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Shammu
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« Reply #225 on: July 20, 2006, 12:52:49 AM »

250 crowd JEA to show support for Israel

The rally was brief, the message to the point at the Jewish Educational Alliance Wednesday night: America must stand squarely behind Israel in its campaign against Hezbollah.

About 250 people crowded the JEA's auditorium for the event.

They nodded when Joel Greenberg, incoming president of the Savannah Jewish Federation, issued a call to action to show support for Israel: write letters to newspapers and elected officials, he said, and put a bumper sticker on your car and a pin on your lapel.

"Arm yourselves with the facts about Hamas and Hezbollah," Greenberg said. "Do all you can with words, with action, and with donations. And when you're done, pray for the peace of Israel."

Merry Bodziner, president of the Savannah Jewish Federation, decided Monday to organize the event after hearing from too many friends who did not support Israel's response to the kidnapping of three soldiers.

Polls have shown the majority of Americans want Israel to show more restraint in a conflict that has left more than 300 Lebanese and 29 Israelis dead.

"It is important that we all understand that the only reason for these most unfortunate deaths is because Hezbollah and Hamas hide behind the skirts of innocent women and behind the playgrounds of innocent children," she said. "Israel did not start this war. The terrorists did.

"There is no difference between Hamas, al-Qaida and Hezbollah. This is an American struggle, this is an Israeli struggle, this is a struggle for all in the world who cherish freedom and peace."

For Alderman Ken Sadler and his wife, Jodi, the ongoing violence is hitting a little too close to home. Their daughter, Beth, has been in Israel for the past four weeks. She was on her way to northern Israel when rockets began striking cities there last week.

"As a parent, my first instinct was to send her a ticket back home," Jodi Sadler said after the rally.

But the organization she has been traveling with, United Synagogue Youth, has made sound decisions, and the parents feel confident that their daughter will remain safe at their current location in Jerusalem.

"But are we eager for July 31, when she comes home?" Ken Sadler said. "You bet we are."

250 crowd JEA to show support for Israel
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« Reply #226 on: July 20, 2006, 12:54:48 AM »

America should not be bystanders
   
WASHINGTON - A week ago, the United States was struggling with two wars: the one it was fighting in Iraq and the one it hoped to avoid against Iran by maintaining a solid coalition to stop its nuclear program. Then came Hezbollah's kidnapping of Israeli soldiers and the ferocious Israeli response and, as strategists in Tehran must have anticipated, this third war complicated America's strategy on the other two fronts.

The Hezbollah war has certainly clarified the threat from Iran and its proxies. Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah has shown himself as a reckless, self-appointed guardian of Lebanon whose actions threaten the Lebanese as much as they do the Israelis. Unfortunately, Israel's retaliation has undermined (to put it mildly) the Lebanese government of Fuad Siniora, whose reformist Cedar Revolution was, until a week ago, one of the few bright spots in the region.

This is a week when all the parties in the horror show that is the Middle East need to think as coolly as they can. A provocative action by Hezbollah has triggered a furious Israeli bombardment of Lebanon, which in turn has brought horrific missile attacks on Israeli cities. It's a cycle in which each side can see confirmation of its worst fears about the other - and in which further provocation or miscalculation can have disastrous results. The only people who are likely to be genuinely happy at this chain of events are the mullahs in Iran.

Given the American stakes in this crisis, the Bush administration's passivity is inexplicable. Hezbollah and Israel have been tossing lighted matches back and forth in a region soaked with gasoline, and the world is waiting for robust American diplomacy. Instead, we see a tongue-tied superpower, led by a president who grumbles into an open mike in St. Petersburg that Kofi Annan should get on the phone to Syria and make it all go away, or maybe Condoleezza Rice should get on a plane to the Middle East.

Bush's slow-motion diplomacy is partly an effort to allow Israel time to destroy as much of Hezbollah's arsenal of missiles as it can. But what comes next? Israeli officials talk of accomplishing what the Lebanese government would do itself, if it had the power - which is to break the power of the Shiite militia.

That's a worthy goal - Hezbollah has it coming - but one that is almost certain to fail. Lebanon is as thankless a battlefield as Iraq, as the Israelis well remember. They were initially welcomed as liberators by the Shiites when they invaded in 1982 - only to be pinned down by Hezbollah's resistance movement and forced to retreat. Only a compulsive gambler would think the odds are any better this time.

