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The open wound of Gush Katif By Nadav Shragai Haaretz 2 August 2006 http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/745326.html

Last Friday when Makor Rishon's photographer, Miri Tzahi, saw the photo of First Lieutenant Amihai Merhavia, who was killed in the battle of Bint Jbail, it jogged something in her journalist's memory. She thought she had seen this face before. Tzahi, who is about publish the album, "Katif - Nine days in Av," featuring hundreds of photos of the "days of the expulsion," searched through her computer archive and found a series of photos from around four years ago, showing Merhavia during the violent evacuation of Havat Gilad (Gilad Farm) in Samaria.

One picture shows him with a Border Policeman grabbing him by the neck. Another picture shows him sprawled on the floor, his shirt pulled up and his back exposed, as Border Policemen clutch his legs and drag him.

The people of Gush Katif, much like Tzahi, were until a few weeks ago occupied by the effort to memorialize Gush Katif, but then the war came along and confused everything. It is one thing to refer to the Israel Defense Forces during normal times as the "army of expulsion" and to refer to Dan Halutz as the "chief of staff of expulsion," and it is something totally different to continue doing so in time of war.

In the past weeks, many in the Gush Katif community and the national-religious camp have had to redefine, or at least update, their relationship with the state and with the IDF, with whom they have been on bad terms for a long time. They do not hide their hope that the reconciliation will be two-sided, that the convergence plan will be reassessed, that the "we told you so" will be seen not only as a political gripe, but also pertinent to the heart of the matter, and that level of empathy for them will again rise.

There is more to the story about Amihai Merhavia. Around a year after the violent clash in Havat Gilad, when he enlisted in the army, he spared no effort to get into the Golani brigade's elite battalion 51, and was distinguished as an outstanding soldier in the battalion.

The disengagement broke his heart, but he continued to serve. The closer the date of the disengagement grew, the greater his distress became. In the end he wrote a sharp and painful personal letter to the chief of staff in which he expressed understanding for the motives of officers and soldiers refusing to take part in the evacuation. The IDF responded with a one-year suspension.

Merhavia felt hurt and again fought vehemently to return to the battalion. After two months of pressure, from his commanders as well, he was returned to his command and continued his service until his death last Wednesday in Bint Jbail.

Saving his friends

The biography of the deputy battalion commander from Eli who was felled in the same battle in Bint Jbail, Major Roi Klein, can also illustrate the complex nature of the relationship between the national-religious public and the State of Israel. During the battle, Klein, 31, the father of two small children, jumped on a live grenade and gave his life in order to prevent injury to his comrades.

He lived in the Hayovel neighborhood of Eli, which the state defines as "an outpost." His home, like other homes in the neighborhood faces a pending Civil Administration demolition order. Implementation of such a demolition order, prompted the harsh events in Amona this past February, which left deep scars on the settlers. Many of them to this day view the police almost as the enemy.

The question remains whether now, after the fall of Klein, who lived in a neighborhood whose construction was coordinated at least with some military and government officials and was even financed by the state, the law will take its course and the homes will be demolished or perhaps some kind of big reconciliation package will be arranged, which will include Givat Hayovel.

The bitterness that characterized the relationship between the state and the national-religious public in the year following the disengagement surfaced last week during the prime minister's visit to Nitzan, at the height of the fighting up North. Olmert came there with a considerable goodwill, in an attempt to help resolve problems, but one unsuccessful comment from him riled the representatives of the former communities.

The prime minister told of a conversation he had with the parents of the pilot who was killed some 10 days ago. "We did not send their son," Olmert said, "to settle the land. He did not return with compensation, he just returned in a coffin ... sometimes a government has the responsibility and the authority to make decisions that cut short a life, not just cut short a job, that not only determine whether there will be a house here or there, not only whether there will be compensation of this kind or another, whether there will ten dunams or 15 dunams, but also whether you will be in a coffin."

'We told you so'

Another characteristic of the relationship between the state, and "the settlers" and "the right wing" that is especially noticeable at this time, is the dozens of articles in recent weeks saying "we told you so."

This wave began with the start of Qassam launches in the South and intensified when the war broke out in the North. These articles have a dual purpose. First, to reprimand the left for the past: Unilateral moves in both Gaza and Lebanon are what led to the uncontrolled terrorism. Second, there is also a warning: "The convergence plan," another unilateral idea, will prompt an even worse wave of terrorism than its predecessors.

