Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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December 4, 2006

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In-Depth Issues:

Syria Smuggling Long-Range Missiles to Hizballah - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
    Long-range missiles, as well as truckloads of advanced anti-tank missiles originating in Iran and Syria, have been smuggled to Hizballah during the past four months since the war ended in weapon convoys from Syria crossing into Lebanon at night.
    Israeli Military Intelligence believes that "sooner or later" Hizballah will resume military operations against Israel in the form of mortar and rocket attacks on northern Israeli communities as well as kidnapping attempts along the border.
    See also 2007 - The Year of War - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
    According to Military Intelligence, there is a high probability that Israel will find itself fighting wars on at least two fronts in the coming year, one against the Hamas army being created in Gaza and the other against Hizballah, which is working hard to regain its strength.

    See also UN Reports Arms Smuggling to Lebanon (Reuters)
    The UN has documented 13 incidents of illegal weapons in southern Lebanon since early September, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Friday, calling Beirut's border monitoring deficient.
    See also Text of Annan's Report to the Security Council on Lebanon (Daily Star-Lebanon)

Israel Campus Beat
- December 3, 2006

Point Counter-Point:
    Israel's Olive Branch

Egypt Hunts Palestinians in Sinai (Reuters)
    Egyptian security forces on Saturday were hunting for four Palestinians in northern Sinai who were suspected of planning attacks on Israeli tourists.
    See also Israeli Tourists Urged to Leave Sinai (Jerusalem Post)

Gaza Women Warned of Immodesty - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    A group calling itself the Just Swords of Islam issued a warning to Palestinian women in Gaza over the weekend that they must wear the hijab or face being targeted by the group's members.
    The group also claimed responsibility for attacks on 12 Internet cafes over the past few days.
    The group said its followers last week threw acid at the face of a young woman who was dressed "immodestly" in the center of Gaza City.

Israeli Arabs: Let Us Return to Pre-'48 Villages - Yoav Stern (Ha'aretz)
    According to a position paper written by Mossawa - the Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel and presented in a conference in Nazareth on Friday, Israeli Arabs want the right to return to villages abandoned in 1948, educational autonomy, and changes to the Israeli flag and national anthem.

Arab, Jewish Birthrates in Jerusalem Equal - Nadav Shragai (Ha'aretz)
    In 2005 the Arab and Jewish birthrates in Jerusalem were both 3.9 children per woman, reflecting a drop in the Arab fertility rate and a rise in the fertility rate among Jewish women.

