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Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

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August 16, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

IDF: Hizballah May Infiltrate Lebanese Army - Ilan Marciano (Ynet News)
    IDF Northern Command head Maj.-Gen. Udi Adam expressed concern Tuesday over the prospect of Hizballah fighters joining the Lebanese army as southern Lebanon is handed over to Lebanese control.
    He also noted that Hizballah fighters could be hiding among the southern Lebanon residents making their way back to their homes.
    Adam said IDF troops will start leaving Lebanon in the coming days, with areas being vacated by the army handed over to UN forces, which will in turn hand them over to the Lebanese army.
    He said 550 Hizballah fighters were killed, including several senior figures.
    "We fought against a Hizballah that was equipped and operating like an Iranian commando division," Adam said.

Hizballah Leads Work to Rebuild in Lebanon - John Kifner (New York Times)
    Hizballah is already dominating efforts to rebuild in Lebanon with a torrent of money from oil-rich Iran.
    Nehme Tohme, a member of the Lebanese parliament from the anti-Syrian reform bloc and the country's minister for the displaced, said he had been told by Hizballah officials that Iran would provide Hizballah with an "unlimited budget" for reconstruction.
    Hizballah men traveled door to door asking residents what help they needed.

Tanks and Anti-Tank Missiles - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
    IDF Armored Corps head Brig.-Gen. Halutsi Rudoy said Tuesday that out of almost 400 tanks in Lebanon, 40 were damaged by antitank missiles and 20 were penetrated, killing 30 tank crew members.
    Trophy, a Rafael-developed active protection system that creates a hemispheric protected zone around armored vehicles, may be fitted on tanks once it is deemed operational.
    See also Tough Lessons for Israeli Armor - Jonathan Marcus (BBC News)

Palestinians Fire Rockets at Israel from Schoolyard (Palestinian Center for Human Rights)
    On Monday, four members of the al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of Islamic Jihad, launched a missile at Israeli territory from inside the Agricultural Secondary School in Beit Hanoun in Gaza.

Palestinians Kill "Collaborator" in West Bank - (AP/Fox News)
    Five Islamic Jihad gunmen on Sunday shot and killed Bassem Malah, 22, an alleged "collaborator," in front of about five hundred people in a public square in Jenin in the West Bank, accusing him of giving information to Israeli authorities, witnesses said.
    As the unmasked gunmen fired into Malah's chest, some in the crowd chanted "Allahu Akhbar," or God is Great, and anti-Israel slogans.
    See also A Death Cult Party in Jenin - Photos (Little Green Footballs)

Wounded IDF Troops' Next Battle - Meital Yasur-Beit Or (Ynet News)
    For dozens of IDF troops who were hurt in Lebanon, the war is only beginning. Some 20 soldiers are hospitalized at the orthopedic rehabilitation department at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, near Tel Aviv.
    Department director Dr. Yitzhak Ziv-Ner explained, "Rehabilitation can take days to weeks for some patients and long months for others. This is the wounded soldiers' real war."

Useful Reference:

One Soldier's War (Jerusalem Post)
    We were to penetrate some ten kilometers into Lebanon and root out Hizballah fighters concentrated in bunkers on a mountain slope facing northern Israel.

Video: Photographic Tribute to the Israel Defense Forces and Its Fallen Heroes (YouTube)

