Newsletter : 6fax0817.txt
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Israelis Wonder Who Won
Israel Faxx News Services
Israelis are divided on whether their country won the Lebanon war, a poll found.
Thirty percent of those polled by Yedioth Ahronoth this week said Israel won the month
long war, while an equal number said Hizbullah won. Thirty-six percent said neither side
won. Seventy percent of respondents said they were against the ceasefire declared this
week, as it did not guarantee the return of two soldiers whose July 12 abduction by
Hizbullah triggered Israel's offensive in Lebanon. The survey gave Israel's leaders poor
grades for performance. The survey, published Wednesday, had a margin of error of 4.5
Is an International Peacekeeping Force Being Assembled?
By Jim Teeple (VOA-Jerusalem) & IsraelNationalNews.com
The Lebanese defense ministers told an Arabic newspaper Wednesday that there is no need
to disarm Hizbullah terrorists because "the only weapons that there will be in southern
Lebanon at those of the Lebanese army." Alias Al Mar told Al Aharam that Hizbullah is
cooperating with the Lebanese army, but he did not disclose details.
Lebanese media also are telling citizens that the IDF will pull all of its troops out
this week despite Israel's insistence that soldiers will remain in southern Lebanon until
an international force is deployed, regardless of how long it takes.
The Druze leader in Lebanon has asserted that Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah is
attempting a takeover of the Lebanese government. Hizbullah already has two ministers in
the Lebanese cabinet.
Walid Jumblatt told an Arabic newspaper based in London that Nasrallah's speech shows
the leader of Hizbullah is aiming for a political coup. Nasrallah said that without his
terrorist organization, Lebanon cannot defend itself.
The three-day-old truce in Lebanon continued to hold as diplomats scrambled to assemble
an international peacekeeping force to police the ceasefire between Israel and Hizbullah
terrorists. Israel's top general said some Israeli troops might have to stay in Lebanon
for months to come.
Israel's Defense Forces chief, Air Force Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz, told a parliamentary
committee that some Israeli troops could stay in Lebanon for months - if it takes that
long to get international peacekeepers into positions in southern Lebanon. Halutz made his
comments as some Israeli units in Lebanon continued their drawdown of forces.
Israeli commanders had said they hoped to have Israeli troops out of Lebanon by the end
of next week, but Halutz said Israel could stop withdrawing its troops altogether unless
Lebanon's army deploys in southern Lebanon as called for by U.N. resolution 1701, passed
last Friday by the Security Council.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan met with Israeli officials about the deployment of
the peacekeepers. In an interview with Israeli television, the U.N. chief said the
deployment could be slower than expected. "We are trying to move them [international
peacekeepers] as quickly as possible. Once we have deployed, it may take weeks or months,
but we are trying to move them as quickly as we can."
Under the U.N.-mediated ceasefire, 13,000 peacekeepers will join the 2,000-member U.N.
force already in Lebanon. The peacekeepers are supposed to help the Lebanese army
demilitarize southern Lebanon and stop the flow of weapons to Hizbullah.
U.N. diplomats said they hoped to have the first contingent of 3,500 peacekeepers in
Lebanon in two weeks, but Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Israel has been
growing increasingly concerned about the delays.
Lebanese Ceasefire Plan in Jeopardy
The U.N. ceasefire plan is falling apart; leaving the possibility Hizbullah will re-arm
itself while Israel's hands are tied by international pressure.
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told CNN that the government has evidence that Iran and
Syria already are supplying Hizbullah terrorists with more arms via Syria. The government
is relying on United Nations Security Council resolution 1701 - the ceasefire - to solve
the problem, but the agreement appears to have been followed by more problems than
France has provided the latest hitch in the deployment of the proposed international
United Nations force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). The French general in charge of UNIFIL was
quoted in a French newspaper as saying that it could take up to a year to deploy the
Paris has promised to send thousands of troops to lead the international force to carry
out the ceasefire resolution, which requires "the disarmament of all armed groups in
Lebanon, so that... there will be no weapons or authority in Lebanon other than that of
the Lebanese State."