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  • 800,000 on Streets in Revolution to Put Lebanon in Hands of Hizballah - Nicholas Blanford
    It was last year's "Cedar revolution" in reverse. Perhaps 800,000 pro-Syrian protesters rallied Friday in central Beirut, vowing to remain in the streets until the Western-backed government was overthrown. Prime Minister Fouad Siniora says that the government is determined to remain in power, accusing the Hizballah-led opposition of attempting to mount a coup and acting on the orders of Syria and Iran. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia telephoned Siniora and every member of his cabinet to offer his personal support. About 20,000 troops were deployed on the streets. (Times-UK)
        See also Shiite Protester Shot Dead in Beirut as Tensions Rise - Anthony Shadid
    Sunnis and Shiites clashed in Beirut Sunday, leaving one man dead on a third day of demonstrations aimed at toppling the government of Prime Minister Siniora. (Washington Post)
        See also Losing Lebanon - Tim McGirk (TIME)
        See also below Observations: If Siniora Falls, So Will UNIFIL - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
  • Gaza Truce Won't Be Widened to West Bank - Scott Wilson
    Israel's security cabinet decided against extending a tenuous cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian armed groups in Gaza to the West Bank Sunday, while it reaffirmed its commitment to the temporary truce in Gaza despite the continuing rocket fire from there into southern Israel. Israeli military officials say 15 rockets have been launched from Gaza since the truce was reached. (Washington Post)
  • UN General Assembly Approves Six Pro-Palestinian Resolutions Over U.S. and Israeli Objections
    The UN General Assembly approved six pro-Palestinian resolutions over U.S. and Israeli objections Friday. The U.S., Israel, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and Palau voted against all six resolutions. A resolution that declared any attempt to impose Israel's laws, jurisdiction, and administration on Jerusalem illegal was approved by a vote of 157-6 with 10 abstentions. A resolution demanding that Israel withdraw from the Golan Heights was approved 107-6 with 60 abstentions. (AP/International Herald Tribune)
        See also Israel: UN Resolutions Don't Advance Peace - Ronny Sofer
    "These resolutions don't promote peace and don't contribute anything to the Israelis or the Palestinians. The resolutions damage the status of the UN and its capacity to be involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict," said the Israeli Foreign Ministry. "Unfortunately for us, for a number of decades, the UN General Assembly tends to automatically pass a series of one-sided, unbalanced, anti-Israel resolutions from year to year."
        Before the vote was held, Vice Premier Shimon Peres met with incoming UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and said, after the meeting, "The Muslims and the Palestinians in the UN are presenting a one-sided and distorted picture. If the situation continues, UN forces in the region will weaken." Peres gave the example of the commission of inquiry into the Israeli shelling of Beit Hanoun, saying that whoever wants to investigate needs to start with the Palestinian aggression, and not the Israeli response to it. (Ynet News)
  • Israel Denounces UN Rights Probe on Lebanon - Stephanie Nebehay
    Israel's ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Itzhak Levanon, told the UN Human Rights Council Friday that its commission of inquiry report on the war in Lebanon ignored the 4,000 rockets fired at Israel by Hizballah. He said the UN report was wrong to omit a reference to "Lebanon's obligations to prevent the use of its territory for hostile acts and to disarm and disband Hizballah." "The disturbing reality is that the conflict in Lebanon was the direct result of an unprovoked Hizballah attack, emanating from Lebanon into Israel," and Israel had been forced to act in self-defense. (Reuters)
        See also UN Inquiry: Israel Should Pay Compensation for Damage in Lebanon War - Stephanie Nebehay (Reuters)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Palestinian Rocket Fire Continues Despite Truce - Efrat Weiss
    Palestinians in Gaza fired a Kassam rocket into Israel Sunday that landed near a kibbutz in the western Negev. Israel continues to restrain itself and is not responding to the shooting since a cease-fire was declared one week ago. It has not yet been officially announced, but the Israel Defense Forces has reduced activity in the West Bank, though the IDF continues to arrest wanted suspects from time to time. (Ynet News)
        See also Security Cabinet: Israel Will Continue to Honor Gaza Cease-Fire
    Israel will continue to honor a cease-fire in Gaza even though rockets are being fired from there at the rate of about two a day, the security cabinet decided Sunday. According to government sources, Prime Minister Olmert feels that Israel can always take military action later, but now wants to give the cease-fire a chance. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel to Withdraw from Part of Lebanese Border Village - Ronny Sofer
    Israel's security cabinet has decided that Israel will withdraw from the northern part of the Lebanese border village of Ghajar and hand over responsibility to the UN peacekeeping force. Israel occupied the Lebanese part of the village to prevent arms smuggling and infiltrations. According to the plan, the UN may monitor both halves of the village. Residents who wish to do so will continue to maintain Israeli ID cards. Everything ranging from medical services to infrastructure repairs will come from the Israeli side. The UN will be entrusted with preventing the entry of Hizballah forces into the village. (Ynet News)