The sharpest of these articles appeared in last Friday's Hatzofe and was written by its editor, Natan Ginat. He prefaced his article with a brief quote from the biblical story of the sale of Joseph in Genesis: "And when they saw him afar, even before he came near to them, they conspired against him to slay him. And they said one to another, behold this dreamer comes." Ginat wrote, among other things: "When you came to uproot us from our home in Gush Katif, after over 30 years of settlement and having been dispatched by the state ...we told you so: you got confused. We are lovers. Not enemies... we told you that the enemies are just waiting to see how one Jew expels another Jew, but you did not listen to us. "

He goes on to say: "We pleaded with you to listen, to give us a chance, to exercise logic, to learn from history, to look one step ahead. And you did not want to listen. You, after all, know everything. You did not let us get close to you."

"The real significance of admitting political failure," Karpel feels, "is recognizing the failure of the contemporary Israeli consciousness and the worldview of historical Zionism - and that is already a completely different story. The current Israeli consciousness is incapable of enduring another 100 years of struggle and fighting for existence, because it is incapable of imbuing such a struggle with meaning, a solution and reason. In order to endure such a challenge, an alternative Jewish ideological infrastructure is needed, and not just Zionism. Such a revolution of consciousness is much more complicated, moreover such an ideological alternative has yet to be proposed in a fully crystallized and developed form, so that the Jewish majority is likely to understand and temporarily internalize the 'we told you so'; there really is no serious alternative to choose from."

8/1 From Rachamim:

today the Hizballah shot off 9 longer range missiles south of Afula. One was supposedly aimed at Beit Shean but it fell very close to Jenin and the area where a unit of my company is usually based in time of war.

So far the reserve call up as of tonight has reached over 110,000 soldiers and perhaps many more. The reserves went into Lebanon to do the mopping up operations behind the advancing regular army. Hisballah is falling back to lines across the Litani with many suicide squads still in position to do us damage and hold back a bit the advance. Kfar Tula has been bombarded for the last 6 days. It is near the border and sofar nobody has gone in there. We are afraid of tunnels.

The raid last night involved helicopter deliver of the soldiers close to 100 miles in Lebanon. They went on the ground to the 'hospital' built by Iran. They confiscated all the computers, discs, paper files, maps and other intelligence information and the IDF intelligence corp is working on the Arabic and computers right now. The commando raid was filmed from the ground and from the air. Also the destruction of vehicles sent to aid in the defense of the 'hospital'. 5 prisoners were taken and more than 10 dead in the area plus those in the vehicles.

There is something that both Sharon and Bibi should be blamed for. For two years there almost has been no reserve duty drills. The equipment although not WWII and Korean War issue like I dealt with is very old - something like 6 day and Yom Kippur War From Rachamim:

We don't take our time translating like the USA in Iraq. We have plenty of Arabic speaking Jews and who can read Arabic. Although the information is vast, it can be printed out and sent from computer to computer.

Also the number of 120 injured included people treated for shock. The real numbers are 4 serious, 3 moderate and a few lightly injured.

Lebanon Wednesday. Two at Ayta a-Chaab where 3 Israeli troops died Tuesday

Only after some complaints was better equipment obtained. The fact of the matter is that the cuts in the military budget and Sharon's and Bibi's misconception of a smaller quality not quantity army does not work out in practice. Better late than too late to learn the lesson. If we had to go to war with Syria and Egypt, we would basically be up the creek without a paddle at this moment. Three soldiers injured, one seriously in Eastern Sector of South Lebanon Wednesday. Two at Ayta a-Chaab where 3 Israeli troops died Tuesday

8/1

Intelligence received by Stratfor in the past 24 hours indicates that Israel believes military operations against Hezbollah will soon be reaching a climax in Lebanon, and activity by both sides in the conflict since then has been intensifying. It has been our assessment that as Hezbollah fighters come under greater duress, there is a strong possibility that the organization will revert to employing terrorist tactics against Westerners that it used in the past - such as kidnappings, bombings or other acts of violence.

We have also taken note of a warden message issued yesterday, August 1st, that imposes a curfew on U.S. Embassy staff in Damascus - a precaution for their safety as emotions run high in Syria. We view this as further affirmation that, with military operations entering a crucial phase, the danger of terrorist activity is now ticking upward. We have no direct intelligence on this but we are clearly entering a period of heightened threat.

EU: No intent yet to add Hizbullah to terror list Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja says, 'Given the sensitive situation, I don't think this is something we will be acting on now' News Agencies The European Union does not intend to place Hizbullah on its list of terrorist organizations for the time being, EU President Finland said on Tuesday.

