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Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

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August 11, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

War Going Better than We're Hearing - Rowan Scarborough (Washington Times)
    Robert Maginnis, a former Army artillery officer who has analyzed the IDF's tactics, said Israel is "up against Hizballah people who are trained reasonably well."
    "They are better than a lot of their Arab counterparts. They are willing to die....It's a mini-Iran and they are charged up because they are the Islamic resistance in Lebanon."
    Still, "it's going better than we're hearing," said an Army Special Forces soldier who has deployed to the Middle East.
    "Some of the cease-fire overtures wouldn't be occurring if the Israelis weren't doing much damage. The IDF knew of the tunnels and traps waiting for them, so they softened it up with air power directed by operations."
    "The main thing is that the links to Iran and Syria are becoming known to the public."

Israel HighWay
- August 10, 2006

Issue of the Week:
    Another Week of War - the Unseen Casualties

Israeli Intelligence Was Not Surprised - Gidi Weitz (Ha'aretz)
    "We knew Hizballah had thousands of rockets and hundreds of long-range rockets. There is not a gram of surprise here," declares Brig.-Gen. Yossi Kuperwasser, who until recently was head of the research division of Military Intelligence.
    "Everything was explained to all those who were entitled to see the material."
    "Militarily, the working assumption was that Hizballah would have the ability to wage war for a long period."
    "Hizballah's decision-making body has over it Iranians who make the decisions for it. There is no doubt that Iran gave the authorization in principle to abduct a soldier, in the same way that the significant person in Iran is Khamenei and not Ahmadinejad, whose importance is limited."
    "They don't authorize every little thing in Hizballah, but things of this magnitude, definitely."

Hospital: Gaza Girl Not Killed by Israeli Strike (Reuters)
    A three-year-old girl who had been reported killed by an Israeli air strike in Gaza on Wednesday actually died of an accident - a fall from a swing, Palestinian medical workers said on Thursday.
    Workers at Gaza's Shifa hospital said the initial mistake appeared to have arisen because the girl was brought in at the same time as the bodies of two gunmen killed in an airstrike.
    The Israeli military said the dead gunmen were members of the Popular Resistance Committees who were planning attacks on Israel.

Hizballah Turns Ball Bearings into WMDs - Deroy Murdock (National Review)
    Many of the Hizballah missiles have warheads filled with ball bearings. Independent photojournalist Lenny Maschkowski has documented the devastation that these steel balls do.
    His images appear on websites, and vividly illustrate Hizballah's viciousness.
    "It's amazing how far these little ball bearings go," says the 44-year-old Israeli native. "They have a deadly radius of around 600 meters [some 1,950 feet]. If you are close and get hit by many ball bearings, you end up like a sieve," Maschkowski says.
    "If you are very far away, and you only get hit by a few, it would be like suffering bullet injuries."
    See also Hizballah Ballbearing Rockets Maximize Injuries (IRIN/Reuters)

Nasrallah's Men Inside America - Dan Ephron and Michael Isikoff (Newsweek)
    Hizballah has at least a small web of operatives in America who, prosecutors believe, are loyal to Hassan Nasrallah.
    Security officials worry that if Hizballah does one day decide to strike, it can exploit an already-existing network in this country.
    "You often see in these groups that people who deal in finances also have military backgrounds," says Chris Hamilton, who was the FBI's unit chief for Palestinian investigations until last year.
    "The fact is, they have the ability [to attack] in the United States."
    The FBI has made Hizballah a central target of its counterterrorism efforts, setting up a unit dedicated to tracking the group and assigning agents to develop sources in Lebanese and other Middle Eastern communities across the country.

