballah to the Lebanese government or the UN. But both had proved pathetically unequal to the task. Missile attacks into Israel were not halted either by Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon or by its withdrawal from Gaza last year. Israel can be forgiven for concluding that its policy of "land for peace" would work only if it enforced the peace itself.
        Israel has the same right as any other state to national security and the same right to defend its borders. The half-heartedness with which this elementary right has been guaranteed internationally, and not only by the UN, is the reason why peace has never been possible. (Independent-UK-9Aug06/BICOM)
  • A "Family" at War - Jon Medved
    Thousands of Israeli homes have been damaged by missiles as the deaths and casualties continue to mount. The vulnerability is ever-present. Our families are fighting for their very lives. With so many of our sons and daughters in the thick of the fight, this war is our war. Our army is our kids, and Jewish kids will not be kidnapped and slaughtered ever again without there being hell to pay. Because we will no longer sit idly while our enemies openly call for our destruction and amass the means to carry out their threats. Because we refuse to accept as normal a life where we must be afraid of a missile landing on our porch while we drink our morning coffee. Because this war is not being fought over territory, but our right to exist. (USA Today)
        See also Death and Destruction Are Hizballah's Goals - Andrea Levin
    The Great Satan and the Little Satan - America and Israel - are the obsession of Hizballah, Iran, al-Qaeda, and other Islamic fascists. Closing our eyes to their brutality only assures more innocent lives will be lost before the threat is overcome. The writer is executive director of CAMERA, Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America. (Boston Globe)
  • Iran's Rocket Route to Israel - Geoff Elliott
    In late January, 12 trucks crossed the Syrian border into Lebanon. When they were stopped at a checkpoint, the Lebanese Armed Forces found the trucks were brimming with ammunition and weapons, including Katyusha rockets that have been raining down on Israel since July 12. The convoy was waved on and traveled unhindered to its final destination: Hizballah terrorists in southern Lebanon. The Lebanese army said the ammunition belonged to the "resistance," which the Lebanese government considers to be legitimate. It's this uninterrupted flow of weapons, mostly made in Iran, that has allowed Hizballah to stockpile some 12,000 Katyusha rockets and fire more than 3,000 rockets into Israel over the past 29 days. (The Australian)
  • Observations:

    From a Safe Room in Israel - Diana Bletter (Philadelphia Inquirer)

    • As I type these words in the protected room of our house - one we thought we'd never have to use - in Shavei Zion, the small farming village where I live, about two miles south of Nahariya, more than 3,000 missiles have fallen around us in the last three weeks, killing at least 49 civilians.
    • Our pastoral way of life in the western Galilee, where Jews, Muslims, Christians, and Druze have lived in harmony for the last 50 years, is on the brink of destruction. During a lull in the missile attacks, I drove through Nahariya, now a ghost town. Most of the city's residents have been holed up in underground bomb shelters for almost a month, held hostage by Hizballah.
    • Three of our sons currently serve in the Israel Defense Forces. Shlomie, a medic in the paratroopers, was recently wounded by shrapnel in heavy fighting in Aita-al-Shaab, a village in southern Lebanon. Shlomie will survive his wounds, but dozens of his comrades were wounded and some soldiers lost their lives.
    • Shlomie was fighting next to Michael Levin, the soldier who moved from Bucks County, PA, to serve in the Israeli army. Shlomie said that after Michael was wounded, he picked him up and carried him to a safer area. Right before Michael died in his arms, Shlomie told him, "I love you, Michael. I'm sorry."

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