Australia: Jewish community center attacked

For second time in a week, Jewish institution attacked in Sydney when would-be arsonists target community center in city. Australian Jewish organizations: Incident related to conflict in Lebanon An additional act of violence against a Jewish institution in Sydney, Australia: A Jewish community center in the Bondi neighborhood of the capital was damaged by unknown vandals. CEO of the New South Wales board of deputies, Vic Alhadeff, said that gasoline-soaked logs were thrown at the building, in an attempt to set it on fire.

Israeli families attacked in Turkey

Peddlers in Turkish bazaar attack two Israeli families. Families claim attack on them is result of Qana incident. 'We feared for our lives,' one Israeli says Moran Zelikovich

Pursuant to situation in Lebanon, Israelis attacked in Turkey: Two Israeli families were attacked in a bazaar in the Turkish city of Absala, after peddlers discovered their nationality. Despite the massive altercation, the families were able to escape. The families told that, at the beginning of their trip, they encountered friendly faces, but after the attack on Qana, everything changes. The day they were attack, Eyal Yakar, his family and another family, were wandering around a local Turkish bazaar. When they approached one of the stalls for shoes and bags, one of the peddlers turned to them and asked: Israel? When they answered in the affirmative, the commotion began.

The questioning peddler attacked Eyal will fists and began spitting on him and his family. In a matter of minutes, several other peddlers began yelling, swearing and spitting. "People left their stands and surrounded us, spitting and cursing," Eyal narrated. "People began to grab us. They yelled sweats in Turkish. The children began to cry. We feared for our lives and started to flee, walking quickly. We became worried because, despite the fact that we were leaving, they followed us. We got in a cab and escaped," he recounted. "After the bombardment of Qana, they changed, because, typically, they're very pleasant. People on the bus also swore at us."

8/2: The following is a very disturbing set of images, and nothing should take away from the death of children. I'm not sure what to make of this article, but it suggests that the images of dead children have been heavily manipulated. The timelines of the photos indicate that the children's bodies were paraded around for several hours in various poses with the rescue workers acting out various scenes.

http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2006/07/milking-it.html

HRW report on Qana not credible, relies on local "eye witnesses" Human Rights Watch has issued a statement on the incident at Qana http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/08/02/lebano13899.htm which is based on unverifiable claims.

The "witnesses" from Qana, as well as the local rescue workers who reportedly did not see "any evidence of Hezbollah military presence in or around the home" cannot be considered reliable. HRW's statement fails to note that this area is controlled by the Hizbollah terror group, and HRW also ignores the photos and other evidence presented by different sources.

As clearly demonstrated by NGO Monitor, previous HRW reports and condemnations targeting Israel, routinely based on unverifiable and unreliable "evidence", and ignoring the other information, demonstrate a pattern of bias and lack of credibility. In addition, the failure to condemn the pervasive use of human shields by Hizbollah, which is a basic violation of human rights norms, highlights the bias in HRW reports.

Prof. Gerald Steinberg, editor, NGO Monitor:
mail@ngo-monitor.org
www.ngo-monitor.org
Kana "Massacre" Was a Fake

"...the dating of the various photos suggests that the same bodies were paraded before reporters on different occasions, each time as if they had just been pulled from the rubble. [In addition], some workers are wearing different gear in different photos, yet clearly carrying the same corpse."

http://www.israelnn.com/n ews.php3?id=109072
Arutz Sheva News Service - http://www.IsraelNationalNews.com

Thursday, August 3, 2006, 9 Av 5766

EVIDENCE MOUNTS THAT KANA "MASSACRE" WAS A FAKE
By Hillel Fendel

The world awoke this Sunday to the news that an Israeli airstrike had killed 57 Lebanese civilians, leading Israel to stop airstrikes for 2 days - but evidence shows the "massacre" was just a fraud.

The supposed massacre caused a major turnabout in world diplomacy. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice suddenly canceled her plans to fly to Beirut, saying "my work towards a ceasefire is really here [in Jerusalem] today." The implication was clearly that the onus was now upon Israel. French President Jacques Chirac condemned Israel's "unjustified action which demonstrates more than ever the need for an immediate ceasefire," Jordan's King Abdullah called it an "ugly crime," and other world leaders echoed these sentiments.

Though Israel emphasized that Hizbullah was to blame for waging its rocket war against Israel from within a civilian population, Foreign Ministry officials repeated their "deep regret at the loss of innocent life in the campaign against Hizbullah," and were forced to promise a "thorough and comprehensive examination."

Apparently, however, the incident was all one big fraud, staged by Arab elements for the world media in order to lead precisely to the situation described above.