Inside the New Hizballah - Kevin Peraino, Babak Dehghanpisheh, and Christopher Dickey (Newsweek)
    Hizballah is proving to be something altogether new, an Arab guerrilla army with sophisticated weaponry and remarkable discipline. Its soldiers wear body armor and use satcoms to coordinate their attacks.
    How did Hizballah morph from its terrorist roots 20 years ago to the formidably organized force of today? The short answer is: experience, leadership, and Iran.
    By Israeli estimates Iran has underwritten Hizballah with $100 million a year. But Hizballah also gets contributions and "tax" payments from wealthy Shiites in Lebanon and abroad, and revenues from both legal and illegal businesses worldwide.
    According to terrorism expert Magnus Ranstorp at the Swedish National Defense College, its shopping list included night-vision goggles, Global Positioning Systems, advanced software for aircraft design, stun guns, nitrogen cutters, naval equipment, laser range finders, and even ultrasonic dog repellers.
    See also Hizballah Equipment Surprises IDF - Hanan Greenberg (Ynet News)
    IDF officials say they were surprised by advanced Hizballah military equipment recovered by troops in Lebanon.
    The equipment includes night-vision equipment, gas masks, cutting-edge radio equipment, dozens of rifles, various types of handguns, silencers, helmets, and protective vests.
    "Suddenly, during battle, we saw a bush moving up and seconds later turn into a terrorist firing at our troops, " one IDF soldier said.

Support for Nasrallah Skyrockets Among Young Palestinians - Mustafa Sabre (Palestine News Network-PA)
    In the mobile phone obsessed Palestinian youth culture, the image of Hassan Nasrallah has become the preferred screen image, replacing entertainers.
    Songs of Nasrallah ring on the mobiles instead of songs about love.
    During Palestinian demonstrations, Nasrallah's image is held as high as that of Arafat.

Judge Rejects Dismissal of Pro-Israel Lobbyists Case - Jerry Markon (Washington Post)
    U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III Thursday declined to throw out the criminal case against two pro-Israel lobbyists accused of violating the Espionage Act, denying their argument that the novel prosecution infringed on their constitutional right to free speech.

U.S. Marines Train with IDF - Zach Pluhacek (Daily Nebraskan)
    This spring, Lance Cpl. Tyler Blaker and his unit of 350 to 400 fellow Marines became one of the first to do "conscription service" with the IDF and Israeli naval commandos.
    Blaker stayed in Israel for two months, studying house-to-house and counterterrorism fighting, and swapping military techniques with units he calls the "elite of the elite in Israel."

Half of All Christians Have Fled Iraq since 2003 - Simon Caldwell (Catholic News Service)
    Half of all Iraqi Christians have fled their country since 2003.
    Chaldean Catholic Auxiliary Bishop Andreos Abouna of Baghdad said that while there had been 1.2 million Christians in Iraq, the number has dropped to about 600,000.

85% of Northern Factories at Least Partially Operating (Globes)
    85% of factories in Haifa and the north are fully or partially open, the Manufacturers Association of Israel reports.
    A week ago, 75% of factories were full or partially open, and during the first week of the war, 65% of factories were fully or partially open.
    The grounds or structures of 20 factories have taken direct hits from Hizballah rockets since the start of the war.

Spielberg Foundation to Donate $1M for Israeli Relief (AP/Los Angeles Times)
    A foundation created by filmmaker Steven Spielberg will donate $1 million to relief efforts in Israel as it battles with Hizballah.
    See also Berrie Foundation Pledges $2M toward Israel Emergency Campaign - Jacob Berkman (New Jersey Jewish Standard)