There is an attitude among policymakers in the United States and Israel that I would call "Prospero's temptation," after the wizard of Shakespeare's "The Tempest." Prospero thinks that with his magic powers, he can do anything - subdue the wild Caliban and the other denizens of his haunted island and bend them to his purposes. This temptation was evident in Ariel Sharon's invasion of Lebanon in 1982; it was clear in America's 2003 invasion of Iraq. In each case, Israel and America were encouraged by their Arab allies to think that they could alter the fundamentals in a way that the Arabs themselves could not. You can hear echoes of that same thinking today, as Israeli analysts talk of how the Sunni nations - Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan - are privately thanking them for breaking Shiite power.

Rather than bringing positive change, military action in the Middle East tends to bring unanticipated consequences. In this case, one wild card is the Shiite population of Iraq - America's crucial ally there. If the Israeli campaign against Hezbollah stretches to weeks and even months, how long will it be before the United States faces a Shiite insurgency in Iraq, which would almost certainly spell a decisive American defeat there? And, ominously, CIA and FBI officials are said to be hearing increased "chatter" about new terrorist attacks in America.

When international crises arise, analysts often cite the tragic chain of events that produced World War II - Neville Chamberlain's policy of appeasement that emboldened the Nazis and led to the slaughter of tens of millions. The 1938 Munich lesson of the necessity for action is indelible. But it's also worth considering the lesson of August 1914, in which the world slipped toward a senseless war that could have been avoided had statesmen escaped the lockstep chain of action and response.

Are we living through a Sarajevo moment, like the concatenation of events that marched Europe toward World War I? Impossible to know. But given the risks for the United States and its allies, this ought to be a week when Americans are aggressive, active diplomats, rather than bystanders. If America means to be a world leader, it cannot appear to be a prisoner of events.

America should not be bystanders
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« Reply #227 on: July 20, 2006, 12:58:18 AM »

Take Off the Gloves
It's time for Israel to get tough.
by Max Boot
07/20/2006 12:00:00 AM

A LOT HAS BEEN written in recent years about stateless terrorism. The events of the last few weeks show, to the contrary, that some of the world's most malignant terrorist groups continue to rely on state support. Hamas runs its own quasi-state--the Palestinian Authority. Hezbollah is a state-within-a-state in Lebanon. And lurking behind both are the real troublemakers: Iran and Syria.

The current crisis exposes the inadequacy of American policy toward this new axis of evil. The problem is not, as so many have it, that President Bush's "cowboy diplomacy" has unsettled the region's vaunted stability. It is that Bush hasn't been enough of a cowboy.

Working with France, the U.S. succeeded last year in forcing Syrian troops out of Lebanon, thus allowing free elections to be held. But Lebanese democracy will remain hollow until Hezbollah disarms in accordance with U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559, something that no one has been willing to enforce--until now.

The U.S. should have done more to stop Syria from supporting not only the terrorists targeting Israel but those targeting U.S. troops in Iraq. Syrian strongman Bashar Assad appeared to be down for the count when a U.N. investigation found evidence linking his regime to the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. But Bush let him get up off the mat. Senior U.S. officials keep proclaiming that Syria's support for terrorism is unacceptable, but by not doing more to stop it, they have tacitly accepted it.

The same is true of Iran. The mullahs continue to develop
nuclear weapons and smuggle explosives into Iraq, and our only response has been talk and more talk. Perhaps this is a prelude to eventual military action, but in the meantime the administration should have done more to aid internal foes of the mullahocracy. It has taken until now--five years into the Bush presidency--for the U.S. to commit any serious money ($66 million) for Iranian democracy promotion, and the State Department has blocked efforts on Capitol Hill to spend even more.

The Jewish state is now paying the price for American inaction. The Katyusha, Kassam and Fajr rockets raining down on Israel are either made by Iran or with Iranian assistance. The same is true of the C-802 cruise missile that hit an Israeli warship. Syria facilitates the delivery of these weapons and provides a haven for Hamas political head Khaled Meshaal. The Iranians and Syrians are as culpable for the aggression against Israel as if they had been pulling the triggers themselves--which, for all we know, they may have been.

And world leaders such as Vladimir V. Putin (he of the scorched-earth policy in Chechnya) have the chutzpah to criticize Israel for its "disproportionate" response? What would a proportionate Israeli response to the snatching of its soldiers and the bombardment of its soil look like? Should Israel kidnap low-level Hamas and Hezbollah operatives? Those organizations wouldn't mind in the slightest; they want as many martyrs as possible.

The real problem is that Israel's response has been all too proportional. So far it has only gone after Hamas and Hezbollah. (Some collateral damage is inevitable because these groups hide among civilians.) Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is showing superhuman restraint by not, at the very least, "accidentally" bombing the Syrian and Iranian embassies in Beirut, which serve as Hezbollah liaison offices.