The central piece of evidence leading to this conclusion is the fact, mentioned by IDF officials from the very beginning, that the building collapsed a full seven hours after the Israel Air Force bombing. Why, then, would the residents inside not have been evacuated in the meantime? As Brig.-Gen. Amir Eshel of the Israeli Air Force told reporters Sunday night, It is difficult for me to believe that they waited eight hours to evacuate it. Without additional evidence, Eshel merely left open the possibility that Hizbullah terrorists, or explosives they left behind, caused the explosion.

"Indeed," writes Robert Spencer for FrontPageMagazine, "it strains credulity that not only did these Lebanese civilians remain in a house that had been bombed for eight hours, but peacefully went to sleep in it after the bombing - since the victims were all apparently sleeping, despite continuing Israeli air bombardment in the area, when the building collapsed."

Gen. Eshel also said that the building was used by Hizbullah to store explosives. This was supported by a letter by Dr. Mounir Herzallah, a southern Lebanese Shiite, who wrote that Hizbullah terrorists came to his town, dug a munitions depot and then built a school and a residence directly over it.

In addition, as Reuven Koret writes for IsraelInsider, the bombing of the area occurred in three waves. The first bombs, according to CNN correspondent Brent Sadler, did not hit the building in question, but rather landed "20 or 30 meters" away. The second strike hit targets further away, and the third strike, around 7:30 in the morning, landed over 400 meters away. The first reports of a collapsed building arrived a half-hour later.

Another CNN correspondent, Ben Wedeman, noted that there was a larger crater next to the building. He observed that the roof of the building was intact and that the building appeared not to have collapsed as a result of the Israeli strike.

Thus, the building was used to store explosives, was apparently not destroyed by the bombing, and sheltered dozens of women and children throughout a night of bombing. The identity of the victims was also not clear, except that they were not the original occupants of the building; a National Public Radio correspondent reported that they had left. "The victims were non-residents who chose to shelter in the building that night," Koret writes, and who were "'too poor' to leave the town, one resident told CNN's Wedeman. Who were these people?"

Hear Koret speak about the Hizbullah manipulation on IsraelNationalRadio.com.

As an aside, the hospital in Tyre, Lebanon, and Human Rights Watch both reported today that 28 people were killed in the Kafr Kana bombing, and not twice that number, as originally reported.

Other facts brought by Koret and Spencer:

* Sometime after dawn a call went out to journalists and rescue workers to come to the scene. Though Hizbullah has been claiming that civilians could not freely flee the scene due to Israeli destruction of bridges and roads, the journalists and rescue teams from nearby Tyre had no problem getting there.

* Lebanese rescue teams did not start evacuating the building until after the camera crews came. The absence of a real rescue effort was explained by saying that equipment was lacking. There were no scenes of live or injured people being extracted.

* There was little blood, CNN's Wedeman noted, concluding that the victims appeared to have died while they were sleeping - despite the thunderous Israeli air attacks. Rescue workers equipped with cameras were removing the bodies from one opening in the collapsed structure, and journalists were not allowed near it.

* Rescue workers carrying the victims on stretchers occasionally flipped up the blankets so that cameras could show the faces and bodies of the dead. But, Koret noted, the ashen-gray faces of the victims gave cause to think that the bodies looked like they had been dead for days.

* Photos of the rescue operation transmitted all over the world are "extremely suspicious," Spencer writes, citing work by EU Referendum showing numerous anomalies in the photos. "Most notably," he writes, "the dating of the various photos suggests that the same bodies were paraded before reporters on different occasions, each time as if they had just been pulled from the rubble. [In addition], some workers are wearing different gear in different photos, yet clearly carrying the same corpse."

* The Christian Lebanese (French-language) website LIBANOSCOPIE has charged that Hizbullah staged the entire incident in order to stimulate calls for a ceasefire, thereby staving off its destruction by Israel and Lebanese plans to rid themselves of this terrorist plague.

Spencer concludes, "Americans and Westerners are not used to dealing with carefully orchestrated and large-scale deception of this kind. It is time that it be recognized as a weapon of warfare, and an extremely potent one at that."

Completion of inquiry into July 30th incident in Qana - Aug 2, 2006 03/08/2006 13:03:55
Information Department, Israel Foreign Ministry - Jerusalem
Website: http://www.mfa.gov.il

The inquiry confirms the information provided in the press briefing held by the IDF on the day of the incident, according to which the IDF targeted the building in an aerial attack on July 30th at 00:52 with two missiles, the first of which exploded and the second was apparently a dud.

The building was targeted in accordance with the military's guidelines regarding the use of fire against suspicious structures inside villages whose residents have been warned to evacuate, and which were adjacent to areas from where rockets are fired towards Israel. The guidelines were drafted based on surveillance and study of the behavior of the terrorists, who use civilian structures inside villages to store weaponry and hide in after launching rockets attacks.