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Five Planes and the Plot to Commit Britain's 9/11 - Philip Webster, Sean O'Neill, and Stewart Tendler
    Alarming intelligence that an attack was imminent was the trigger for police raids which captured 24 terrorist suspects, British Asian men of Pakistani descent, as well as two British converts to Islam. Counter-terrorist agencies, which had been monitoring the plotters for 12 months, said the plot was to detonate suicide bombs on five U.S.-bound aircraft in the next few days, headed for New York, Washington, D.C., Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles on three airlines: American, Continental, and United. A second wave of attacks had been considered, with as many as 12 aircraft to be attacked. The terrorists discussed trying to blow up the aircraft as they circled above the destination cities to cause maximum death and destruction in the air and on American soil.
        A "martyrdom video" recorded by a would-be suicide bomber was found at one of the raided addresses. U.S. sources claimed that substantial sums of money had been wired from Pakistan to two of the ringleaders to purchase airline tickets. One report said they were planning a "dry run." Arrests were also made in Pakistan. Michael Chertoff, the U.S. Homeland Security Secretary, said the plan had many of the characteristics of an al-Qaeda operation - a terrorist spectacular aimed at multiple targets. Sources in Washington said five suspects were still at large. (Times-UK)
  • Beirut Objects to UN Draft Resolution on Lebanon - Colum Lynch and Robin Wright
    Lebanon on Thursday raised objections to a U.S.- and French-backed draft resolution aimed at ending the fighting between Hizballah and Israel because it does not call for an immediate cease-fire and because the proposed new international force would have a broad mandate to use military firepower. Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora expressed concerns to Secretary General Kofi Annan about whether he could persuade Hizballah to accept the draft resolution.
        The threat of Israeli ground action heightened the sense of urgency in concluding weeks of contentious negotiations over a plan to end the violence. A breakthrough in negotiations with France came after the U.S. dropped its demand that Israeli troops be allowed to remain in southern Lebanon until a muscular international force is in place with a tough mandate to ensure that Hizballah could not mount attacks on Israeli towns. Washington also agreed to scrap a provision that the force be explicitly authorized to disarm Hizballah. The U.S. and France agreed to expand UNIFIL, the existing UN peacekeeping force, with 2,000 more soldiers and to authorize it to use force to help Beirut restore its control over southern Lebanon. (Washington Post)
        See also Israel Holds Off on Drive to the North - Steven Erlanger and Warren Hoge
    The Israeli Army has thousands of troops massed on the border, waiting for an order to take the battle against Hizballah to the Litani River about 15 miles to the north, to reduce the number of rockets that can reach Israeli cities. But the order has not been given. (New York Times)
        See also Beirut Confident Hizballah Will Give Up Power - Betsy Pisik
    Lebanon's government says it has received promises that Hizballah will cede power in the nation's south to the national army, but that it is not willing to disarm the Islamist militia using force. "We are confident, comfortable," that Hizballah will give up its arsenal of up to 10,000 missiles that it is using to pummel civilian centers in northern Israel, Mohamad Chattah, a senior adviser to Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, said Thursday. (Washington Times)
        See also Israel Rejects Russia's Call for Truce, Says It Would Give Hizballah Time to Regroup (MosNews-Russia)
  • Ghost Towns of War: Israel's Emptied-Out North - Ralph Peters
    Driving north to the war from Tel Aviv, the traffic thins gradually - until you realize abruptly that your car is the only one left on the road. The city of Safed is empty, a scene from a 1950s science-fiction film. A few residents remain, but I did not see a single one. In town after town, it's as if a plague has struck. And one has: the plague of terrorist rockets, whose only purpose is to butcher indiscriminately. There is no looting. The empty houses of the refugees are safe. Israel pulls together, and no police patrols are needed to protect these businesses and homes. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis have been driven away from their homes, but you don't hear much about that. (New York Post)
  • Two Arrested in Ohio for Hizballah Ties
    Ali Houssaiky and Osama Abulhassan of Dearborn, Michigan, were apprehended on Tuesday in Marietta, Ohio, during a traffic stop and found carrying $11,000 in cash, 12 cell phones, airline passenger lists, and information on airport security, a spokesman for the Washington County prosecutor's office said. They are being held on charges of money laundering on behalf of Hizballah. (Reuters)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • IDF Soldier Fighting Hizballah Killed Thursday - Yaakov Katz
    An IDF reserve soldier was killed Thursday in Leboneh in southern Lebanon when an anti-tank missile hit his vehicle. Nine others were seriously wounded during heavy clashes between the IDF and Hizballah terrorists. Defense Minister Amir Peretz froze a planned thrust deep into Lebanon up to the Litani River on Thursday, in order to exhaust the diplomatic front before launching the operation. A high-ranking IDF officer said the army had killed more than 100 Hizballah gunmen on Thursday. Still, Hizballah was able to fire more than 170 Katyusha rockets into northern Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Hizballah Rockets Fall on Northern Israel Friday - Aviram Zino
    Two people were injured by shrapnel and more than 12 suffered shock following three rocket barrages on Haifa on Friday. At least 16 rockets landed on the city, five of them in populated areas, causing damage. Rockets also struck three homes in the Krayot area north of Haifa. Four rockets landed Friday in the Nahariya area, one of them directly striking a home. Earlier, rockets landed in the Shlomi area and in Acre. (Ynet News)
  • Italian Tourist Stabbed to Death in Jerusalem's Old City - Efrat Weiss
    A 24-year-old Italian tourist was stabbed in the back and killed Thursday by an Arab in the Old City of Jerusalem. Police said the attack was nationalistically motivated. (Ynet News)
  • Two Bedouin Men Charged with Spying for Hizballah - Eli Ashkenazi
    Riyad Mzarib, 30, of the Bedouin village of Beit Zarzir in the Jezreel Valley, was charged with conspiring to assist the enemy in wartime, holding contacts with a foreign agent, and delivering information to the enemy. According to police commander Yaakov Zigdon, the suspect confessed to having delivered to Lebanese drug dealers reports on the movements of IDF forces and the location of missile hits in the north. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