It's hard to know what accounts for this Israeli restraint, for which, of course, it gets no thanks. It may just be a matter of time before the gloves come off. Or Olmert may be afraid of upsetting the regional status quo. The American neocon agenda of regime change is not one that finds favor with most Israelis (ironic, considering how often the rest of the world has denounced neocons as Mossad agents). The Israeli attitude toward neighboring dictators is "better the devil you know." That may make sense with Jordan and Egypt, which have made peace with Israel, but not with Syria, which serves as a vital conduit between Tehran and Hamas and Hezbollah.

Iran may be too far away for much Israeli retaliation beyond a single strike on its nuclear weapons complex. (Now wouldn't be a bad time.) But Syria is weak and next door. To secure its borders, Israel needs to hit the Assad regime. Hard. If it does, it will be doing Washington's dirty work. Our best response is exactly what Bush has done so far--reject premature calls for a cease-fire and let Israel finish the job.

Take Off the Gloves
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« Reply #228 on: July 20, 2006, 01:00:04 AM »

Hizbollah ready for long war

BEIRUT: Hizbollah warned on Wednesday that it had enough rockets to continue hitting Israel "for months" and that Israeli warplanes had failed to cut its supply lines despite eight days of bombardments.

The Lebanese fighters can continue to strike Israel with "an arsenal of rockets for long months, and not just days or weeks," Mahmud Qomati, a member of Hizbollah's political council, said. The group has been firing off hundreds of rockets against northern Israel since the Jewish state launched a massive offensive against Lebanon in a bid to wipe out Hizbollah. Since the beginning of the conflict on July 12, a total of 13 Israeli civilians have been killed in rocket attacks.

Qomati said Israel had been trying to cut the militia's supply routes by bombing roads and trucks travelling on them, "but it hasn't succeeded in shutting down our supply of arms towards southern Lebanon." The Israeli military has said it targeted the trucks, mostly in eastern Lebanon, to prevent weapons coming in over the border from Lebanon.

In several cases, trucks Israel destroyed turned out to be carring ordinary cargo, including one hit on Tuesday that was filled with medicine donated by the United Arab Emirates. An AFP photographer on Wednesday saw 11 trucks destroyed in a parking area in southern Beirut suburbs where Hizbollah is active. Drivers of heavy vehicles are now refusing to go into the south of the country out of fear of Israeli jets.

Asked about Hezbollah's threat to strike petrochemical facilities in Haifa's industrial port, Qomati said that option was "suspended" for the moment, without elaborating. He added that Israel was not achieving its objectives in Lebanon. "Israel has been unable to hit a single one of our rocket launchers or any of our leaders," he said.

Israeli General Alon Friedman, a commander in the area near the border with Lebanon, said on Wednesday that his forces had destroyed around half the 10,000 missiles and rockets in Hizbollah's arsenal.

Qomati said his militia was ready for "a long war." "Time is on our side," he said. He reiterated Hizbollah's position that it would only consider "a ceasefire with no conditions attached and then a discussion on an exchange of prisoners."

Israel launched its fierce offensive after Hizbollah captured two of its soldiers in cross-border attacks that also left eight servicemen dead. In the past, such abductions have, despite angering Israel, usually resulted in an exchange in which Lebanese prisoners in Israeli jails were released in return for the release of the soldiers.

This time, though, Israel has embarked on a brutal offensive against not just Hizbollah but all of Lebanon, including its infrastructure and military. More than 300 people have been killed, most of them civilians.

Asked about UN chief Kofi Annan's offer that an international peacekeeping force be deployed in Lebanon, the Hizbollah representative said his group "had received no formal proposal in that direction" and declined to comment further.

Annan was to address the UN Security Council on Thursday, laying out the worsening situation in Lebanon and detailing his plans for the international force.

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« Reply #229 on: July 20, 2006, 01:44:14 AM »

Syria bars UN team seeking end to Mideast attacks
19 Jul 2006 18:13:01 GMT
Source: Reuters

By Evelyn Leopold

UNITED NATIONS, July 19 (Reuters) - Syria barred a U.N. mission to the Middle East unless it excluded one of its members, Norwegian Terje Roed-Larsen, the U.N. adviser on Syria-Lebanon issues, a U.N. official said on Wednesday.

Mark Malloch Brown, the deputy secretary-general, told reporters the mission decided not to go to Damascus because it urgently needed to return to New York to brief the U.N. Security Council on a flurry of diplomatic initiatives.

"The mission did plan to go to Syria and one of the issues we would have had to grapple with is what to do with Roed-Larsen," Malloch Brown said. "What would have been a tough choice is one we did not have to make."