Since July 12th, over 150 rockets were launched from within the village of Qana itself and the immediate surrounding area. The residents of Qana and the villages surrounding it were warned several times, through various media, to evacuate the area. The IDF operated according to information that the building was not inhabited by civilians and was being used as a hiding place for terrorists. Had the information indicated that civilians were present in the building the attack would not have been carried out. Prior to the attack on the aforementioned building several other buildings which were part of the infrastructure for terror activity in the area were targeted.

The Chief of Staff Lt. General Dan Halutz emphasized that "The Hizbullah organization places Lebanese civilians as a defensive shield between itself and us while IDF places itself as a defensive shield between the citizens of Israel and Hizbullah's terror. That is the principal difference between us."

The Chief of Staff instructed that guidelines for opening fire against suspicious targets be evaluated and updated immediately, while staying relevant with operational needs and the dynamic nature of the information received, as is done on a regular basis. The findings of the inquiry were also presented to the Minister of Defense.

IDF video clips available on MFA website http://www.mfa.gov.il The footage shows Hizbullah's firing of rockets from Kafr Qana and behind buildings, and the use of civilians as human shields: 1. Hizbullah missile fire from within the village of Kafr Qana
2. Hizbullah firing rockets from behind buildings
3. Hizbullah use of civilian shields

Official Military Source to IMRA: IDF will continue to honor human shields

IDF Video: "Brothers in Arms"

GAMLA has acquired a very special video made by the IDF forces and it is now on our web site for your viewing.

This video, set to the song by Dire Straits: "Brothers in Arms" is very moving and not only worth it for you to view, but to send to you friends!

WEBMASTERS! Link this page to you web site!!!! Don't MISS IT !!! http://www.gamla.org.il/english/news/brothers.htm

Aaron Lerner Aug 3

According to the IDF Spokesperson announcement "Completion of inquiry into July 30th incident in Qana" (see below), even though "The residents of Qana and the villages surrounding it were warned several times, through various media, to evacuate the area.". "Had the information indicated that civilians were present in the building the attack would not have been carried out."

IMRA asked the IDF Spokesperson's Office if this means that if the IDF had known that the building was indeed packed with rockets and also "civilians" that the IDF would not have hit it.

An "official security source" replied: "Yes. The IDF does not target innocent civilians."

IMRA asked the IDF Spokesperson's Office if this means that if Hezbollah organizes a group of "civilians" to ring a rocket launcher as the rocket is prepared for launch and then launches the rocket towards Israel that the IDF won't attack the target.

An "official security source" replied: "Yes. The IDF will not attack a target where innocent civilians are known to be present. Hezbollah is already doing this and the IDF is not attacking targets under those circumstances."
http://www.arabtimesonline.com/arabtimes/opinion/view.asp?msgID=1254

Opinion Column

WWW.MEMRITV.ORG , VIEWED IN ALL 192 COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD
Special Dispatch-Iran/ Syria
August 2, 2006
No. 1225
Iran and Syria Beat the Drums of War
To view this Special Dispatch in HTML, visit:
http://www.memri.org/bin/opener_latest.cgi?ID=SD122506

In the last few days senior Iranian and Syrian officials, including Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, have stepped up their statements on the war, with the Syrian regime's mouthpieces in the media following suit.

The following are excerpts:

Iranian Revolutionary Guards Commander: We Must Keep the Hatred of America Burning in Our Hearts Until the Moment of Revenge Arrives

The Iranian conservative news agency Fars reported that Iranian Revolutionary Guards Commander Yahya Raheem Safavi gave a speech before forces from the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij(1) on July 30, 2006, in which he demanded that they be prepared to act against Israel and the United States:

"I hope that our courageous and great nation will succeed one day in taking revenge against Israel and America, avenging the blood of the oppressed Muslims and the martyrs.

"We see America as also being the cause of the death of the 200,000 martyrs in the war that was forced upon us [i.e. the Iran-Iraq war], since it urged Saddam [Hussein] to attack Iran. We must keep the holy hatred burning in our hearts until the moment of revenge arrives. "In light of the Zionists' crimes and oppression, I ask God to hasten the years when this regime will no longer exist... The Zionists are hastening their own death through their foul deeds, since Hizbullah and the Lebanese people are undefeated. There is a need to topple the phony Zionist regime, this cancerous growth [called] Israel, which was founded in order to plunder the Muslims' resources and wealth."(2) The London Arabic-language daily Al-Quds Al-'Arabi, relying on the Fars news agency, quoted Safavi as saying that "the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij... need to be ready to respond against Israel and the United States. The Supreme Leader [Ayatollah Khamenei] will tell you when the time for this has come."(3)

