Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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August 22, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

U.S.-Bound Weapons Shipment from Saudi Arabia Seized in Italy (AFP/TradeArabia-Bahrain)
    Italian authorities seized a container full of weapons including 70 Kalashnikov assault rifles and plastic explosives bound for the U.S. from Saudi Arabia in May, Il Mattino newspaper reported.

Northern Israeli Town Picks Up the Pieces - Oakland Ross (Toronto Star)
    Welcome to Kiryat Shmona, Israel - the Katyusha capital of the world. Roughly 930 missiles crashed down on the city during the course of this summer's Middle East war.
    About 350 of them hit something built by humans - a house, a factory, a school, a mall. Some 2,000 private homes were damaged by rockets, either from direct hits or by shrapnel. Three schools were also hit.
    Some 150 people in Kiryat Shmona were injured during the war - mostly as a result of flying shrapnel - but miraculously none was killed. About 70 percent of the population fled the fighting.
    The population has returned to its pre-war level, but the community still has an eerie, shell-shocked mood, as if at any moment the air-raid sirens could begin to wail all over again.
    See also After the War, an Israeli City Starts Over - Dina Kraft (New York Times)

Israel and the West Can Do Nothing to Appease the Islamists - Shelby Steele (Wall Street Journal, 22Aug06)
    Every Israeli land-for-peace gesture has been met with a return volley of suicide bombers and rockets.
    Palestinians have balked every time their longed-for nationhood has come within grasp, seeming to prefer the aggrieved dignity of their resentments to the challenges of nationhood.
    And Hizballah launched the current war from territory Israel had relinquished six years earlier.
    This war makes clear that Israel can do nothing to appease the Muslim animus against her.
    And now much of the West is in a similar position, living in a state of ever-heightening security against the constant threat of violence from Islamic extremists.
    The writer is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford.