  • Inspectors Catch Palestinians Cutting Olive Trees - Tal Yamin-Walbowitz
    Frequently Palestinians complain that settlers cut their trees. But the police suspect now that in some cases the Palestinians themselves are those cutting the trees and then blaming the settlers and demanding compensation from the Civil Authority. Foresters of the JNF patrolling the Shaar Efraim area surprised a number of Palestinians damaging scores of olive trees. A senior source in the police noted: "Most of the complaints for damage to olive trees were filed in recent years at the end of the harvest season or towards the end, something that increases the suspicion that this is a cooked deal." (Maariv-Hebrew/IMRA)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Possible Takeover of Lebanon by Syria Supporters Is Bad for Israel - Eyal Zisser
    Hizballah leader Nasrallah will suffice with Lebanese Prime Minister Siniora's partial surrender to his demands, the establishment of a new cabinet where Nasrallah and his allies will have veto power regarding every decision. In the long term Nasrallah has his sights set on taking over Lebanon, premised on the fact that the Shiite sect is the largest community in Lebanon. Siniora is demonstrating extraordinary courage in the face of Nasrallah's display of terror. He is enjoying the support of the majority of the Sunni, Maronite, and Druze communities, the international community, and the majority of moderate Arab states. However, this is not enough.
        In the event that Syrian supporters do regain power in Lebanon, those who will pay the price will primarily be the courageous Lebanese people who had hoped that Lebanon would adopt the path of democracy and freedom. Next would be Israel, which would discover it had succeeded in distancing Hizballah from its northern border but will have to face it as the deciding factor in Lebanese politics and in the next government in Beirut. Finally, the U.S. will also have a price to pay, because Siniora's downfall will symbolize the end of its adventure in Lebanon. The writer is the head of the Department of Middle East and African Studies at Tel Aviv University. (Ynet News)
  • Palestinian Contempt for Talks with Israel Grows - Thanassis Cambanis
    In a series of interviews, eight militants in the Gaza Strip refugee camp at Khan Yunis discussed the rocket attacks, kidnappings, and suicide operations they plan against Israel. Unlike their parents, many of whom still believe that Palestinians can find some political accommodation with Israel, these men say they are convinced that Palestinians will only achieve statehood through force - and that it might take decades or longer before they can effectively challenge Israel's military.
        Al Mullah Omar, 24, is a fighter for the Popular Resistance Committees. Anyone interested in attacking Israel can join the group, he said. All that matters is that fighters are willing to attack Israelis by any means, no matter how long the odds of success. The group's ethos of pure militancy has made it the fastest-growing armed wing in Gaza, aided, according to Israeli authorities, by generous funding from Iran. Omar expects his children to grow up to be fighters. "If I have a son and he doesn't join the resistance, I'll snap his neck," Omar said. (Boston Globe)
  • UN Calls for Peace, Yet Promotes War - Fiamma Nirenstein
    The UN General Assembly has once again used its automatic anti-Israel majority of Arab states and non-aligned authoritarian countries to pass a series of anti-Israel decisions. This time the resolutions seem especially bizarre. One resolution stressed the need for Israel's withdrawal from the territory occupied since 1967, a request that contradicts UN Security Council Resolution 242 following the 1967 war. The original decision calls for a negotiated withdrawal from "territories" (not all territories) to secure borders. None of these conditions (negotiated, territories, secure borders) are mentioned in the current GA demand. (Omedia)
  • Observations:

    If Siniora Falls, So Will UNIFIL - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)

    • If Siniora's government falls in Lebanon, the Sunni leader will be forced to make concessions in favor of Syria, and possibly undermine the sole major achievement of Israel in the second Lebanon war - the arrangements along the border. At war's end, Hizballah was removed from its positions along the border, and an international peacekeeping force was deployed.
    • If Hizballah determines who will form the next government, even if Siniora emerges as a weaker prime minister, the extent of cooperation between Beirut and UNIFIL will be undermined.
    • Nearly four months after the cease-fire went into effect, the two abducted soldiers, for whom Israel went to war, are still not home - and there is not even a sign that they are alive.
    • The smuggling of weapons from Syria to Hizballah, according to IDF Military Intelligence, has resumed and is proceeding at full steam. Southern Lebanon is being rebuilt with Iranian money and Hizballah guerrillas in civilian clothes are moving about uninterrupted.
    • It is hard to imagine the European troops deployed in southern Lebanon staying there if Nasrallah signals that Hizballah intends to target them.

          See also Former IDF Intelligence Chief: War More Likely If Siniora Quits - Akiva Eldar (Ha'aretz)

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