Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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August 31, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Hizballah Had Broad Access to Sophisticated Weaponry - Peter Spiegel and Laura King (Los Angeles Times)
    New postwar intelligence indicates that Hizballah had broader access to sophisticated weaponry than was publicly known - including large numbers of medium-range rockets made in Syria, said U.S. and Israeli government officials and military analysts.

    See also below Observations: Hizballah's Rocket Campaign Against Northern Israel: A Preliminary Report - Uzi Rubin (with 14 photos and map) (ICA/JCPA)

U.S. May Consider Additional Aid to IDF - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
    If Israel asks, the U.S. would "seriously consider" granting the Defense Ministry additional financial assistance because of the huge expenses incurred during the war in Lebanon, a high-ranking U.S. diplomat revealed Wednesday.
    Israel spent over $6 billion on war-related expenses during the war.

Chilling Killing Guide - Arnold Beichman (Washington Times)
    On June 15, 2006, Amer al-Najdi posted on the Islamist Al-Hesbah website a "Plan of Action for the Jihad Fighter: How to Kill a Crusader in the Arabian Peninsula," explaining "the security measures to be employed by the jihad fighter when he wants to kill a Westerner."
    "Try as much as possible to look like someone who is not religious....It is greatly preferable to be shaven."
    "Immediately get rid of everything in your car that indicates that you are religious, such as jihad cassettes."
    "While you are carrying out the operation, be careful not to take your cell phone with you, especially if it has a camera."
    "If the Crusader works at a company where you work, or at a company where someone you know works, strike him on his day off, or somewhere as to distance you from suspicion."
    "It is desirable to film the operation so it can be presented by the media, so that it has a broader impact."

Hizballah Presents: How to Recruit Children - Roee Nahmias (Ynet News)
    Material collected by Israel Defense Forces soldiers in southern Lebanon - alongside weapons, rockets, and explosives - reveals a picture of Hizballah's "educational" activities among children and youth in southern Lebanon villages.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Israel Pegs Lebanon Pullout to Release of Kidnapped Soldiers - Laura King
    Israel signaled Wednesday that it would not lift its air and sea blockade of Lebanon or withdraw the rest of its troops until two Israeli soldiers seized by Hizballah were freed. After UN Secretary General Kofi Annan met Wednesday with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem and called for an immediate easing of Israel's embargo, Olmert responded by saying the UN cease-fire resolution must first be fully implemented. His office said later that Israel would not consider the terms of the resolution to have been met until the two captured servicemen were freed. (Los Angeles Times)
        See also Hizballah: Israeli Soldiers Won't Be Freed Unconditionally
    Hizballah cabinet minister Mohammed Fneish said in Beirut Wednesday that Hizballah will not release two captured Israeli soldiers unconditionally, and that they would only be freed in a prisoner exchange. (AP/San Diego Union-Tribune)
  • U.S. Drafting Sanctions as Iran Ignores Deadline - Helene Cooper and David E. Sanger
    With Iran defying a Thursday deadline to halt production of nuclear fuel, the U.S. and three European allies are assembling a list of sanctions they would seek in the UN Security Council, beginning with restrictions on imports of nuclear-related equipment and material. Eventually, punitive measures might expand to restrict travel by Iran's leaders and limit the country's access to global financial markets. Aside from the effort in the Council, the Bush administration is also seeking to persuade European financial institutions to end new lending to Iran. Some Swiss banks have already quietly agreed. (New York Times)
  • Venezuela's Chavez Receives Hero's Welcome in Damascus
    President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela received a hero's welcome on Wednesday in Syria, where he said the two countries would "build a new world" free of domination by the U.S. Thousands of Syrians waved banners and flags along Chavez's route to a meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Chavez has compared Israel's airstrikes in Lebanon to the Holocaust, and earlier this month withdrew his country's ambassador from Israel in protest. (AP/New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Hizballah: We're Arming for Second Round - Dudi Cohen
    Hizballah representative in Iran Muhammad Abdullah Sif al-Din said Wednesday that Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah has a new strategic plan to rearm ahead of the "next round against Israel." Sif al-Din said his organization had no intention of disarming and that there was no possibility that Hizballah would join the Lebanese army. (Ynet News)
  • Five Palestinian Rockets Hit Sderot Thursday
    Five rockets fired by Palestinians in Gaza hit the Israeli town of Sderot on Thursday. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Abbas to Gaza Rocket Crews: Stop Shooting "Pipes" at Israel - Khaled Abu Toameh
    PA Chairman Abbas launched a scathing attack Wednesday on armed groups that are firing rockets at Israel from Gaza, saying they were responsible for bringing death and destruction to the Palestinians. Abbas described the rockets that are being fired into Israel as "pipes" that provided Israel with an excuse to carry out military operations in the Gaza Strip. "If these pipes provide [Israel] an excuse, it's time to stop using them," he said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Hizballah the Underdog with Wads of Cash?: Interview with Bill Maher - Larry King
    The world asks Israel to maintain a level of restraint when they're attacked that no other country would ever be asked to uphold. Can you imagine if there was a terrorist organization that took over Canada on our northern border and they started shelling us in our northern cities and Minnesota and Bangor, Maine? The media always likes what they perceive as the underdog, not that Hizballah is really the underdog at this point. Did you see those pictures of Hizballah handing out cash? A day after the war ended there is Hizballah peeling off hundred dollar bills. Where did it come from? It came from U.S. consumers buying gasoline. Iran sells us the oil, they give the money to Hizballah, and Hizballah shells Israel. (CNN)
  • Why Canadian Prime Minister Harper Backs Israel, No Matter What - Thomas Walkom
    Prime Minister Stephen Harper's rock-solid support for Israel's actions in Lebanon stems from his firm belief that Canadian foreign policy must be based on the morality of certitude. Put simply, he believes in choosing sides and staying there. He has no sympathy for those who argue that in places like the Middle East or Afghanistan, competing claims must be understood and dealt with in order to come up with workable solutions. In Harper's moral and political universe, a country makes its alliances with others on the basis of shared core values. And then it supports those countries, no matter what. (Toronto Star)
  • Observations:

    Hizballah's Rocket Campaign Against Northern Israel: A Preliminary Report
    - Uzi Rubin (with 14 photos and map)
    (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    • From July 13 to August 13, the Israel Police reported 4,228 rocket impacts inside Israel from rockets fired by Hizballah. No geographical area in the world has sustained such a large quantity of rocket strikes since the Iran-Iraq war in the early 1980s.
    • Most rockets fired by Hizballah at Israel were taken from the Syrian arsenal rather than from Iran. On most occasions, the rocket warhead contained anti-personnel munitions, a mixture of explosives and steel balls or fragments that were lethal to all those caught outside.
    • One-fourth of the rockets that landed within Israel landed within built-up areas. During the first two weeks, rocket attacks averaged about 100 per day. Then in early August, Hizballah proceeded to double its rate of fire to a daily average of 200 rocket attacks. There was a decline during the final week, but on August 13, the day before the cease-fire, 250 rockets landed in Israel. Israeli counterattacks apparently had no serious influence on Hizballah's rate of fire, but had an effect on the accuracy and geography of the attacks.
    • Israel's losses and damage from Hizballah rocket attacks include 53 fatalities, 250 severely wounded, and 2,000 lightly wounded. There was extensive damage to hundreds of dwellings, several public utilities, and dozens of industrial plants. One million Israelis lived near or in shelters or security rooms, with some 250,000 civilians evacuating the north and relocating to other areas of the country.
    • Early Warning sirens provided timely alarms, saving innumerable lives. Israel's long-standing policy of constructing public shelters, combined with building codes that require reinforced spaces in private dwellings, proved to be generally effective as a system of passive defense against most of the rockets fired by Hizballah. Nearly 80 percent of fatalities involved persons caught in the open.
    • Rockets and rocket launchers emerged as one of the defining weapons of the second Lebanon War and will remain so in the foreseeable future. This impacts on the security of U.S. and Western interests in the Middle East. Effective response measures must be devised and deployed as soon as possible. Two objectives should be pursued: first, to reduce the "Flash to Bang" (Hizballah rocket launch to Israeli response) cycle time to a few seconds from the time of launcher location pinpointing; and second, to develop and deploy effective and affordable active defense against rockets to protect vital civilian and military installations.

      Uzi Rubin oversaw the development of Israel's Arrow anti-missile defense system. He was awarded the Israel Defense Prize in 1996. He is the author of "The Global Range of Iran's Ballistic Missile Program," Jerusalem Issue Brief 5-26 (June 20, 2006).

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