Damascus, diplomats said, had barred Roed-Larsen because of his previous reports on Security Council resolutions demanding Syrian forces withdraw from Lebanon and militia disarm. His reports have also cited weapons flowing to Lebanon's Hizbollah militia across the Syrian border.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan sent the team to the Middle East to search for ways to end the Israeli-Lebanese conflict. He will report to the U.N. Security Council on Thursday.

"Obviously the secretary-general considers it his business to choose who to send on good offices mission," Malloch Brown said. "It is clearly the case that the Syrians didn't want him," he said of Roed-Larsen.

But Malloch Brown said that if the U.N. initiative continues, Annan would want a team to visit Damascus "and this will be an issue he will have to face down the road."

Annan, he said, would be reporting on the diplomatic overtures and his demands for a cease-fire at a dinner on Thursday with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and possibly Javier Solana, the European Union's foreign policy chief.

The team was led by political adviser Vijay Nambiar of India and included Middle East envoy Alvaro de Soto of Peru as well as Roed-Larsen, a Norwegian diplomat.

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« Reply #230 on: July 20, 2006, 01:48:06 AM »

Russia to Consider Mideast Peacekeepers
Jul 17 8:14 AM US/Eastern


ST. PETERSBURG, Russia

President Vladimir Putin said Monday that Russia would consider contributing troops to an international peacekeeping force in the Middle East if the United Nations approves its deployment.

"So far there is no decision yet on sending peacekeeping troops. When there will be a decision we will consider whether to take part," Putin said.

Putin said he was not certain that the return of three abducted Israeli soldiers would stop the fighting in the Middle East. Israel is fighting Hezbollah militants operating in Lebanon and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.

"I don't think the situation has gotten out of control, but I don't have the certainty that the return of the soldiers will stop the conflict," Putin said.

Putin spoke at the end of a summit of the Group of Eight industrial nations. The G-8 leaders on Sunday called for the Israeli soldiers abducted in Gaza and Lebanon to be released.

Their statement also called for the shelling of Israeli territory to end; Israeli military operations to cease and Israeli forces to withdraw early from Gaza; and for arrested Palestinian ministers and legislators to be released.
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« Reply #231 on: July 20, 2006, 02:12:14 AM »

Bulgaria stops Iran-bound nuclear cargo
By AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Thu, 20 Jul 2006, 00:25

SOFIA: Bulgarian border authorities Wednesday halted a lorry carrying radioactive material to Iran at its frontier with Romania, the country's nuclear supervsion agency said.

The lorry was registered in Turkey and had been hired by a British company, the agency said.

It was "destined for Istanbul and Tehran," a senior agency official told Turkish radio.

It did not have the necessary authorisation and was carrying caesium among other radioactive materials.

"In our view these materials could be used for industrial purposes," the official said.

The radiation measured in the lorry's cab was 200 times higher than that occurring naturally.

But the vehicle had been isolated and "represented no danger to the population". An inquiry has been opened.

Western countries suspect Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons under cover of a civil nuclear programme.

Bulgaria stops Iran-bound nuclear cargo
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« Reply #232 on: July 20, 2006, 02:15:09 AM »

Beefed-up U.N.force proposed
It could bring a cease-fire along the Lebanon-Israel border.border. But delay means lives.

With Israel and Hezbollah showing no signs of easing up on their assaults, the United Nations has begun talking about sending an international peacekeeping force to end the hostilities raging across the Israeli/Lebanese border. That is, of course, a proper role for the U.N., and skepticism by Israel or some Arab nations should not deter U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan from pursuing it in the Security Council.

The challenge is to deal with the question more swiftly than has always been the case for the international body. Israel has committed to ending Hezbollah's control of southern Lebanon, from which it has launched attacks and raids on northern Israel, including one in which three Israeli soldiers were killed and two were kidnapped. That set off the new round of violence. Hezbollah has responded to Israeli shelling of its enclaves in Beirut by pledging that it is ready for all-out war.

Clearly, the sooner some credible international force - with sufficient manpower and weapons and a mandate to use them - can be dispatched to the region, the sooner the killing of innocent civilians can end and some stability can come to a region on the brink.

The key is the disarming of Hezbollah. It has operated as a virtually independent state in southern Lebanon, despite a U.N. resolution two years ago calling for the newly elected Lebanese government to exercise authority over the entire country. The fact that it has not been able to do that and, in fact, has asked for assistance in dealing with the Hezbollah militias lends further credence to a beefed-up U.N. presence.