Guardian Council Head Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati: All Muslims Must Provide Military Aid to Hizbullah

Iranian Guardian Council head Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati told the Iranian students news agency ISNA that the war of the Zionist regime in Lebanon paralleled the Ashura.(4) He emphasized the Shi'ite aspect of the war, and Hizbullah's role as defender of Shi'ites today. Ayatollah Jannati further called for all Muslims to provide military aid to Hizbullah. The following are excerpts from the ISNA report:

"Hizbullah is, in effect, [an organization of] supporters of God, Ali, and the house of Ali. All people in the world have a duty to maintain this supporter. The best support for God is supporting Islam's war against the infidels. I hope that I will live to see the celebrations of the victory of Islam over the infidels.

"The war against the Zionist regime in Lebanon is parallel to the Ashura, as Yazid thought that he would triumph after he led to the death of Imam Hussein when [actually] at Karbala the sons of Umayya took their greatest defeat [ and thus it will be with the Zionist regime].(5)

"Even though the entire Western and Eastern world [both] supported Iraq in the [Iran-Iraq] war, and no one supported Iran, we managed to win, with God's help.

"Today too it can be expected that the Muslim countries will not refuse [to provide] all kinds of aid, particularly military, medical, and food aid, to Hizbullah and the Lebanese people, and even to bring the wounded for treatment in the neighboring countries."

He added that "[Hizbullah leader] Hassan Nasrallah is the man of the century, because he alone stands facing the wild attacks of the Zionist regime."(6)

Kayhan Headline: "Tel Aviv is Expecting a Rain of Missiles" The conservative Iranian daily Kayhan, which is close to Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, published as its lead story for August 1, 2006: "A special announcement by Kayhan regarding the recent development in the fighting in Lebanon: Tel Aviv is expecting a rain of missiles."

In its report on reactions to the events in Kafr Qana, Kayhan wrote: "A wave of popular support, primarily in the Middle East, is flowing towards Hizbullah in Lebanon... Hassan Nasrallah, the best-known Arab Islamic figure in the Middle East, said in response to the crimes at Qana that he would respond with determination and surprise against the Zionist regime. According to him, they [the people of the Middle East] are waiting for Hizbullah missiles to strike the central city of Tel Aviv and destroy it. The Israelis too await this event; they themselves announced that the Hizbullah missiles had a range of 200 km, when the distance from the Lebanese border to Tel Aviv [sic] is only 120 km."(7)

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad: "Now is a Time for Popular and National Resistance"; "The Battle Will Continue So Long as Our Land is Occupied and So Long as Our Rights are Stolen"

On the occasion of the 61st anniversary of the establishment of the Syrian army, Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad issued a letter to the army. The following are excerpts, as reported by the Syrian government daily Al-Thawra:

"[Al-Assad wrote:] 'The anniversary of the establishment of the [Syrian] army falls this year amidst international circumstances [presenting] regional challenges that oblige us to be wary and alert and that make readiness and preparedness a necessity.

"'Indeed, the barbaric war of destruction that the Zionist enemy is conducting against our proud Arab people in Lebanon and in Palestine is growing crueler and crueler. Sister Lebanon is subject to open attack by the Israeli machine of aggression, by air, by sea, and by land, and the enemy is employing the most horrendous forms of murder, damage, and destruction, and is not skipping any person, stone, installation, or infrastructure...

"'Part of their battle and aggression is based on falsification of the facts and the truth. [Even] if there exists someone who makes their plans easier for them and promotes their claims, the peoples' pulse is stronger, and continues to exist. The time now is a time for popular and national resistance. This resistance succeeded in humiliating the occupiers, shattering their prestige in Iraq and Palestine, and so today in Lebanon, and it has proven to the world that the power of truth is stronger than all the hubris of the occupying power.

"'It is Israel that perpetrated and is perpetrating the aggression; it is [Israel] that takes [entire] nations hostage... It is [Israel] that holds thousands of prisoners in its jails and its prisons. It is Israel, more than any other, that is occupying our Arab lands in Palestine, the Golan Heights, and southern Lebanon.

"'These resistance fighters, and this people, are fighting in order to redeem their homelands and countries. They are fighting in order to defend their land and their honor. They have no banner other than that of victory, and they have proven that victory begins with a firm stance of honor, continues with exposing agents who have abandoned [their fellow Arabs], and ends with liberation.