    The War with Hizballah

  • Flawed Lebanon Consensus - Martin Walker
    There is growing consensus in Europe and the Middle East that the indecisive carnage in Lebanon has resulted in a strategic weakening of Israel and also by extension of its American ally, and a dramatic strengthening of the position of Hizballah and its patrons in Syria and Iran. Through Hizballah's defiance, the regimes of Tehran and Damascus find a new legitimacy in Arab eyes. Still, this consensus may be premature, for four main reasons. First, the tensions between Sunnis and Shiites have divided the Islamic world for 1,300 years. They are not going to disappear overnight. Second, no foreseeable U.S. administration is going to abandon Israel, and no foreseeable array of European governments is going to accept any outcome that questions or undermines Israel's right to exist.
        Third, Israel's military may have been bruised in Lebanon, but Israel's military remains the most formidable force in the Middle East, and it has massive resources in hand. The Israeli army is an adaptable, well-armed, and fast-learning institution; it will swiftly learn the tactics required to tackle the hidden bunkers of Hizballah. Fourth, politics and diplomacy have yet to kick in, as they inevitably will. The Europeans will soon remember that the one thing they can wholly agree on for the region is that Iran's nuclear ambitions must be curbed. (UPI)
  • The Morning After the Morning After - Thomas L. Friedman
    On the morning after the morning after the ceasefire, Lebanese war refugees, who had real jobs and homes, will start streaming back by the hundreds of thousands, many of them Shiites. Tragically, they will find their homes or businesses badly damaged or obliterated. Yes, they will curse Israel. But they and other Arabs will also start asking Nasrallah publicly what many are already asking privately: "What was this war all about? What did we get from this and at what price? Israel has some roofs to repair and some dead to bury. But its economy and state are fully intact, and it will recover quickly. We Lebanese have been set back by a decade. Our economy and our democracy lie in ruins, like our homes. For what? For a one-week boost in 'Arab honor?' So that Iran could distract the world's attention from its nuclear program? You did all this to us for another country?" (New York Times, 11Aug06)
  • Who Can Succeed in Cracking Hizballah-land? - Paul Koring
    Eradicating Hizballah-land, the Iranian-backed statelet inside politically fragile Lebanon, won't be easy and it certainly won't be "peacekeeping." Diplomatic efforts intensified to shape a military force once the fighting ends. But the vexing questions of force composition and timing remain. The grim litany of UN failures in Lebanon stretches back to the dawn of peacekeeping. A former UN commander in Bosnia, retired Canadian Maj.-Gen. Lewis Mackenzie, warns: "It's a recipe for disaster" unless it's a massive, combat-capable force with a robust mandate coupled to a broader political solution. Mackenzie says the job needs 25,000 well-trained, well-equipped troops and that the UN needs to subcontract the job, perhaps to NATO. (Globe and Mail-Canada)
  • After Lebanon, There's Iran - Vali Nasr
    When the war in Lebanon ends, the U.S. will have to piece together a whole new strategy for dealing with Iran - especially its nuclear program. The Israeli-Hizballah war has boldly ratcheted up Iran's regional stature. Hizballah surprised Israel and the U.S. by successfully testing a number of Iranian-made advanced weapons systems. It was Iranian clerics and Revolutionary Guards commanders who first organized Hizballah in the 1980s. Since then, Tehran has bankrolled and armed Hizballah's war machine. Many among the current leadership of Iran's Revolutionary Guards have served tours of duty at Hizballah's headquarters in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
        Iran's leaders see Hizballah as an ally and an asset. Hizballah is a fruit of the Iranian revolution - the only time its seed found fertile soil outside Iran. Tehran cannot back away from Hizballah without acknowledging that the revolution is over. Iran's hard-line leaders, looking to rekindle revolutionary fervor at home, see their own values reflected in Hizballah. Nor will Tehran easily give up on a pro-Iranian force in the heart of the Arab world and an important instrument in confronting Israel and the U.S. The writer teaches at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey and is adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. (Christian Science Monitor)