There has been a 2,000-member U.N. force in Lebanon since 1978 after an Israeli invasion. It has remained through a second Israeli invasion and Israel's pullout of southern Lebanon in 2000 after an 18-year occupation. The U.N. peacekeepers were supposed to bolster the authority of the Lebanese government and prevent violence along the border with Israel. It has not done so. With insufficient numbers and weapons and no strong mandate, the U.N. force has watched as Hezbollah has continued to attack Israel from southern Lebanon.

Israel insists that, in addition to returning its soldiers, Hezbollah must disarm and Lebanese troops must take control of southern Lebanon. Hezbollah disagrees, as do Iran and Syria, its sponsors; but no one else does. In effect, Hezbollah appears to be fighting a proxy war for Iran against Israel and the United States, which are automatically joined as one by Islamic states.

The goals of disarming Hezbollah and having Lebanese troops move into southern Lebanon appear to be unlikely without a cease-fire. Israel may be of a mind to pound Hezbollah into submission, but it hasn't been able to do so in the past, and, in any event, the loss of life among civilians would be prohibitive. A well-armed U.N. force, backed up with diplomacy aimed at getting Iran and Syria to call off their hired guns, could stabilize the region enough for Lebanon to eventually take control.

But we repeat: Israel is of no mind to wait around for others to solve its problem, especially an international organization that has often seemed aligned against it.

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« Reply #233 on: July 20, 2006, 02:17:05 AM »

Patsy no more, Israel takes its hits and is still standing
The differences between Scud attacks in '91 and now

By ZEV CHAFETS

On Sunday my 10-year-old son's summer camp was shut down; it was judged to be too close to Haifa, too vulnerable to missile attack. Instead, he and his sister are at home in Tel Aviv, busying themselves with yard work.

On Monday, the Israeli Air Force discovered and destroyed a Hezbollah rocket capable of hitting our yard in Tel Aviv. There are said to be many more such rockets in the Hezbollah arsenal. So today, when I sent my son and his 9-year-old sister out to buy gardening gloves and a rake, I first briefed them on what to do in case of a missile attack.

Ah, memories. It seems like only yesterday that I was having a similar discussion with my elder son, then 9 years old. That was in 1991, during the Persian Gulf War. My parental briefing included instructions on how to put on a gas mask. Saddam Hussein had threatened to "burn half of Israel" and we thought his Scuds might be armed with chemical warheads or worse.

This time around there are no gas masks (at least not yet; Hezbollah's leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, has promised "new surprises"). But Hezbollah's conventional rockets are lethal enough. They have killed 13 Israeli civilians since the fighting began. In 1991, after almost a full month of trying, only one Israeli was hit and killed by an Iraqi Scud.

The Israeli government in 1991 was ordered by President George H.W. Bush to stay out of the fighting. Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, a man of limited communications skills, complied without explaining his decision to the Israeli public. When Israelis realized they were unprotected, people panicked. Schools shut down, businesses closed and just about everyone fled to safety.

This reaction led Israel's enemies to a simple conclusion: Whatever the Israeli Army could accomplish on the battlefield could be neutralized by hitting the squeamish home front. Hezbollah (and the Palestinians and Syria) began laying in stocks of missiles.

Successive Israeli governments made the prevention of missile attacks a major goal. Israeli diplomacy, from the Oslo accords through the unceremonious Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000 and right up to the current frenzied efforts to stop the Iranian nuclear program, have been premised on the fragility of Israeli morale in the face of assault. Starting with the first gulf war, Israel went from being the deterrent power in the neighborhood to being the chronic frightened patsy.

At least that's what Sheik Nasrallah thought when his men snatched two Israeli soldiers on the Lebanese border. He figured the new prime minister, Ehud Olmert, would meet almost any price to get the soldiers back peacefully.

Instead, Olmert attacked. He knew that retaliation would bring on the missiles and rockets, but he evidently thought it was worth the risk.

What Olmert didn't know when he gave the order — what the Israeli public itself didn't know — was that the rockets wouldn't cause panic. Fear, yes. Caution, too, and some complaining (this is Israel, after all). But, amazingly, most people in even the most vulnerable areas have behaved with something like the sanguine good nature of the British during the Blitz.

What's different this time? Leadership, in Jerusalem and in Washington.

For Israelis, fighting back made all the difference. We've taken Hezbollah's best shot and we're still standing. "We will win," Olmert told the Knesset on Monday, and this simple assertion became an instant headline and a rallying cry. Olmert's confidence is based on military capacity, of course — fully unleashed there is very little the Israeli Army can't accomplish against Hezbollah (and beyond) — and on his faith that George W. Bush will give him the time and the international support needed to finish off Hezbollah.

And this faith is well-placed.

