Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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September 4, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Palestinian Group to Target Non-Muslims - Maggie Michael (AP/Washington Post)
    Palestinian militants who held two Fox News journalists hostage for nearly two weeks threatened to abduct non-Muslims visiting the Palestinian territories and kill them unless their demands were met, in a statement posted online Saturday.
    The Holy Jihad Brigades said it would kill any hostages it takes unless they converted to Islam, paid a ransom, or Muslim prisoners were exchanged for their release.

Egypt: Al-Qaeda Members in Sinai (Jerusalem Post)
    Egyptian security forces are conducting a manhunt for five men thought to be affiliated with al-Qaeda, Al-Jazeera television reported Friday.
    Local police are searching for explosive devices they say may have been planted in laptop computers by terrorists posing as vacationers.
    On Wednesday, the counter-terror department in Israel's Prime Minister's Office reissued a stern advisory urging Israelis in Sinai to return home immediately.

Israel Campus Beat
- September 3, 2006

Point Counter-Point:
    How to Investigate the Conduct of the War

Hizballah's Guided Missiles - Dan Ephron (Newsweek)
    Hizballah chief Hassan Nasrallah bragged about a remote-control aircraft that could carry an explosive device to strike a target anywhere inside Israel.
    During the Lebanon war he launched three Iranian-built Ababil unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), capable of carrying an 88-pound warhead up to 150 miles, toward Israeli targets.
    The Israelis say Hizballah received at least 12 UAVs from Iran before the war - meaning that Nasrallah may still have a small arsenal of them hidden away.
    "If the Iranians supplied UAVs to Hizballah, there's no reason they couldn't supply similar capability to elements of the insurgency in Iraq," says Roger Cressey, a former counterterrorism official on the National Security Council.