UN Fosters Hizballah - Salim Mansur (Toronto Sun)
    UN Resolution 1701 is a Chapter 6 resolution with no teeth, calling for "cessation of hostilities" between Hizballah and Israel and, thereby, establishes an outrageous equivalence between a terrorist organization and a UN-member state with a democratically elected government.
    As for the disbanding of militias, neither what passes for Lebanese authority in Beirut, nor UNIFIL, even with additional peacekeepers, will risk a firefight to disarm Hizballah.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Bush: "Make Sure Hizballah Doesn't Rearm"
    President Bush said Monday: "You have people launch attacks on a sovereign nation without the consent of the government in the country in which they are lodged. And that's why it's very important for all of us, those of us who are involved in this process, to get an international force into Lebanon to help the Lebanese government achieve some objectives. One is their ability to exert control over the entire country; secondly is to make sure that the Hizballah forces don't rearm, don't get arms from Syria or Iran through Syria, to be able to continue to wreak havoc in the region."
        "There will be another resolution coming out of the United Nations giving further instructions to the international force. First things first; is to get the rules of engagement clear, so that the force will be robust to help the Lebanese. One thing is for certain - is that when this force goes in to help Lebanon, Hizballah won't have that safe haven, or that kind of freedom to run in Lebanon's southern border....The Lebanese government is eventually going to have to deal with Hizballah." (White House)
  • Italy Offers to Lead UN Force for Lebanon - Alistair Lyon
    Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi said Monday he had told UN chief Kofi Annan his country was willing to command the UN force for Lebanon and offered 2,000 troops. (Reuters)
  • UN Inspectors Denied Access to Iran Nuclear Site
    Iran has turned away International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors from an underground site meant to shelter its uranium enrichment program from attack, diplomats and UN officials said Monday. Iran's unprecedented refusal to allow access to the facility at Natanz could seriously hamper international attempts to ensure Tehran is not trying to produce nuclear weapons as well as violate a key part of the Nonproliferation Treaty. Iran has denied entry visas to two IAEA inspectors in the last few weeks. IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei is due to report by Sept. 11 to the agency's board of governors on Iran's compliance to an Aug. 31 UN Security Council deadline on freezing enrichment. (AP/Fox News)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • IDF Kills Three Hizballah Gunmen - Yaakov Katz
    IDF troops killed three Hizballah gunmen who approached an IDF force in Shama in the western sector of southern Lebanon on Monday. The IDF is currently holding positions in southern Lebanon in preparation for the transfer of the territory to a new multinational force. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Abbas Drops Plans to Deploy Anti-Rocket Force - Khaled Abu Toameh
    PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was forced to call off plans to deploy several hundred PA security personnel in the northern Gaza Strip in an attempt to stop the firing of rockets at Israel, when several armed groups, including militias from his own Fatah movement, threatened to attack these forces, PA officials said Monday. One PA official said that while Hamas had accepted Abbas' proposal to halt rocket attacks, Fatah's armed wing, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, and the Islamic Jihad rejected the cease-fire proposal.
        According to the official, Abbas and the rest of the Fatah leadership have almost no control over the various Fatah militias operating in Gaza. "Fatah has at least seven or eight armed groups in the Gaza Strip and some of them are receiving financial aid from Hizballah, Syria, and Iran," he said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • U.S. to Israel: No Financial Aid for War - Herb Keinon
    Washington has let Jerusalem know that for now Israel should not expect any financial aid to help defray the cost of the war in Lebanon. Israel was apparently hoping to fold an aid request into a large-scale financial package being discussed in Washington to help rebuild southern Lebanon. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also U.S. Extends Israel Loan Guarantees until 2011 - Zeev Klein
    At Israel's request, the U.S. administration has extended U.S. loan guarantees by three years until 2011, making it easier for the Israeli government to raise financing for the second Lebanese war. Israel has still not yet used $4.6 billion of the $9 billion program, which began in 2003. (Globes)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Where Are the Peacekeepers? - Editorial
    With every passing day, the UN resolution's more ambitious goals - put a robust peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon, disarm Hizballah militants, and stop Iran and Syria from rearming them - seem more like a fantasy. The best hope now is to shut down the flow of weapons to Hizballah, which can otherwise use the cease-fire period to rebuild its stock of rockets and missiles. Israel served notice that it is prepared to do that itself if the UN won't. (USA Today)
        See also French Fade-Out May Spell Disaster - Editorial
    So this is a "robust international force?" So far the 30,000-member force that was supposed to secure a fragile peace between Israel and Hizballah consists of the same UN crew of 2,000 that has been ineffective for the past 28 years - and 3,000 members of an untested and unproven Lebanese army newly arrived on the scene. Is it any wonder Hizballah apparently feels free to continue smuggling arms. As long as there is a power vacuum, Hizballah will happily fill it. And the chances of the cease-fire sticking fade with each passing day. (Boston Herald)
  • Hizballah in Lebanon: The War Was Not Supposed to End This Way - Chuck Freilich
    The IDF knew that Hizballah could not be defeated without a major ground operation: its plan did not fail - it was never implemented. Israel must adopt and aggressively implement a realistic deterrent posture, with clear "red lines." Hizballah attacks, even attempts to redeploy, should cause an immediate and overwhelming response. Israel, not Hizballah, must have escalation dominance. Lebanese and international forces will do little to ensure security and will end up as a cover for ongoing Hizballah operations, hampering Israel's freedom of movement. Hizballah will neither disarm nor redeploy from the south. Another round is likely. Israel must prepare to win the next round against Hizballah decisively. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Lebanon : The Myth of Hizballah's Victory - Amir Taheri
    Debate about "who won" has raged in the Arab world and Israel, not to mention the Western media. Some Arab writers have continued a long tradition of self-deception that represents every defeat as victory. Because neither side was pushed to his threshold of pain, there is no winner and no loser. This is a recipe for a bigger war sooner or later.
        Was Israel hurt enough to think of surrendering or at least to change its overall policy? Has Bush been hurt enough to abandon his plans or, at least, stop pushing Iran's back to the wall on the nuclear issue? Has the Islamic Republic been hurt enough to realize that it cannot challenge the American script for the Middle East through proxy wars? Has Hizballah been hurt enough to understand that it cannot offer the Lebanese Shi'ites long-term leadership by dragging them into what is essentially a duel between the U.S. and Iran? The answer to all these questions is: no. (Asharq al-Awsat-UK)
  • Observations:

    No Calm after the Storm - Mortimer B. Zuckerman (New York Daily News)

    • Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, the boss of Hizballah (and Iran's puppet), has already said he won't disarm. To no one's surprise, the Lebanese defense minister vows not to order his army to confiscate Hizballah's rockets, mainly because his army couldn't defeat the New York City Police Department.
    • As for the UN, its record in Somalia, Bosnia, and Lebanon offers little cause for hope. So nobody will do it, which means, of course, the prospect of more rockets and missiles raining on Israeli civilians.
    • How should civilized countries deal with terrorists who hide among women and children. A country under attack must defend its citizens. Period.
    • How can the civilized world establish and enforce the principle that civilians are never to be used as human shields? We must have a process for irrefutable international condemnation of terrorists who employ such measures.
    • Failing to do so would mean the terrorists win either on the field of war or in the field of public opinion - while the defenders lose either on the field of war or in the field of international opinion - a lose-lose for the civilized world.

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