There is, of course, a certain poetic justice in having President George W. Bush help Israel restore the deterrent power President George H.W. Bush undermined in 1991.

Unlike his father, this president doesn't seem to regard Israel as a nuisance. On the contrary, he sees it as a friend and an ally in the fight against Islamic radicalism.

An Israeli victory in Lebanon wounds Hezbollah's patrons, Syria and Iran, both of which threaten American troops and aspirations in Iraq. It establishes Olmert as a major figure as he tries to set Israel's permanent borders in accordance with American policy. And, with any luck, it will make it possible next year for my children to stay in camp for the entire summer.

Patsy no more, Israel takes its hits and is still standing
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« Reply #234 on: July 20, 2006, 02:22:27 AM »

IAF attempts to assassinate Hizbullah leadership
Yaakov Katz, AP and JPost.com Staff, THE JERUSALEM POST    Jul. 20, 2006

IAF fighter jets dropped over 20 tons in bombs late Wednesday night on a Hizbullah bunker, possibly the hiding place of the group's leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, in the Bourj al-Barajneh refugee camp in southeast Beirut. It was still unclear who was in the bunker at the time and what their fate was, but IDF sources said the bunker was totally destroyed and that all that was left was a crater.

The IDF obtained intelligence information late Wednesday night that Hizbullah leaders possibly including Nasrallah had taken refuge inside the bunker. A wave of aircraft immediately took to the air and dropped 23 tons of explosives on the bunker.

IDF sources would not confirm that Nasrallah was in the bunker at the time, but said that high-ranking Hizbullah leaders were inside, and that it appeared that the attack was successful.

Hizbullah has said none of its "leaders or members" died in the IAF strike.

"The truth is that the building targeted by the enemy warplanes with 23 tons of explosives is just a building under construction to be a mosque for prayers," said the statement, issued on the group's Al-Manar TV and faxed to The Associated Press.

"It seems that the enemy wants to cover up its military and security failures with lies and claims of imaginary achievements," it said.

The IDF said the strike occurred between 8 and 9 pm but refused to give further details. Reporters in Beirut said they heard a huge explosion around 8:30 p.m.

Hizbullah has a headquarters compound in Bourj al-Barajneh that is off limits to the Lebanese police and army, so security officials could not confirm the strike.

Despite the airing of Hizbullah's claims that the IAF had hit a mosque under construction, the IDF Spokesman's office insisted to The Jerusalem Post early Thursday morning that the IAF had hit a Hizbullah bunker.

Also early Thursday morning, Israel's UN Ambassador Gillerman said in a CNN interview that "I can assure you that we know exactly what we hit. ... This was no religious site. This was indeed the headquarters of the Hizbullah leadership."

Since the IDF went to war with Lebanon last Wednesday, fighter jets have repeatedly bombed another bunker in the Dahiya neighborhood in Beirut, also said to be the main nerve center and headquarters of Hizbullah.

The IAF has so far carried over 3,000 sorties over Lebanon, and in the past day attacked 200 targets throughout the country, including Hizbullah headquarters, cars carrying terrorists, Katyusha launchers and weapons warehouses.

IAF attempts to assassinate Hizbullah leadership
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« Reply #235 on: July 20, 2006, 02:26:29 AM »

US to France: Too early for ceasefire

Washington, which declared its support of Israel's right to defend itself, provides 'diplomatic umbrella' for strikes in Lebanon, convincing France not to promote ceasefire at this stage. Ambassador Ayalon: We have time
Yitzhak Benhorin

WASHINGTON – France has sought to promote an initiative to reach a ceasefire between Israel and Hizbullah, but the United States managed to convince the French not to work to reach a ceasefire ahead of time, sources in Washington told Ynet.

The British Guardian newspaper and other western newspapers reported that the American government has given Israel a week to end the war, but in actual fact the US is blocking any attempt to "interrupt" the Israeli effort, out of an understanding that the Israel Defense Forces has to go "all the way."

Israeli Ambassador to the US Danny Ayalon told Ynet that the report in the Guardian, that there is an American schedule to stop the fighting, was "imaginary."

"I estimate the Americans will continue to offer full support, out of the understanding that this is a battle which is part of the global war on terror led by (US) President Bush," he added.

As part of her curbing efforts, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to move her diplomatic efforts to New York on Thursday, in a dinner with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. On Friday, she is scheduled to hold a working meeting with Annan and his delegates, who returned from a visit to the Middle East.

Rice is expected to arrive in the region next week in a bid to silence the diplomatic and political elements accusing Washington of abandoning the Middle East.