    War and Morality

  • A Price of Fighting Terrorism - David Bernstein
    Wars, as we all know, are now fought on TV and are subject to far greater - and quicker - scrutiny than ever. The tendency to support war and then recoil from its consequences is very modern and very human - but it is also a major handicap against an Islamic extremist enemy that is all too aware of our weaknesses. If we are going to effectively fight the fascism of our time, we'd better face up to the sad fact that even the most just wars and justly fought wars cause civilian casualties.
        The West will have to fight against an enemy that hides missiles in family homes and cynically exploits the inevitable results. It will occasionally have to take military action that it knows in advance will cause civilian casualties, even as it tries to minimize those casualties. And when those casualties do occur, it will have to place blame where it belongs - on the extremists and their supporters - and then go on with the war. The writer is Washington director of the American Jewish Committee. (Washington Post)
  • Ethics of War - Walter Reich
    On the day an Israeli airstrike inadvertently killed some 28 civilians in the Lebanese town of Qana, a Berlin daily, Der Tagesspiegel, published an amazing letter that summarized the Hizballah strategy that resulted in those deaths. Dr. Mounir Herzallah wrote that he was a Shiite from southern Lebanon who had lived there until 2002. After the Israelis withdrew from the area in 2000, he recalled, Hizballah moved into his town, dug rocket depots in bunkers, and then built a school and a residence over those bunkers. "Laughing, a local sheikh explained to me that the Jews would lose in any event because the rockets would either be fired at them or, if they attacked the rocket depots, they would be condemned by world opinion on account of the dead civilians. These people do not care about the Lebanese population; they use them as shields and, once dead, as propaganda." (New York Sun)
  • Hizballah Leaders Must Be Tried for War Crimes - Emmanuel Gross
    We have not yet heard the claim by Israel and other Western countries that, after an end to hostilities, Hizballah leaders must be called to account for war crimes committed against Israel. Hizballah has been intentionally firing missiles at Israel's civilian population. Missiles aimed at civilians meet the definition of war crime or a crime against humanity as defined by the 1949 Geneva Convention, as well as the International Criminal Court at The Hague that was established in 2000.
        I would have expected Israel and its allies to demand that the UN Security Council use its authority to instruct the International Criminal Court to investigate the responsibility of Hizballah leaders, with an eye on bringing them to trial, as was done to those responsible for attacks on civilians in Yugoslavia and Rwanda. The writer is a professor of criminal law at Haifa University. (Ynet News)

