Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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August 15, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

The Day After: 4,000 Katyushas, 42 Civilians Killed - Eli Ashkenazi and Ran Reznick (Ha'aretz)
    Since July 12, Hizballah fired 3,790 rockets across the border into Israel. Of these, 901 landed in communities, and 42 civilians were killed as a result.
    The Health Ministry said 4,262 civilians were treated in hospitals for injuries. Of these, 33 were seriously wounded, 68 moderately, and 1,388 lightly.
    Another 2,773 civilians were treated for shock.

CNN Snubs Israeli Civilians - Yaakov Lappin (Ynet News)
    A CNN International in-depth report from Israel and Lebanon unveiled the full extent of bias at work behind the network's coverage of the Israel-Hizballah war.
    The report's startling lack of representation of the suffering experienced by so many Israeli civilians stood in stark contrast to the interviews and video footage taken of Lebanese children and scenes of wreckage in Lebanon.
    The report did not mention any Israeli casualties, and no interviews with Israeli civilians were conducted. There were no interviews from Israeli hospitals, and no mention made of the million Israelis who had been living in bomb shelters for almost a month.
    Also glaringly absent were images of destroyed homes and buildings across northern Israel.
    See also Foreign Media Sidelines Haifa - Yaakov Lappin (Ynet News)

Gazans Worry IDF Will "Settle Accounts" - Avi Issacharoff (Ha'aretz)
    Gaza residents' greatest fear is that after Israel finishes the war up north, it will be free to settle accounts with the Palestinians.
    The impression is that most Gaza residents would be happy to return kidnapped soldier Cpl. Gilad Shalit to Israel.
    There are almost daily reports of assassinations, abductions, and clan fights in Gaza. A citizen who wants to resolve a legal problem knows that the best way is to bypass the courts and hire armed men.
    $100 will buy you four armed men for a whole day; they can help with debt collection, removing business rivals, or taking over land.
    The Erez industrial zone is no longer recognizable. Every day dozens of youth can be seen at the ruins of the Israeli industrial buildings, dismantling everything they can get their hands on: tiles, cinder blocks, plastic, and pipes.

Anti-Hizballah Comment Sparks West Bank Riot (AP/Jerusalem Post)
    In Jenin in the West Bank, two Palestinian families went after each other with knives and clubs at a wedding after one guest cursed the leader of Hizballah, Palestinian security officials said Monday. Seven people were seriously wounded.

Useful Reference:

Website Showcases Northern Residents' War Stories - Adinah Greene (Jerusalem Post)
    A new website has been launched to share the experiences of Israelis in the north who have lived through a month of rocket attacks:

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Bush Asserts Hizballah Is Loser in Lebanese Conflict - Jim Rutenberg
    President Bush on Monday declared that Hizballah had been the loser in the month-long fight with Israel and warned Syria and Iran against resupplying the Lebanese militia. Israel and the U.S. said Hizballah was the loser because the UN Security Council called for ending its control of southern Lebanon. "Hizballah, of course, has got a fantastic propaganda machine and they're claiming victories," Bush said. "But how can you claim victory when at one time you were a state within a state, safe within southern Lebanon, and now you're going to be replaced with a Lebanese Army and an international force?" (New York Times)
        See also Hizballah Claims Victory
    Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah declared Monday that his fighters had achieved a "strategic and historic victory" over Israel and that it was "wrong timing and immoral" to publicly discuss disarming the group, but he was open to dialogue about Hizballah's weapons at the appropriate time. Nasrallah also said his group would help pay those whose homes were damaged. (Daily Star-Lebanon)
        See also Lebanon Won't Disarm Hizballah - Amos Harel
    Lebanon's Defense Minister Elias Murr told LBC Television, "The army is not going to the south to strip Hizballah of weapons and do the work Israel did not." "The resistance [Hizballah] is cooperating to the utmost level so that as soon as the Lebanese army arrives in the south there will be no weapons but those of the army." (Ha'aretz)
        See also UNIFIL Peacekeepers Will Not Disarm Hizballah
    The French commander of UNIFIL, Maj.-Gen. Alain Pellegrini, said Tuesday that his peacekeeping force will not attempt to disarm Hizballah. Dealing with Hizballah was an internal Lebanese matter, and the 15,000 UN troops to be deployed under his command would not get involved, Pellegrini said. It was up to Lebanon to deploy its army in the south and deal with the Hizballah presence. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Confronts Arms from Iran, Syria, Russia - Adrian Blomfield
    Abandoned Hizballah positions in Lebanon Monday revealed conclusive evidence that Syria and Iran provided the anti-tank missiles that blunted the power of Israel's armor. Outside a mosque in Ghandouriyeh, east of Tyre, a van was found filled with green casings about 6 feet long. The serial numbers identified them as AT-5 Spandrel anti-tank missiles. The wire-guided weapon was developed in Russia but Iran began making a copy in 2000.
        At a Hizballah outpost lay eight Kornet anti-tank rockets. Written on each casing were the words: "Customer: Ministry of Defense of Syria. Supplier: KBP, Tula, Russia." The Kornet, unveiled by Russia in 1994, is laser-guided, has a range of three miles, and carries a double warhead capable of penetrating the reactive armor on Israeli Merkava tanks. Russia started supplying them to Syria in 1998. (Telegraph-UK)
  • Resilience on Israel's Front Line - Tracy Wilkinson
    In the most extensive lethal rocket and mortar barrage of Israel's history, Kiryat Shmona has absorbed the brunt. The shells of cars burned by Hizballah attacks have been shoved to the sides of nearly deserted roads, where the bricks and stones and glass of ruined buildings are scattered. Residents have huddled in stairwells, covered car parks, and basement shelters every time the air-raid sirens wailed - five, six, ten times a day. And yet some of the people of Kiryat Shmona have been trying to carry on with some semblance of a normal life.
        They are not the emergency workers, whose mission is defined by disaster, but ordinary people whose work these days has involved defying death just to ring up purchases, fill a prescription, pump gas. or deliver a pizza. In times of crisis, these Israelis illustrate the national ethos of perseverance and chutzpah. A local mental health expert calls the residents "islands of resilience" who radiate stability that is good for the entire community. (Los Angeles Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Northern Israel Residents Emerge from Shelters, Find Ruined Homes, Burned Vehicles - Aviram Zino
    The ceasefire that went into effect Monday morning allowed northern Israel residents to finally emerge out of bomb shelters and come back home from their temporary stay in the center of the country. In the northern town of Kiryat Shmona, 2,003 homes sustained damage along with more than 150 vehicles and dozens of public buildings, including schools, factories, businesses, synagogues, and kindergartens. In Safed, at least 600 homes were damaged and more than 100 cars hit by rockets. In Nahariya, about 150 homes sustained direct hits, while hundreds of other apartments were also damaged, along with dozens of businesses. (Ynet News)
  • Two Fox TV Reporters Kidnapped in Gaza - Ali Waked
    Palestinian gunmen ambushed a car carrying a Fox News crew in Gaza City on Monday and kidnapped reporter Steve Centanni, 60, and cameraman Olaf Wiig, 36. The news crew, along with a bodyguard, were parked in a vehicle marked "TV" near the headquarters of the Palestinian security services when two trucks filled with gunmen pulled up and boxed them in. (Ynet News)
  • West Bank Withdrawal Panel: No Solution to Rocket Threat - Aluf Benn
    Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni appointed a committee last year to delineate Israel's interests in the West Bank and the factors that need to be considered for a unilateral pullout and evacuation of settlements. The committee has presented senior political officials with its report on the legal, security, and economic difficulties that are likely to inhibit the plan's implementation. A source with access to the report said its main conclusion is that Israel has no security solution to the threat of rockets launched from the West Bank against Israeli population centers. The report's authors assume that following a unilateral Israeli pullout from the West Bank, Hamas will take over and deploy rockets. Currently, the IDF's only solution to the rocket threat is its actual presence in the territories and control of the high ground. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The War between Israel and Hizballah - Richard Cohen
    This zealotry, this ideology, this religious fervor is not something we in the West know how to deal with. The fight is no longer over territory - the West Bank, Gaza - but over the very existence of Israel. The people who seem to hate Israel most, who will kill to kill it and die for it to die, are not reclaiming ancestral land - no Iranian pines for his lost orange grove near Jaffa - but instead cannot abide the very idea of Israel.
        If these are the "birth pangs of the new Middle East," then what is being produced is not some cute, babbling democracies but a hideous monster. Just wait until he reaches for a nuclear weapon. (Washington Post)
  • Lebanese Shi'ite Intellectual Dares to Criticize Hizballah - Rana Fil
    In a scathing essay titled "To Be a Shi'ite Now," published in the daily newspaper An-Nahar, Lebanese University psychology professor Mona Fayad attacked fellow Shi'ites who blindly follow the leadership of Hizballah on a path "no different from suicide." To be a Shi'ite now "means entrusting your fate to the wise and infallible leadership without daring to ask any question," Fayad wrote. To be a Shi'ite now "is to block your mind" and let Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, "command you, drive you, decide for you what he wants from the weapons of Hizballah." Fayad's essay gave vent to some of the frustration and anger that have built up among many Shi'ites. (Boston Globe)
  • The Triumph of Unrealism - George F. Will
    Hizballah has willingly suffered (temporary) military diminution in exchange for enormous political enlargement. Hitherto Hizballah in Lebanon was a "state within a state." Henceforth, the Lebanese state may be an appendage of Hizballah, as the collapsing Palestinian Authority is an appendage of the terrorist organization Hamas. The UN has twice resolved that Hizballah should be disarmed, yet has not willed the means to that end. (Washington Post)
  • Observations:

    Why America Wants Hizballah Beaten Even More Than Israel Does
    - Henri J. Barkey ( Star-Lebanon)

    • The Hizballah model represents the nightmarish metamorphosis of a well-supplied and trained militia. If it can work in Lebanon, the model can be emulated elsewhere around the globe to other failed or semi-failed states. All you need is an external patron willing to invest resources just as Iran has in this case, and a supportive population base.
    • The Hizballah model completely emasculates the notion that a state is defined by, among other things, a monopoly over the means of violence.
    • Hizballah extends Iran's reach well beyond the immediate region and the Middle East, but also to far-flung places such as South America. Any outcome that does not end up with Hizballah's disarmament is another step in the institutionalization of the model under Iranian tutelage.
    • The U.S. as the sole superpower, which for better or worse also acts as the world's first responder, cannot afford to see the proliferation of Hizballah-like organizations deciding the fate of nations.

      The writer is chair of the International Relations Department at Lehigh University and a former member of the State Department's policy planning staff.

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