"'Syria, which has always stood by its brothers, and has sacrificed ranks of martyrs in order to defend Lebanon's liberty just [as it did] to defend Syria's liberty, is today, as in the past, the strongest force and the force most determined to stand by our steadfast Arab people who are fighting in Lebanon and in Palestine, and to stand by the heroic Lebanese resistance that struck the enemy in its own base. All the shouting of threats that the forces of hegemony, who support the aggression, are sounding will not deter us from continuing in the path of liberation, from supporting our brothers, and from providing aid to the resistance.'

"Assad called on the armed forces, on all of the brigades and units, to heighten their efforts in the training fields, and to work and strive to be more prepared and to raise their level of preparedness, and said: 'Despite our belief that martyrdom is the path to liberty and victory, we must believe that every effort and each drop of sweat now in training will save a drop of blood when the time comes. The battle will continue so long as our land is occupied and so long as our rights are stolen. Victory will come, with Allah's help."(8)

Editor of Syrian Government Daily: Everyone in the Nation Needs to Decide in Whose Trench He Will Fight That of Israel, or That of the Resistance

An editorial by Dr. Khalaf Al-Jarrad, editor of the Syrian government daily Teshreen, read: "The strategic planners, decision-makers, and war [commanders] in the Zionist entity and among its supporters need to learn the nature of this region, and the meaning of martyrdom and honor among the peoples of the region... [Then] they will understand that their cruel wars, [and] the damage, destruction, and mass murder of our people in Iraq, Palestine, and Lebanon will do them no good and will not force our nation to suffer defeat and surrender. On the contrary: It will push millions of Arabs in the various nations to join the resistance, take up arms, and fight against Zionism...

"History has no mercy. Everyone in this nation and especially its rulers needs to choose the trench in which he will stand and in which he will fight. It must be either the trench of Israel, Zionism, and the U.S. (led by the neoconservatives), together with the right-wing and racist movements that have allied themselves with them, as well as the forces and organizations that support them militarily, politically, economically, intellectually, diplomatically, and ideologically, and have joined forces with them; or else the trench of the resistance, that defends the land, rights, honor, history, and identity, and on its side [are] all of the resistance forces Arab, Islamic, and international.

"There are no other options in this existential and decisive equation and at this decisive point in history."(9)

Syrian Minister: "Now That the Legendary Myth of Israeli Superiority has Been Shattered..."

Syrian Minister of Expatriates Buthayna Sha'ban wrote in the Syrian government daily Teshreen, and likewise in the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat: "It is clear that the disarmament of the resistance [i.e. Hizbullah], the destruction of Iraq, the tearing of the people of Iraq to pieces, and the threat to Syria all these are goals in the establishment of the New Middle East, in its Zionist-Western identity... The Arabs need to understand today that 'everything that brings them together is right, and everything that sows dissension among them is wrong.' Thus, the battle is long a battle of to be or not to be.

"[Condoleezza] Rice was right when she said that there will be no return [to the situation that prevailed] before the outbreak of the war. Even if she and Israel were to want [the situation] to return to what it was, the shattering of the legendary myth of Israeli superiority, and the fact that [the Arabs] have broken out of the spirit of frustration that Israel had sowed among them this will not allow the Arabs to agree any more to the humiliation, inferiority, and desperation that prevailed [before the war].

"There can be no doubt that the Middle East is indeed today in the throes of birth pangs. But the birth will be the birth of an Arab world, which will be ruled by its noble sons, who understand their own interests, are proud of their past, their present, and their future, and who sacrifice so that their children will have an honorable future in which the Arabs will achieve this unification and cooperation, so that the Arab voice will prevail in the international arena..."(10)

Editor of Syrian Government Daily Takes Arab Rulers to Task: You Can Drink Your Coffee With the Aroma of the Children of Qana

The editor of the Syrian government daily Al-Thawra, 'Abd Al-Fattah Al-'Awadh, wrote: "Oh Arab rulers, you rationalists and pragmatists and doves of peace, you can drink your morning coffee with the aroma of the children of [Kafr] Qana. You can now continue to clink your glasses and toast peace with Rice, and make from the skins of those who were killed robes for some of you, and ties for others, as souvenirs from Lebanon.

"Who will take Israel to task? Who will dare? Israel's history, which is full of massacres, demonstrates the aggressive and barbaric nature upon which it subsides, and which it is impossible to change in the way of the wise [Arab] rulers. It can only be changed through the mentality of the 'adventurer' resistance fighters...