Backed by the decision of the eight industrialized nations (the G-8) and the Sunni Arab countries – Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia – Rice plans to maintain the momentum of international support against Hizbullah and search for ways to implement the Security Council's Resolution 1559 to disarm the organization.

The American government has yet to announce Rice's arrival to the Middle East, but she is scheduled to leave Washington on Sunday for a visit to Egypt on Monday and a visit to Israel on Tuesday. In Cairo, Rice is expected to meet with the Egyptian, Saudi Arabian and Jordanian foreign ministers.

Hizbullah made a mistake – and will pay

The feeling in the White House is that Hizbullah made a mistake in its estimation of its power and the situation, and now the Americans hope that the organization will pay for it.

Bush's spokesman Tony Snow said that Hizbullah thought they could kidnap soldiers and get some public relations, and instead they enraged not only Israel but the entire region.

"If you take a look at the extraordinary statement by the Arab League, where the Saudis and Jordanians – the Arab League, was condemning Hizbullah; and, furthermore, the G8 condemning Hezbollah and its sponsors… Now what you had, I think, was a guerilla incursion that has turned into just an absolute miscalculation on the part of Hizbullah because what it has done is it has forged, I think, a sense of determination on all parties opposed to the activities of Hizbullah not to let it stand, and also, not to return – revert to the status quo ante where Hizbullah was operating," Snow said.

As far as the US in concerned, not returning to the previous situation means implementing Resolution 1559 to disarm the armed militias in Lebanon – Hizbullah and the Palestinian organizations.

There are sources in American politics who believe President Bush should get into the thick of things, call Syrian President Bashar Assad and launch negotiations. Addressing this, Snow said that "the track recors stinks" and there is no reason to believe talks with the Syrians will bear any fruit."

"I don't know if you remember all the old pictures of diplomats in the Reagan years going – in the Carter, Reagan, and maybe even the early Bush years, the first Bush administration – who knows, Clinton may have done it, too – sitting around there drinking tea with Hafez al-Assad, the father, having to sit there for five, six, 10 hours, listening to polite but long discourses on greater Syria, and at the end of that, having gotten nothing," Snow said.

According to Snow, the American interest includes two things: That terror and terrorists don’t win and that a basis for stable peace is created.

"You just have to wait until the conditions are right for that… The Israelis are doing what they think is necessary to protect their borders," he said.

US to France: Too early for ceasefire
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« Reply #236 on: July 20, 2006, 02:28:55 AM »

Mubarak: 'External elements' prevented Shalit's release

Speaking to al-Mussawar newspaper, Egyptian president says efforts to free Corporal Gilad Shalit were stymied by "external elements"; Hamas welcomes Egyptian mediation which they say should not jeopardize interest of Lebanese, Palestinian people
Roee Nahmias

Egypt renewed contacts with Israel and the Palestinians in an attempt to solve the crisis over the kidnapping of Corporal Gilad Shalit, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak told al-Musawer.

"It is possible to find a solution which will allow the Israeli incursion into Gaza and brings about the release of a considerable number of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jail," Mubarak said.

Mubarak added that Egypt was close to brokering a deal to secure Shalit's release "had external elements not been involved." Mubarak said these elements hindered Egyptian efforts.

Mubarak spoke of the deepening crisis between Israel and Lebanon, stressing that Egypt is trying to find a solution that can bring about a cease-fire.

He rejected reports in the Israeli media that Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia have formed a front against Hizbullah, out of their keenness to see the Shiite group disarmed.

"Just as Egypt strives to not let others interfere in its internal affairs, it strives not to interfere in the internal affairs of another country. Hizbullah is a Lebanese affair and Egypt will not interfere," he said.

Hamas: Egyptian efforts should not jeopardize Lebanese interests

Hamas legislator Mhammad al-Ramhi spoke of renewed efforts to secure the release of Gilad Shalit: "We welcome Egypt's efforts to solve the crisis, but we will not agree they will come on the account of Hizbullah and the Lebanese people who are facing a war of extermination."

Al-Ramhi said Hamas will not reject fair proposals to secure the release of prisoners. "We prefer to separate between the Lebanese and Palestinian channels for technical reasons. But we estimate that a stance against Hamas will not serve the resistance and may be used against the Lebanese people. What is happening in Lebanon is resistance and he who is opposed to resistance is with the Israeli enemy," he said.

Meanwhile the London-based daily al-Hayat newspaper said western powers are trying to convince Israel to make a prisoner exchange deal with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to strengthen him against Hamas.

Abbas has refused to mediate between Israel and Hamas.