    Arab Perspectives

  • The Abdication of Lebanese Leaders - Michael Behe
    The politicians, journalists, and intellectuals of Lebanon knew full well that Hizballah had created an independent state in our country. In fact, our country had become an extension of Iran, and our so-called political power also served as a political and military cover for the Islamists of Teheran. Our army collaborated with the Iranians to put our coastal radar stations at the disposal of their missiles.
        Lebanon a victim? What a joke! Before the Israeli attack, Lebanon no longer existed. In Beirut, innocent citizens like me were forbidden access to certain areas of their own capital. Our police, our army, and our judges were also excluded. Without the Israelis, how could we have received another chance - that we in no way deserve - to rebuild our country? Once again, the soldiers of Israel are doing our work. If, at the end of this war, the Lebanese army retakes control over its territory and gets rid of the state within a state, it will only be thanks to the IDF.
        Like the overwhelming majority of Lebanese, I pray that no one puts an end to the Israeli attack before it finishes shattering the terrorists. In the name of my people, I wish to express my infinite gratitude to the relatives of the Israeli victims - civilian and military - whose loved ones have fallen so that I can live standing upright in my identity. (Metula News Agency/New Republic)
  • Difficult Decisions for Hizballah - Raghida Dergham
    For years, Hizballah resisted the deployment of the Lebanese army in the South; this week, it finally agreed to the idea that the government would send 15,000 troops to the South. But Hizballah has not yet ceded that authority over the South rests with the state alone. Nor has it taken the only step that would put an end to the war: surrendering its weapons to the state. On no condition will the Security Council bless Hizballah if it keeps its weapons.
        War with Israel is a decision that should only be taken by a sovereign state. Hizballah must give up the authority it has robbed from the state, and return it willingly by taking concrete steps that go beyond the rhetoric of Hassan Nasrallah's speeches. Hizballah should give up its weapons to the state, the militias should be disbanded, and they should be integrated into the regular army, without conditions or bargaining. (Al-Hayat-Lebanon)
  • In the Name of Allah - Riad Ali
    When the Palestinians adopted suicide bombing as their strategy, I concluded that their indiscriminate war on Jews had begun. The Palestinian people have lost their inner compass. A whole generation of children was born and reared in their midst, and all their hopes and aspirations are to die a holy death. A Palestinian moral-ethical debate on the status of the suicide bomber never took place. He was a "martyr," with all the positive attributes that the word carries in Islamic terminology. Palestinians who still opposed the bombings did so on tactical grounds; that is to say, if it had furthered their cause, they would have seen no wrong in it.
        A similar process happened with Hizballah. If before 2000 it could claim it is fighting Israeli occupation of Lebanon, today it is clear that its war is against Jews wherever they may be.
        It is clear to all that a Hamas-led Palestinian government and a Hizballah-controlled Lebanon will not bring democratic societies with a flourishing political and social pluralism. Arab citizens of Israel who truly believe in the principle of two states for two peoples and those who believe in a democratic liberal society must ask themselves if the Islamic ideology that is leading the war today against Israel and the West is representative of their ambitions. The writer is a reporter for Israel Television Channel 1. (Ha'aretz)