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  • Hizballah Balks at Withdrawal from South Lebanon - Edward Cody and Doug Struck
    Hizballah refused to disarm and withdraw its fighters from the battle-scarred hills along the border with Israel on Tuesday, threatening to delay deployment of the Lebanese army and endangering a fragile cease-fire. Hizballah indicated it would be willing to pull back in exchange for a promise from the Lebanese army not to probe too carefully for underground bunkers and weapons caches. (Washington Post)
        See also Hizballah in No Hurry to Leave South Lebanon - Zvi Bar'el
    The head of the Lebanese army, Gen. Michel Suleiman, insists that his forces not go south as long as the Israel Defense Forces are there, and as long as he has no orders regarding Hizballah and its materiel. Suleiman does not want to deal with demilitarization since he knows the Lebanese army might have to stand an impossible military and ethnic test in the face of Hizballah opposition. Hizballah, which is also a partner in the Lebanese government, claims there is nothing preventing the Lebanese army from deploying in the south, without reference to Hizballah's standing there. Hizballah also claims that over the past six years it has operated alongside UNIFIL, and now is willing only to limit its military activities, not dismantle its facilities.
        Thus, the scenario of demilitarization in the south envisioned by Resolution 1701 might receive a far-reaching interpretation by which the government agrees at the first stage to the twin presence of Hizballah and the Lebanese army until national consensus on demilitarization is achieved. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Unresolved: Disarming Hizballah - Scott Peterson (Christian Science Monitor )
  • No Country Has Committed to Sending Troops to Lebanon - Colum Lynch
    Four days after the Security Council authorized 15,000 UN peacekeepers for Lebanon, not one country has formally committed to sending troops. Jean-Marie Guehenno, a French national who heads the UN peacekeeping department, said Tuesday that while UN peacekeepers are authorized to use force, they "are not going to forcibly disarm Hizballah." (Washington Post)
        See also France Insists that Hizballah Disarm Ahead of Troop Move - Martin Arnold (Financial Times-UK)
        See also UN Force Needs Year to Reach Full Strength
    A new UN force planned for Lebanon will take a year to reach full strength, said Maj.-Gen. Alain Pellegrini, the Frenchman who leads UNIFIL, the current UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon which has some 2,000 troops. "It's going to take a year to bring the number of men to 15,000," Pellegrini said. "In the short term, our priority is to give a hand to the Lebanese army." In New York, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric has said Pellegrini was expected to remain in charge of the bigger force. (Reuters)
  • Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad: "Syria Is Prepared for War"; "This Is a New Stage in the History of the Nation"; "The Golan Will Be Liberated by Syrian Hands"
    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told the Egyptian opposition weekly Al-Usbu' in an interview on Monday that the Golan Heights would be liberated by Syrian hands, and warned that Israel will pay a heavy price if it enters into war with Syria: "Syria has been prepared and ready since the first day of the war....[Sharon's] having been elected by such a large majority meant that the Israeli people do not want peace, and it also meant that the option of resistance was the basis for dealing with the belligerent aspirations of Sharon and his government....We and the resistance [Hizballah] read clearly [this state of affairs, and knew] that the day of confrontation was definitely approaching. The current war is five years old, and there were widespread preparations for this day." (MEMRI)
        See also Syria's Assad Blasts U.S. Plans for Mideast - Khaled Yacoub Oweis
    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Tuesday Hizballah's "victory" in the recent war with Israel had destroyed U.S. plans to reshape the Middle East. (Reuters)
        See also German Minister Cancels Syria Trip - Roula Khalaf and Hugh Williamson
    Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany's foreign minister, on Tuesday abruptly cancelled a planned visit to Syria after President Assad delivered a hard-hitting speech that ridiculed Israel's military offensive in Lebanon and warned against disarming Hizballah. Steinmeier has led European efforts to draw the Assad regime into plans to end the Lebanon-Israel crisis. (Financial Times-UK)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israel Threatens to Resume War if Hizballah Refuses to Disarm - Gil Hoffman
    The IDF will have to resume operations in Lebanon if the expanded UN force does not fulfill its obligation to dismantle Hizballah, an official in the Prime Minister's Office warned on Tuesday. Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora and Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah reportedly reached a deal allowing Hizballah to keep its weapons but refrain from exhibiting them in public. Israeli officials called the arrangement a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701. "If the resolution is not implemented, we will have to take action to prevent the rearming of Hizballah....There has to be pressure on Hizballah to disarm or there will have to be another round," the official said.
        UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Tuesday that "dismantling Hizballah is not the direct mandate of the UN," which could only help Lebanon disarm the organization. According to Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev, the two main tasks of the expanded UN force would be enforcing a "Hizballah-free zone" in south Lebanon and an international arms embargo on Hizballah. He said the resolution detailed the placement of international forces at all crossing points into Lebanon, comprising those from Syria as well as airports and seaports. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also IDF Says Free to Hit Syrian Arms Convoys - Yaakov Katz
    Despite the cease-fire between Israel and Hizballah, the IDF is allowed to destroy Syrian weapons convoys that cross into Lebanon to reach Hizballah, a top IDF officer said Tuesday. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Hizballah's Katyushas Killed 18 Israeli Arabs - Amira Hass
