Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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October 4, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Hizballah: Armed Guerrillas Are at Israeli Border - Shlomo Shamir (Ha'aretz)
    Hizballah official in southern Lebanon Sheikh Nabil Kawook said Tuesday that "Hizballah guerrillas are still in the border areas with Israel with their weapons."
    "I tell Olmert, our guerrillas are still there, but not visible, so nothing has changed since July 12."
    Hizballah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid on July 12.

American Hizballah Fighter Buried in Lebanon (Reuters)
    Hizballah held a funeral on Tuesday for Radwan Saleh, 35, one of its Lebanese fighters who was also an American citizen, witnesses said.
    He lived in California with his wife and children until 1998 before moving to Lebanon, where he joined the Iranian-backed group in 2000, Hizballah sources said.

Saudi Women's Rights' Activist Barred from Leaving Kingdom - Martyn Frampton (Middle East Transparent)
    Wajeha al-Huwaider was summoned to Intelligence Headquarters in Saudi Arabia in mid-September for attempting to plan an event calling for greater rights for women in Saudi Arabia.
    Al-Huwaider, a Saudi journalist and women's rights' activist, was warned to keep quiet and had her passport taken away, only days before she was due to fly to Europe and the U.S. to address a series of conferences.
    Last month she staged an extraordinary solo demonstration, as she walked the Fahd Causeway that links Bahrain with Saudi Arabia, carrying a placard that read, 'Give Women their Rights!' - before being arrested by Saudi security forces.
    Saudi Arabia remains what Natan Sharansky would label a "fear society," par excellence.

The Second Lebanon War - Avi Kober (Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies/Bar-Ilan University)
    This preliminary assessment of the summer 2006 war in Lebanon discusses five central problems in Israel's management of that war: adherence to the rules of "post-heroic" warfare despite its limitations, playing into the enemy's hands, operation on the basis of false assumptions and beliefs, violation of basic military principles, and hesitancy on the part of Israel's leadership.
    The article then examines the outcomes of the war on the battlefield, on the grand-strategic level, in terms of victory, and in longer-term perspective.