However, the resolution also calls for "no foreign forces in Lebanon without the
consent of its government," and Lebanon already has said it will not force Hizbullah give
up its arms. The French defense minister also has said its forces will not take away arms
from Hizbullah terrorist guerillas.
Thousands of French soldiers are on ships ready to sail to Lebanon, but the government
now is backtracking, wanting a clear definition of its mandate and when soldiers can open
fire, according to the Associated Press.
In a classic "chicken and egg" situation, the French government has said it does not
want to commit how many soldiers it will send until other countries commit themselves.
However, most nations have said they will act only after France takes the lead. Germany, a
major European Union power, still is hesitating. The government has agreed in principle to
send troops, but they may be deployed in non-sensitive areas to prevent the unwanted
situation of German soldiers firing on Israeli troops or vice-versa.
Deployment of an international force is complicated by the presence of Hizbullah
terrorists. Theoretically, the 18-mile swath of land south of the Litani River to the
Israeli border would be manned by Lebanese troops, who have been absent for two decades
from the area where Hizbullah have been firmly entrenched.
Hizbullah's terrorist guerillas have built up a powerful infrastructure of weapons,
especially during the six years following Israel's rapid withdrawal in 2000. It also has
established itself as the social benefactor to the predominately Shi'ite Muslim
population, providing services in place of the government and making itself a de facto
state within the country.
The Lebanese government is approaching a compromise solution that would leave Hizbullah
armed on condition its weapons are concealed. This violates the UN resolution, which
states in Paragraph 8 that southern Lebanon must remain free of armed groups other than
the Lebanese Army and UNIFIL.
However, Arutz-7's Hillel Fendel noted, the situation is muddled by the presence of a
contradictory clause; Paragraph 3 "emphasizes [as opposed to 'calls for' - ed.] the
importance of the extension of the control of the Government of Lebanon over all Lebanese
territory... so that there will be no weapons without the consent of the Government of
In any event, leaving Hizbullah armed keeps a status quo situation which U.S. Secretary
of State Condoleezza Rice has insisted would not be tolerated.
The current UNIFIL generally has been acknowledged as ineffective in preventing
Hizbullah terrorists from attacking Israel. He told BBC this week that if his forces see a
ceasefire violation, "I call both parties... I beg them to stop." Evidence also has been
produced that UNIFIL abetted Hizbullah in the abduction of IDF soldiers several years
Israel has agreed to withdraw its troops in conjunction with the deployment of the new
international UNIFIL force, which is to patrol along with the Lebanese army. The AP quoted
unnamed IDF sources as saying the withdrawal could begin as early as Thursday. But the
plan is dependent on the deployment of Lebanese troops, which so far have remained north
of the Litani River. The Lebanese government has not been able to meet to discuss the
deployment because of divisions within the government, which includes two representatives
of the Hizbullah terrorist organization and another three ministers who are pro-Hizbullah.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack has explained the dilemma in the same
language the American government used to rationalize the authority of the Hamas-led
legislature in the Palestinian Authority (PA).
In response to a question asking why Lebanon does not take steps to disarm Hizbullah,
McCormack replied, "Well, what we are saying is the Lebanese people have a choice. They
have to decide their own politics."
Hizbullah arch-terrorist leader Hassan Nasrallah also has refused to give up his
weapons. The IDF discovered many of them during the war, including advanced rockets,
throughout southern Lebanon. Nasrallah, resting on the laurels of having prevented Israel
from returning the two IDF soldiers his terrorists kidnapped, said in a televised speech
Monday night that those calling for disarmament are guilty of "insensitivity and
The difficulty in distinguishing between civilians and Hizbullah terrorists also makes
the U.N. plan more theoretical than practical, according to the Washington Post.