    During the past month, Hizballah's Katyushas killed 18 Israeli Arabs among the 41 Israeli civilians who died in the war. Clearly, Hassan Nasrallah didn't mean to kill them, but the fact that it was unintended is meaningless. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Israeli Arabs' War Experience - Roee Nahmias
    Several Arab families decided to act on Nasrallah's "recommendation" and leave rocket-stricken Haifa. They traveled to Palestinian towns like Bethlehem, Ramallah, and even eastern Jerusalem, but soon decided to return home and face the rocket menace. The reason: The bad treatment awarded to them in hotels, restaurants, and stores, as well as ongoing harassment of their wives and daughters by the local residents. (Ynet News)
  • IDF Stops Palestinian Gunmen Infiltrating from Gaza
    The IDF shot two armed Palestinians trying to infiltrate the security fence into Israel from Gaza on Tuesday night. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Palestinian Rocket Fire from Gaza Continues - Etgar Lefkovits
    Palestinian gunmen fired two rockets from Gaza into Israel Tuesday that landed near Kibbutz Nahal Oz. Palestinians have fired more than one thousand rockets at Israel since Israel withdrew from Gaza one year ago. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • A Path to Lasting Peace - Condoleezza Rice
    The United States has insisted that a truly effective cease-fire requires a decisive change from the status quo that produced this war. UN Resolution 1701 clearly lays out the political principles to secure a lasting peace: no foreign forces, no weapons, and no authority in Lebanon other than that of the sovereign Lebanese government. Now, for the first time, the international community has put its full weight behind a practical political framework to help the Lebanese government realize these principles, including the disarmament of all militias operating on its territory. Once implemented, this will be a strategic setback for the Syrian and Iranian regimes.
        Already, we hear Hizballah trying to claim victory. But others, in Lebanon and across the region, are asking themselves what Hizballah's extremism has really achieved: the blame of the world for causing this war. (Washington Post)
  • UN Resolution 1701 - A Quarter-Filled Glass - Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror
    The UN Security Council's resolution presents fertile ground for Hizballah to prepare for the next war. The resolution does not call for the immediate return of the two abducted soldiers. A timeframe for carrying out the clauses of the resolution has not been set, not for the disarmament of Hizballah nor for the deployment of forces south of the Litani River. Moreover, no international body has been appointed to prevent further arms shipments from Syria and Iran. The resolution leaves this up to the Lebanese government. Therefore, from the moment the cease-fire goes into effect, new weapons will find their way to Hizballah. (Ynet News)
  • Between Wars - Editorial
    Will the fragile cease-fire in Lebanon hold? Should it hold? No on both counts. To repeat for the record, it was Hizballah - and not Israel - that ignited the current crisis. Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was correct when he warned Monday that "there will be another round" of fighting. "Right now, we are in an interim period between wars," he added. "And there is no one who will prevent our enemies from preparing for the next round."
        This is the fourth time the UN Security Council has demanded that Hizballah relinquish control of southern Lebanon and unilaterally disarm. All of the previous demands were simply ignored by Hizballah - without consequence. Indeed, history suggests that only Israel stands to be handcuffed by the UN. More basically, Iran's ambitions are such that the latest cease-fire is doomed - and every honest player in the game knows it. Sooner or later, Israel will have no option other than to finish what it already has started - or, rather, to win the war forced on it by Iran and its terrorist cats-paw, Hizballah. Sooner is better than later. (New York Post)
  • The Spider Web War - Sever Plocker
    Hassan Nasrallah's supreme strategic objective when he provoked Israel was to expose what he views as the fundamental weakness of Israeli society (which is made up of "spider webs," as he characterized it); adoration of stability and the good life, and as a result, an Israeli unwillingness to risk a war. The Zionists in Israel are not as determined to fight as we are, claimed Nasrallah. This conception collapsed in the second Lebanon War. Israel proved that its strength has not been eroded and that its motivation to respond to a threat perceived as existential through total war has not been eroded either, regardless of this war's price in both human lives and economic terms. This willingness of the Jews to defend their country is a basic component in the Israeli power of deterrence.
        Ever since the war of the cities between Teheran and Baghdad in the early 1980s, no geographical area has sustained such a large quantity of rockets and missiles as the Israeli north did during the second Lebanon War. Nasrallah, take a look: Those who survived your 4,000 Katyusha rockets constitute an unyielding home front. (Ynet News)
  • Observations:

    Lebanon Cease-Fire Deal Reflects Shift in Bush's Expectations - Peter Wallsten (Los Angeles Times)

    • For weeks, the Bush administration resisted international pressure for a cease-fire between Israel and Hizballah, insisting that only disarming the militant group would cure a "root cause" of hostility. But the truce that took effect Monday left Hizballah largely intact and outlines no clear path to its disarmament.
    • Several analysts called the UN resolution a "considerable scaling back" of the administration's aspirations, with the resolution vague about how Hizballah would be tamed and how Iran and Syria would be prevented from continuing to send the group weapons, including advanced rockets.
    • "I don't think Hizballah is likely to be disarmed," said Joshua Muravchik, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
    • As it became clear in recent days that the Israelis were not going to wipe out Hizballah, support in the White House shifted to the advocates for more diplomacy.

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