"[Our] answer to you is: All of those who were killed are our children. Can the father forgive the murderer of his son?"(11)

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**Excerpts from statement by Defense Minister Amir Peretz to the Knesset - July 31, 2006
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Information Department, Israel Foreign Ministry - Jerusalem
Website: http://www.mfa.gov.il
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This is a war against the axis of evil, of states that support terrorism and fan the flames of hatred. We are fighting Hizbullah, which is a front of the extremist regime in Tehran, which funds, directs and encourages its murderous activity. Its members serve the same murderous ideology and receive orders and funding from the terror headquarters in Tehran and Damascus.

The entire world must know that we did not choose the military option. The world must remember that we have no territorial conflict on the northern border with Lebanon or on the southern border with the Palestinian Authority. Israel has left the Gaza Strip and has not been in Lebanon for six years, but terror does not cease. Rather, it has continued to grow, crossing Israel's terroritorial boundaries, physically as well as morally, and required us to act. This is a war that was forced on us after we did everything to prevent it.

The government of Lebanon abandoned the population of southern Lebanon to Hizbullah, which made them into a shield for their military power. Our current operation against Hizbullah has revealed its true face. We found rockets and missiles stored in private homes, sometimes in special rooms built to conceal them. We found Katyusha launchers firing from the courtyards of mosques, churches and schools. We found terrorists and munitions in every village, operations and communication centers in private homes. We found terror as part of everyday life in south Lebanon. Terror flourished, and the government of Lebanon remained silent.

While we make every effort to target only terrorist elements, Hizbullah strikes indiscriminatly at Israeli civilians and population centers. They send suicide bombers to explode in buses and restaurants. While they have no regard for human life, not giving a second thought to using innocent Lebanese civilians for their purposes, we make every effort to avoid harming uninvolved civilians. When they succeed in killing innocent train workers in Haifa, they consider it an operational success. When we kill innocent civilians, we consider it a tragedy to be investigated thoroughly.

I would like to state categorically: There is no Israeli pilot or commander who would issue an order to hurt uninvolved civilians. Whenever we intend to target a munitions depot in a building in which a family resides, Israeli Intelligence devotes great effort to find the telephone number of that family, phone them and ask them to left the house two hours before in order that they not be harmed. Yet, despite this, people are sometimes killed. This is a war zone, and the terrorist organizations know that their presence in populated areas will lead to civilian casualties.

I regret the outcome of the incident in Kafr Qana. We regret harming any adult or child, and we will continue to do everything to avoid it. We will not hesitate to investigate this incident claimed so many lives, in order to learn how to prevent loss of life in the future. We are not doing this to make a good impression on anyone. We are doing it for ourselves, for our own moral conscience.

We believe in the future of our region. It is therefore our aim to weaken the terrorist elements that threaten regional stability and to strengthen moderate elements, enabling them to assume responsibility for their own lives, their own countries. We do not wish to wage war against the Lebanese people, just as we have no interest in waging war against the Palestinian people. We are fighting terrorism in Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority.

At the same time, we demand that those who maintain sovereignty also take responsibility. We cannot continue to differentiate between sovereignty and responsibility - they go hand in hand.

Diplomatic efforts have intensified in recent days, alongside the military activity, and they complement one another. In coordination between myself and the Prime Minister, it was decided to restrict air force activity for 48 hours and to focus on countering attacks against Israel, while facilitating humanitarian aid to the Lebanese population in the combat areas. US Secretary of State Rice has left Israel in order to continue to create the diplomatic foundations for a change in reality, but the real outcome will be affected by events on the ground. There will therefore be no change in our determined stand.

The IDF will broaden its activity against Hizbullah. The IDF has succeeded in significantly damaging Hizbullah's long-range rocket-launching ability. It is important to stress that the size of Hizbullah's arsenal of rockets exceeded that of many regular armies. This arsenal still poses a threat to Israel, and we will continue to work to minimize Hizbullah's rocket-launching capacity.

We will not agree to the return of Hizbullah's flags waving on Israel's border and posing a threat to the State of Israel. The multinational force to be stationed in Lebanon will be empowered by the United Nations to act firmly against any terrorist elements that will attempt to resume its activity in the field. The multinational force will have to train the Lebanese army and police the border crossings between Syria and Lebanon, in order to prevent the rearming of Hizbullah. We insist that the multinational force to be send to the region will be competent and well trained, and that it be given significant powers of enforcement, not symbolic, in order that it be able to fulfill its obligations in south Lebanon.

We also appealed to the international community to establish a civilian multinational force that will be responsible for the rehabilitation of Lebanon, so that Iran will not be able, through its funds and resources, to take root again within the population of southern Lebanon.

As a man of peace, I say: We must not agree to an immediate cease fire. Only by overcoming terrorism can we achieve peace.