"[Hizbullah] keeps its presence secret and many militia members are local residents who
take up arms only when called on by their leaders," the Post writes. "Their departure has
not been envisaged" Lebanese officials said, "and only the militia's officers and their
weapons must be pulled back north of the Litani as part of the U.N. ceasefire."
"What are the alternatives you have come up with?" Nasrallah asked in his speech. "Can
the Lebanese army and the United Nations troops step up to the plate to defend the nation?
Haste and simplification are out of the question. We were ready and will always be ready
for dialogue to extend the authority of the state. We are part of the government and a
basic part of it."
Iran Leader Hails Hizbullah's "Victory for Islam"
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has sent a letter to Hizbullah chief
Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah praising Hizbullah's "victory" over Israel as a victory for
"Your gift to the Muslim nation with your holy struggle and steadfastness is beyond the
limits of my description," Khamenei said in the letter broadcast by the group's al-Manar
television station late on Wednesday. "Your victory was a victory for Islam. You have
forced your military supremacy against the Zionist enemy," it said.
Iran is a staunch supporter of Hizbullah, which fought a fierce 34-day war with Israel
after capturing two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid on July 12. The war was
brought to a halt by a U.N.-brokered truce on Monday.
Suha Arafat Marries
According to rumors, Yasir Arafat's widow has married the Tunisian president's
brother-in-law, who was supposed to marry her sister, but chose Suha due to her large
From now on say Suha al-Trablusi: Suha Arafat, widow of Yasir Arafat, secretly married
Lahasn al-Trabulsi, the brother-in-law of the Tunisian president, a number of days ago, a
Tunisian website reported.
As is fitting to the widow of the former Palestinian Authority chairman, this time Suha
also married someone close to power. Al-Trablusi is the brother of Leila Ben Ali, who is
the wife of Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.
The sister and her husband gave their blessing to the marriage.
The marriage followed a wave of stubborn rumors in Tunisia, according to which
al-Trablusi planned to marry Suha's sister. However, credible sources said that he
divorced a few months ago to marry Suha and not her sister, and that one of the main
reasons for the wedding is that is his interest in Suha's large fortune.
Two years ago, after Arafat's death, Suha was personally promised by Mahmoud Abbas'
staff that she would receive $22 million a year, on the basis of an agreement Arafat
himself sent to his wife while on his death bed $11 million to cover her lifestyle
in Paris for six months.
Abbas and Palestinian senior figures were forced to come to a deal with Suha, after she
"created facts on the ground," in accordance with French law, and prevented PA members
from visiting Arafat as he was dying, or to take decisions on disconnecting the life
support machine, until she received her promise. PA senior figures concluded it was worth
paying her and ending the episode.
The money given to Suha comes from the "secret fortune" of the PA, managed personally
by the PA president. The fortune is worth around $4 billion, and is kept in a number of
bank accounts in Tel Aviv, London and Zurich.
Since Arafat's death, Suha refused to live in PA territory or any Arab capital other
than Tunis, and enjoys close relations with the Tunisian president and his wife.
Hollywood Stars Blast Nasrallah
Heads of the film industry in Hollywood and prominent movie stars have signed a
statement blaming Hamas and Hizbullah for terror activities in the Middle East, the war in
Lebanon and for harming innocents.
Some 84 senior film industry members signed the statement, published in the Hollywood
Reporter, the Los Angeles Times and Variety.
Among the signatories: Sylvester Stallone, James Woods, Bruce Willis, director Ridley
Scott, tennis player Serena Williams, Nicole Kidman, Michael Douglas, Dennis Hopper,
William Hurt, Josh Malina, Kelly Preston, Danny DeVito, Don Johnson and media tycoon
The Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles has been active since the start of fighting with
an aim of drafting Hollywood stars to back Israel. During the war, Ehud Danoch, the consul
general, initiated a mission aimed at enlisting support for Israel in Hollywood. The team
was comprised of Israeli directors and producers in Hollywood.
The statement said that if terror around the world was not stopped, chaos would rule
and innocents would continue to die. The statement called for terror to be stopped at any
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