Israeli War "Trophies" on Display in Lebanon (AFP/Yahoo)
    Strawberry jam, bullets, and a lock of human hair are among the war trophies displayed at a makeshift roadside museum in the southern Lebanese village of Hanine.
    A yellow flag of the Hizballah Shiite militia flies over one corner of the display, and Hizballah posters are stuck to a wall above a collection of seized Israeli food.
    A burned helmet contains a lock of hair. A second helmet cradles unidentifiable ashes, while a third is attached to a radio set, apparently from a tank.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Israel Calls for Peace Treaty with Lebanon - Robert Berger
    Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called on Sunday for Lebanon's prime minister to shake hands, sign a peace treaty, and end the hatred between the two countries. "I hope that day comes soon," he said. But Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev says there will never be peace until Hizballah is disarmed. "We have to have a situation where we do not see those trucks coming from Syria, full of Iranian missiles, full of Iranian rockets." Last week, Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora said Lebanon will be the last Arab country that signs a peace treaty with Israel. (VOA News)
  • Al-Qaeda Issues Videotape Calling Americans to Convert to Islam - Lee Keath
    In a 48-minute video posted on an Islamic militant website Saturday, al-Qaeda's No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahri appears with Adam Yehiye Gadahn, a 28-year-old American who the FBI believes attended al-Qaeda training camps in Pakistan and served as an al-Qaeda translator. Gadahn called on Americans to convert to Islam and for U.S. soldiers to switch sides in the Iraq and Afghan wars. "Isn't it the time for the Christians, Jews, Buddhists, and atheists to cast off the cloak of the spiritual darkness which enshrouds them and emerge into the light of Islam?" Gadahn asked, wearing a white robe and a white turban. (AP/Washington Post)
  • Iran Snubs Annan and Rejects Nuclear Plea - Alec Russell
    Iran brushed aside Kofi Annan's efforts to mediate in the crisis over its nuclear ambitions Sunday even as Western powers struggled to maintain momentum for sanctions against the Islamic state. The UN secretary-general left Teheran empty-handed after Iran's hardline president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, rejected his call to heed Security Council demands for Iran to suspend uranium enrichment. (Telegraph-UK)
        See also EU Gives Iran Two More Weeks in Nuclear Standoff - Ingrid Melander (Reuters)
  • Attacks on UK Jews Soar Since Lebanon - Joanna Bale and Anthony Browne
    British Jews are facing a wave of anti-Semitic attacks prompted by Israel's conflict with Hizballah in Lebanon. Synagogues have been daubed with graffiti, Jewish leaders have had hate-mail, and ordinary people have been subjected to insults and vandalism. Mark Gardner, of the Community Security Trust, said: "In July, when the conflict in Lebanon began, we received reports of 92 incidents." On Thursday an all-party parliamentary inquiry will state that anti-Semitic violence has become endemic in Britain, both on the streets and university campuses. The report will call for urgent action from the government, the police, and educational establishments. (Times-UK)
        See also Masked Man with Firebomb Attacks Montreal Jewish School
    Surveillance video recovered by Montreal police shows a masked man throwing a firebomb at the door of an Orthodox Jewish school in an attack early Saturday. (CBC News)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • IDF Thwarts Palestinian Attempt to Fire Rockets at Israel from West Bank - Amos Harel
    Security forces on Saturday arrested two Palestinians, Tahar Amar and Hassan Ufi of Tulkarm, who are suspected of trying to launch rockets from the West Bank into central Israel with the backing of Hizballah. Their attempt failed, and the rockets crashed only a few meters from their launch site. The suspects had also been wanted for a number of previous shootings and were in possession of a pipe bomb. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Okays Indonesian UNIFIL Troops - Herb Keinon
    Israel has agreed to Indonesia's participation in the UNIFIL force in Lebanon. Indonesia said Saturday it will send up to 1,000 troops to southern Lebanon by the month's end. However, diplomatic sources in Jerusalem said Saturday night that Israel still was opposed to the participation of Malaysia and Bangladesh in the force. Both those Muslim countries openly supported Hizballah in the recent conflict, while the Indonesian government took a much more "moderate" approach. Furthermore, Israel has for years had some quiet diplomatic activity with Indonesia, (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Student Shot During School Strike
    Masked militants trying to keep students away from school shot and moderately wounded a 12-year-old boy trying to go to class Sunday in the West Bank city of Nablus. The strike was led by Fatah, which lost the election to Hamas earlier this year and is trying to pressure Hamas to form a national unity government. (AP/Jerusalem Post)
        See also Hamas Denounces School Strike - Khaled Abu Toameh
    The money stolen by senior PA officials over the past decade is enough to pay the salaries of all PA civil servants for at least six months, the Hamas-controlled government said on Saturday in response to the general strike which paralyzed most government institutions and schools. Hamas leaders claimed that Fatah gunmen and PA security forces in the West Bank prevented a large number of schoolchildren from entering their classrooms and confiscated the keys to schools in Nablus, Tulkarm, and Jenin. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri claimed that 85% of the schools in Gaza did not heed the call to strike. "It's obvious that this is a politically-motivated strike that is aimed at undermining and blackmailing the government," he charged. (Jerusalem Post)
  • EU Begins Paying Aid to Palestinians
    The EU said Friday it has begun direct cash payments of $347 to 625,000 Palestinians left unpaid because of the financial crisis besetting the Hamas-led Palestinian government, through a program overseen by the World Bank. EU money will also finance Palestinian health services and utilities. (AP/Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • U.S. Aid to Hizballah? - Editorial
    While there is much to be said for U.S. assistance to rebuild war-torn Lebanon, U.S. efforts are bumping up against an unpleasant reality: It is extremely difficult to ensure that U.S. and international assistance is not used to strengthen Hizballah. Randall Tobias, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, said that AID would work with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to distribute U.S. aid. The problem is that Hizballah has long controlled money sent to NGOs and Lebanese government agencies in southern Lebanon. Before any more U.S. aid goes to rebuild Lebanon, Congress and the administration need to agree to conditions that will ensure U.S. assistance to Lebanon does not inadvertently get diverted by Hizballah. (Washington Times)
  • Hizballah: Prelude to Apocalypse - Dan Gordon
    One of the great benefits to those of the West to come out of Hizballah's recent offensive against Israel is the certain knowledge that Hizballah is the terrorist extension of Iran's expressed foreign policy. Hizballah and everyone else in the world knew perfectly well that when Israel left every centimeter of Lebanese soil in 2000, it did so with the intent never to return. It not only had no designs on southern Lebanon, it dreaded doing so.
        Much has been made in the Western press of Hizballah's benign social services function in Lebanon, of the hospitals and schools it has built. Almost no notice, however, has been paid to the large numbers of these hospitals and schools which were built over its military bunkers and rocket launching sites.
        Hizballah's true genius lay in its knowledge of the press. The calculus was simple: launch a rocket from within a civilian population; if you kill Jews that's a victory. If the Jews hit back and in so doing kill Lebanese civilians, that's a victory. If they don't hit back because they're afraid to hit civilians, that's a victory. The writer served as a captain in the IDF reserves during the recent war. (Chronwatch)
  • Observations:

    This War Has Taught Us that Israel Must Revise Its Military Approach
    - Shimon Peres (Guardian-UK)

    • In Lebanon we have experienced a new form of battle. Terrorist organizations are armed with a wide range of missiles and rockets that enable them to bypass frontlines. This type of war is more ballistic in nature than territorial. It is driven more by a religious ideology than by nationalistic motivation, seeking to target populations wherever possible, even before trying to control territory. The line of division between the battle front and the home front is largely blurred.
    • This is a war fought in the media as well as on the ground. This battlefield is teeming with television lenses, whose image of the war is no less important than the war per se, making the struggle for legitimacy in the public's mind and the morale of one's own soldiers as central to the conflict as military success.
    • The Lebanese government and the Palestinian Authority have lost control of their territories and armed forces. They have stopped representing peace and security in the territories for which they are responsible.
    • The notion of trading territory for peace was successful in two instances - Egypt and Jordan. It failed in two other cases - Lebanon and the PA. We withdrew from Lebanon, in keeping with UN Resolution 1559, but did not receive full peace in return. We unilaterally withdrew from all the areas of the Gaza Strip but, despite this move, attacks continued to be launched on Israel from that territory.
    • The failure to achieve peace with the Palestinians was not the result of ill will on the part of Israel, but of the lack of unity among the Palestinians. The Palestinians who wish for peace do not have the power to advance it. And the ones who do not want an agreement have the power to prevent it.
    • The initiative to withdraw unilaterally from the West Bank has lost its attraction in the eyes of the Israeli public due to the aftereffects of withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. I cannot envisage a situation today in which the majority of Israelis will support such a withdrawal.

      The writer is the deputy prime minister of Israel.

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