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  • UN Peacekeepers Outline Rules of Force in Lebanon
    UN peacekeepers in Lebanon outlined their rules of engagement on Tuesday, saying they could use force against "hostile activity," set up temporary checkpoints, and, if the Lebanese army was unable to do so, intercept the movement of unauthorized weapons. UNIFIL spokesman Alexander Ivanko said, "Should the situation present any risk of resumption of hostile activities, UNIFIL rules of engagement allow UN forces to respond as required." "UNIFIL commanders have sufficient authority to act forcefully when confronted with hostile activity of any kind." UNIFIL listed several situations in which the peacekeepers could use force beyond self-defense. In one broad category, it said force could be applied "to ensure that UNIFIL's area of operations is not utilized for hostile activities." (Reuters)
        See also Gillerman: "First Step" to Disarming Hizballah
    Israeli Ambassador to the UN Dan Gillerman expressed great satisfaction with the new rules of engagement for UNIFIL. "It now becomes an effective force that can open fire, not merely give out parking tickets," said Gillerman, adding that the move was the "first step" towards disarming Hizballah in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1559. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also UNIFIL Press Statement on Rules of Engagement in Lebanon (United Nations)
  • New York Jewish Community Sending $9.3M to Battered Northern Israeli Town
    The Jewish community of New York City has announced a $9.3 million donation to the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona, battered by rockets during this summer's war, according to a statement released Tuesday. The donation from the United Jewish Appeal-Federation of New York will go to programs for children and elderly residents, fund a trauma center, and pay to bring volunteers from abroad to help renovate bomb shelters. The contribution is part of $300 million pledged by American Jews to help Israel recover from the war, according to Michael Jankelowitz, a spokesman for the Jewish Agency. (AP/International Herald Tribune)
  • Hizballah Inspires Palestinians in Lebanon - Hannah Allam
    Twenty young men from Ain el-Hilweh, Lebanon's largest Palestinian refugee camp, have died fighting U.S. forces in Iraq. Their portraits hang in honor in the camp. ''I wish all the Palestinian groups were like Hizballah,'' said local resident Abu Adnan Sayegh. Since the 34-day war between Hizballah and Israel, Palestinian militants in Lebanon have grown more strident in their calls for armed action against Israel. At the same time, Hizballah leader Nasrallah seldom fails to mention Jerusalem in his speeches, portraying himself as a champion of the Palestinians. (McClatchy/Santa Barbara News-Press)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israeli Officials: Palestinian Issue "Dead" for Now as Rice Visits Israel - Attila Somfalvi
    U.S. Secretary of State Rice will arrive Wednesday from Egypt for a visit to Israel and the PA. Sources at the Prime Minister's Office said, "Rice's arrival is a 'maintenance visit.' Right now the Palestinian issue is dead. There is no one to talk to, and therefore all talks of a Palestinian unity government and diplomatic dialogue are off the table." (Ynet News)
  • Air Strike Wounds Five Terrorists in Northern Gaza - Amos Harel
    Israel Air Force aircraft fired missiles at two cars in Beit Hanun in the northern Gaza Strip on Tuesday, witnesses and Palestinian officials said, wounding five terrorists - two Islamic Jihad members in one car and three members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in the other. Islamic Jihad and Fatah militants often cooperate in rocket attacks on Israel. Israel has stepped up its offensive against Palestinian militants in Gaza lately to try to stop rocket attacks and pressure armed groups to free an abducted Israeli soldier. (Ha'aretz)
  • Hamas Leader Killed in Kalkilya Shooting - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Violence between Hamas and Fatah resumed Wednesday as Muhammad Uda, a local Hamas leader, was shot to death as he was exiting a mosque in the village of Hableh near the West Bank town of Kalkilya. Uda, 37, was shot by three masked men who fired from a passing vehicle, witnesses said. While it was not clear who was responsible for the shooting, the IDF said it was not involved. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Hizballah Takes Aim at the Lebanese Government - David Schenker
    In a striking departure from Hizballah's standard articulation of its raison d'etre as "resistance," Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah last week added a new domestic orientation to the group's agenda, linking the group's disarmament to the formation of a "strong, capable, just, and clean" Lebanese state. This call for clean government provides yet another pretext for Hizballah to retain its weapons indefinitely. Capping off his foray into local politics, Nasrallah commented that the Siniora government was not up to the task of reconstruction, and he issued a direct challenge to the Lebanese government. If the state fails to protect Lebanon, he said, Hizballah will again assume the responsibility. "We have thus far been assured that we will not be patient for long." The writer is a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Weekly Standard)
  • Ahmadinejad: From His Own Mouth - Samuel Freedman
    At Columbia University, where I teach, we narrowly avoided giving Ahmadinejad another establishment forum, when the school's president overruled the renegade dean who had extended an invitation. So I understand all the arguments against Ahmadinejad's high-profile presence in the U.S., the degree of acceptability it apparently conferred upon him. But I find myself, finally, disagreeing with them. The more Ahmadinejad got to speak without filter, the more Americans got to hear without editing, the better for our national understanding of just what a grave and serious threat he is.
        Realizing how deeply and genuinely Ahmadinejad holds his treacherous ideas was only part of the reason for Americans to pay attention. It was also vital for people here to understand just how talented a political leader he is. After his time in New York, there should be no perverse comfort taken in writing off Ahmadinejad as a blowhard, an accidental provocateur, too unschooled to be much of a risk. Sure, it would have been a lot less exasperating to have been able to tune him out. But would it be better for the U.S., which, later or sooner, will be facing some kind of reckoning with the nuclear saber-rattling of Ahmadinejad's Iran? The writer is a professor of journalism at Columbia University. (Jerusalem Post)
  • To End Iran Standoff, Plan for War - Michael Rubin
    If a peaceful solution to the Iranian nuclear problem is to be found, it is time for Washington to plan for war. Diplomats cannot break the current impasse simply by trying more aggressive diplomacy. Tehran will only change course if it believes it faces a credible threat for defying the will of the world. Perhaps it is time to stage war games and exercises in the Persian Gulf and on Iran's borders. Only the threat of force, and not the threat of UN finger-wagging, can persuade Tehran to stop spinning its centrifuges. The writer is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. (New York Daily News)
  • Observations:

    Palestinian Unity as a Lifesaver - Danny Rubinstein (Ha'aretz)

    • "The Hamas movement will not recognize Israel even if all its members are killed," Mushir al-Masri, the movement's spokesman, declared at a mass rally this week in Jabalya in Gaza.
    • If no dramatic change occurs, there apparently will be no chance for a Palestinian unity government to be established. The rift between the sides is only getting worse, though an examination of Hamas' and Fatah's political and diplomatic goals shows there are no great differences between them.
    • Both Abbas and Haniyeh aspire to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital, and both are clinging to the right of return. Abbas does talk about recognition of Israel, whereas Haniyeh talks about only a long-term truce that would be renewed every ten years. The two of them recently agreed on a joint diplomatic plan that indicates Abbas and Fatah are not much more moderate than Hamas.
    • Their differences regard not the future, but the past. Hamas is demanding that Abbas revoke recognition of Israel and forget Oslo and the other agreements, including the Arab peace initiative; Abbas is demanding that Hamas forget its armed struggle and opposition to Israel's existence.

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