Mubarak: 'External elements' prevented Shalit's release
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« Reply #237 on: July 20, 2006, 02:39:24 AM »

 IDF Wages Ground-Battles on Three Fronts
23:47 Jul 19, '06 / 23 Tammuz 5766
by Ezra HaLevi

The IDF fought fierce ground battles on three fronts Wednesday, chalking up many operational successes. Two soldiers fell in the line of duty battling Hizbullah forces.

Staff Sergeant Yonatan Hadassi, 21, of Kibbutz Merchavya and First-Sergeant Yotam Gilboa, 21, from Maoz Chaim were the two fallen soldiers. Nine others were wounded in the battle, two moderately.

The fighting with Hizbullah forces went on for several hours at the Israel-Lebanon border, near the Israeli town of Avivim - opposite the Lebanese village of Marun A-Ras, which was turned into a Hizbullah stronghold after Israel's hasty withdrawal from the region in 2000.

IDF Special Forces entered the area late Tuesday night and found a large stockpile of Hizbullah weapons and munitions. Hizbullah geurrillas had been hiding out and opened fire on the troops, killing the two soldiers moments before they themselves were killed. Their comrades then began shooting mortar shells at the area, making evacuation of the wounded and fallen soldiers difficult.

Small groups of IDF soldiers have been entering Lebanon for special "pin-point" operations in recent days and continued to do so throughout Wednesday.

More than 60,000 Lebanese have fled southern Lebanon and the IDF issued an order Wednesday evening calling on all 300,000 Lebanese living south of the Litani River to evacuate their homes.

The IDF has been putting special efforts into destroying long-range Zilzal missiles and launchers, capable of striking Tel Aviv with much larger missiles than have struck Israel so far. Many of the launchers are hidden in densely-populated areas.

In air strikes on targets in Lebanon, Lebanese media reported more than 50 people killed in the cities of Balbek, Sidon, Chuweifat, Hadath and Nabatiya.

Overall, the IDF says more than 1,000 terrorist targets have been hit so far, including 180 Katyusha and long-range rocket launch-sites.

The Samarian Front
In Shechem, the largest PA-controlled city in northern Samaria, more than 200 Arab terrorists were apprehended and an office of the PA was demolished. Three Arabs were killed in exchanges of fire with IDF forces surrounding the terrorist compound in the heart of the city. The compound belongs to the Palestinian Authority's Preventative Security Service.

The IDF siege on the compound began in the early morning hours and lasted until Wednesday afternoon, when its inhabitants were forced to surrender as parts of the building were systematically bulldozed. One soldier was wounded by a firebomb and treated on the scene.

Before dawn Wednesday, five wanted terrorists were apprehended in other areas of Judea and Samaria by security forces.

Gaza
In a development that could place Tel Aviv within the sites of Arab missile-launchers from the couth, a Katyusha rocket was fired from Gaza toward the western Negev. The rocket landed in Kibbutz Bror Hayil.

The IDF continues to carry out operations in Gaza aimed at locating kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit and preventing the launching of rockets at Israel's southern towns. Six Arabs were killed in clashes as the IDF entered the Mughazi slums coastal region. Five IDF soldiers were wounded.

Air force planes attacked three groups of terrorists in central Gaza overnight and destroyed a tunnel being constructed beneath the Karni Crossing.

IDF Wages Ground-Battles on Three Fronts
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« Reply #238 on: July 20, 2006, 02:41:50 AM »

PMO Allocates NIS 1 Million for Aid In North, US Fund to Match It
08:45 Jul 20, '06 / 24 Tammuz 5766

(IsraelNN.com) The Prime Minister’s Office announced Wednesday it will allocate NIS 1 million for immediate aid to the bombarded residents in northern communities.

A nonprofit organization in the U.S. said it will match the sum with money of its own. The “Friendship Fund” raises money for Israel from Christian supporters.

The head of Hebrew University’s Center for Clinical Legal Education for Human Rights and Social Responsibility noted that Israel has relied on Christian, as well as Jewish philanthropists in the current situation which has forced the government to allocate funds for defense that would otherwise go to basic support, such as food.

PMO Allocates NIS 1 Million for Aid In North, US Fund to Match It
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« Reply #239 on: July 20, 2006, 02:43:52 AM »

Lebanese PM: Half a Million People Displaced
09:30 Jul 20, '06 / 24 Tammuz 5766

(IsraelNN.com) Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora said Wednesday that half a million people in Lebanon have been displaced as a result of the war started by Hizbullah terrorists entrenched in the south of the country.

Siniora said he intends to ask Israel for financial compensation for “unimaginable losses” and damage to the country’s infrastructure.

Lebanese PM: Half a Million People Displaced
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