    Other Issues

  • A De Facto Palestinian Trusteeship - Gerald M. Steinberg
    The Palestinian Authority is being transformed, de facto, into an international trusteeship (a framework floated by American former diplomat Martin Indyk a few years ago). Economic policy and major budgetary decision-making are increasing the responsibility of the World Bank and international aid organizations. Diplomatic contacts have been carried out by representatives of the Quartet. And Israel has resumed full and direct responsibility for security, moving forces in and out of Gaza and the West Bank based on intelligence information regarding rocket production, explosives smuggling, and planning for terror attacks. Until basic changes in Palestinian self-governance take place and a more capable and pragmatic leadership emerges, de facto trusteeship is likely to continue. (
  • Shut Down Iran's Deadly Ambitions - Michael Danby
    It is striking that the EU, antagonistic to both Israel and the policies of the U.S. in the Middle East, has taken such a strong stand on the Iranian nuclear question. France and Germany may not be admirers of the Bush administration, but they know a real threat to their security when they see one, and they see one in the fanatic ambitions of the theocrats in Tehran. Unfortunately, Russia and to a lesser extent China are making a lot of money helping Iran develop nuclear capacity, and they will almost certainly block any move to impose serious economic sanctions on Iran. This means the burden of imposing sanctions will fall on the U.S. and its allies. (The Australian)
  • The Future of the Jews in France - Interview with Shmuel Trigano
    There are approximately 550,000 Jews in France. About 60 percent live in the Paris region, mainly in suburban areas. In view of the current prejudices against the Jews in France, they have become a kind of screen on which the French project their distress and their expectations. The crisis in French national identity and the demographic shock resulting from large-scale, mainly Muslim, immigration have fundamentally changed French Jewry's position in the societal landscape. At the same time, several major Jewish institutions are in crisis. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    Weekend Features

  • Songs in the Classroom and the Roots of Terror - Michael Gove
    Just over a week ago the BBC screened footage of some girls in a Middle Eastern school. Beautifully turned out, and with faces shining, the children sang a carefully prepared anthem for their parents, friends, and relatives. But the lyrics committed to heart by the girls of the al-Khalil al-Rahman Young Girls' Association sat a little incongruously with the innocence of their appearance. "We all sacrifice ourselves for our country," they sang. "We answer your call and make of our skulls a ladder to your glory. A ladder." We saw young girls dancing to music which proclaimed: "Fasten your bomb belt, oh would-be martyr, and fill the square with blood so that we get back our homeland."
        The songs were recorded for a Panorama special presented by veteran BBC reporter John Ware investigating donations to the charity Interpal. Ware's painstaking work suggested that some of the institutions which benefit from the charity are linked to the Hamas terrorist organization. It is natural to believe that all one can do in the way of helping to end the suffering is simply to join the chorus demanding a cease-fire. But don't we owe our children, and the children of the Middle East, a few moments more reflection and questioning? What are the chances of a lasting peace when young girls are taught to celebrate suicide bombings in kindergarten? And what are we going to do about it? (Times-UK)
        See also BBC Responds to Criticism of Panorama Documentary - John Ware
    We said Hamas was "regarded by Western governments as terrorists." That's been the factual position since Hamas - both political and military wings - was proscribed as a terrorist organization by the European Union in September 2003. The program showed that some of Interpal's money had gone to charities like the al-Khalil al-Rahman Girls' Society and that over the years this had helped build Hamas. The contribution that charitable funds have made to the growth and popularity of the Hamas movement is something Hamas leaders themselves have consistently acknowledged.
        Having asked the Israelis for their evidence, and having been persuaded by it, we could of course have come away and said: "These guys are Zionists. You can't trust a single thing Zionists say because they're, well, Zionists." But surely that would have been "agenda journalism" because it demands that information from one side should never be believed (even if it survives scrutiny), while the benefit of the doubt should generally be given to another side. The Muslim Council of Britain seems also to have expected us to discount Israeli-sourced documents simply because they came from Israelis. In fact, many of the documents on which we relied were not written by the Israelis, but by Interpal and the Palestinian Authority. It was the Israelis who seized the documents when they raided a number of charities in the West Bank.
        What we invited viewers to consider was whether such charities were suitable organizations for British charitable funds to go to, given that violence directed at civilians has been a cornerstone of Hamas' ideology. The important point, surely, is that these young girls were learning that death - not life - is a goal, and to believe in the illusion of total victory, namely the elimination of Israel. Those girls were being given the oxygen to help keep this conflict going for another 60 years. (AIM Magazine-UK)
  • Israeli Veteran Pilots Help Fight Blazes in North - Jonathan Finer
    Their day began at dawn and ended at dusk, and they landed only to refuel and reload. Artillery shells and rockets whizzed past their windscreens as they swooped and soared, dive-bombing targets near Israel's northern border Saturday. Aharon Berenson, 58, and Svika Rosen, two decorated combat pilots, have been among the busiest airmen around, fighting fires caused by Hizballah's unprecedented barrage of rockets. The two graying veterans of Israel's 1973 Yom Kippur War are part of a team of 10 professional crop-dusters drafted back into service to help control blazes caused by rockets. (Washington Post)
  • British Volunteers Answer Israel Army's Call - Stephen Farrell
    Despite his Leeds accent, Ben, 26, is an Israeli soldier, one of hundreds serving in the Israeli military either as newly arrived citizens or on army programs for Zionists who want to defend Israel while deciding whether to emigrate. Earlier in the day he was ducking Hizballah mortars in the Lebanese village of Adessa, just across the border, an Israeli soldier known among his colleagues for his stamina and ability to carry a heavy machinegun over long distances. He did not have to join - compulsory military service would not have come for a few years - but volunteered because he sees the Army as Israel's "melting pot."
        "Can you imagine if the Isle of Wight started bombing London? How long would it be left standing? There's no other country that is asked to show as much restraint as Israel," he declares. (Times-UK)
  • Observations:

    The Foresight Saga - Ze'ev Schiff (Ha'aretz)

    • Sometimes a country has to take a slap in the face in order to wake up to the changed reality around it. That's what happened to Israel in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, in which 2,600 were killed, and in the Al-Aqsa Intifada, which claimed more than 1,000 victims. Now Israel has gotten a slap during the war with Hizballah. It is unfortunate that each time, the searing of Israel's consciousness involves losses, destruction, and suffering. In the Arab states, too, there are many who think that the war has created a new reality. In their perception, the Israel Defense Forces is having a hard time subduing Hizballah. In Syria they are wondering whether the time hasn't come to liberate the Golan Heights by force.
    • Fortunately for Israel, this war erupted before Iran acquired the ability to threaten the use of nuclear weapons. Tehran understands that part of the infrastructure it created for Hizballah will be destroyed in the war, so it is important for it that the border crossings into Lebanon remain open, to enable Hizballah to be rearmed. The international force that is to be deployed in southern Lebanon will be meaningless if it does not ensure that Iran and Syria are prevented from getting weapons and rockets to Hizballah.
    • Hizballah built a system of underground tunnels in southern Lebanon which recalls what the Vietcong did in Vietnam. Its fighters hide in the tunnels and occasionally surface to attack Israeli troops and to fire rockets. What exists in southern Lebanon was planned by Iranian advisors led by the chief of the Al-Quds (Jerusalem) force in the Revolutionary Guards, Qassam Sulaymani.
    • Vanquishing large terrorist organizations militarily is not like vanquishing regular armies. Former chief of staff Moshe Ya'alon believes that a guerrilla organization can be defeated in a prolonged war of attrition. It is not true that guerrillas have always won. In some cases the "price" that was exacted from them was too great to enable them to persist with their threat. The present war will undoubtedly serve to deter Nasrallah in the future.
    • After the American failure against the Scud missiles in 1991, a few Arab states and Iran stepped up the development of surface-to-surface missiles. This process will be even further accelerated in the wake of Hizballah's rocket attack on Israel. The Palestinians, too, will undoubtedly intensify the development of Kassam rockets and the smuggling of Katyusha rockets into the territories. Israel must prevent by force the continuation of this "festival of rockets" against its population.

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