Hezbollah says can kill tens of thousands of Israelis

The Iranian-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah said on Friday it could kill tens of thousands of Israelis by striking specific targets in Israel with what it described as precision-guided rockets.

“I tell the Israelis that you have a number of targets, not a large number … that can be hit with precision rockets … which we have,” Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah said in a broadcast speech.

He said he would not name the targets and did not say whether the rockets were newly acquired weapons.

Nasrallah said his group could strike a limited number of targets in Israel which if hit would lead to mass casualties – a possible reference to Israeli nuclear facilities, though he said he did not spell out what he meant.

Israel, the only Middle East country outside the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), has never confirmed or denied having nuclear weapons.

“Hitting these targets with a small number of rockets will turn … the lives of hundreds of thousands of Zionists to real hell, and we can talk about tens of thousands of dead,” said Nasrallah.

Nasrallah was speaking on the occasion of Jerusalem Day, marked each year on the last Friday of Ramadan in accordance with a tradition established by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the late supreme leader of Iran.

Israeli airstrikes kill Islamic Jihad member

Israel’s Air Force killed a Palestinian gunman in Gaza.

The Islamic Jihad member was killed, and five comrades wounded, after midnight Wednesday in airstrikes that Israel said prevented terrorists from firing rockets across the border. The Palestinians said Israeli ground forces also carried out a brief foray over the border, east of Gaza City.

Israel and Islamic Jihad have traded fire recently while Hamas, which controls Gaza, has appeared to prefer staying on the sidelines. The prisoner swap in mid-October under which Israel repatriated captive soldier Gilad Shalit deprived Hamas of what was widely seen as “insurance” against Israeli targeting its leadership in military retaliations.

Hamas, the dominant Palestinians Islamist movement, which in the past has proposed, with heavy conditions, a truce with the Jewish state, is also biding its time as the kindred Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt gathers political power in Cairo.

Israeli troops kill Palestinian approaching border

Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian man who entered a security zone near the Gaza-Israel border.

The man, 22, approached the border on Tuesday night between Israel and Gaza where, according to the Israel Defense Forces, terrorists often plant bombs or attack Israeli patrols. It is not known if he had any weapons or explosives with him.

The shooting death occurred less than a day after Israeli airstrikes hit four targets in the Gaza Strip in retaliation for a rocket attack on Beersheba, killing a Palestinian man. The Israeli Air Force on Tuesday morning also struck a squad of terrorists preparing to fire rockets at Israel, thwarting the attack, the IDF said.

Cluster Silence

I haven’t heard major Jewish groups rush to comment on Israel’s use of cluster bombs in the war against Hezbollah.When they have spoken up, they’ve eitherweakly defended Israel’s actions or expressed their concerns in private.

What a mistake.

Cluster bombs burst into bomblets that disperse over a wide area near the ground. Because many bomblets do not explode when launched — between 14 and 40 percent by varying estimates — they become de facto land mines that can kill or maim humans long after a conflict ends.

That’s what has happened in southern Lebanon, thanks to Israel.According to data collected by the United Nations’ Mine Action Coordination Centre of South Lebanon and by international and Israeli human rights organizations, Israel used between hundreds and many thousands of cluster bombs in its shelling of southern Lebanon.

The cluster bomblets spread over a radius of some 220 yards. As of Sept. 28, according to a report in The New York Times, cluster bombs had severely wounded 109 people — and killed 18 others.

The Times report told, among others, the story of Muhammad Hassan Sultan, 12, from Sawane, a hillside village in south Lebanon now littered with cluster bombs. “Muhammad was sitting on a hip-high wall, watching a bulldozer clear rubble, when the machine bumped into a tree.

“A flash of a second later he was fatally injured when a cluster bomblet dropped from the branches.”

The explosion cut into his neck and head.

As is becoming unfortunately more common, the only real Jewish outrage to these munitions is coming from Israel.

The most damning revelations that Israel was using these bombs were published in the Israeli newspaper, Ha’aretz. A Sept. 12 article quoted the unnamed head of an Israeli rocket unit as saying: “What we did was insane and monstrous; we covered entire towns in cluster bombs.” The commander said that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) used delivery systems called Multiple Launch Rocket System platforms, despite the fact that experts consider them highly inaccurate.The rocket unit head stated that Israeli forces fired about 1,800 cluster bombs, containing more than 1.2 million bomblets.

The IDF response was not, sad to say, an automatic denial. The military spokesman’s office said that “international law does not include a sweeping prohibition of the use of cluster bombs.” Israeli military, it said, “makes use only of methods and weaponry which are permissible under international law.”

In fact, there is ample evidence to conclude that Israel’s use of the cluster bombs in southern Lebanon clearly violated international law. Again it was an Israeli human rights group, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, that made the argument in a letter to Israeli Attorney General Menahem Mazuz that cluster bombing civilian areas constitutes “an extremely severe violation of the basic principle upon which humanitarian law is based.”

The group cited numerous examples where “the firing of cluster bombs in urban areas, with complete disregard for the dangers they pose to the lives of innocent civilians, establishes, prima facie, sufficient criminal intent to carry out the deliberate killing or injury of innocent civilians.”

The State Department is investigating whether the munitions Israel used were American-made. The rules regarding Israel’s use of American munitions are not widely known or clear. But it doesn’t take a Karen Hughes, the Bush administration’s ambassador for public diplomacy to the Muslim world, to figure out that the continuing maiming and killing of Lebanese civilians by made-in-America cluster bombs cannot help America’s standing in the world.

That concern prompted two Democratic senators to introduce legislation that would require recipients of such munitions not to use them in or near civilian centers.

The Cluster Munitions Amendment to the 2007 defense appropriations bill, authored by Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), would have prevented Department of Defense funds from being spent to transfer cluster bombs to foreign countries, unless the Pentagon ensures that such bombs do not jeopardize civilians.The measure lost a Sept. 15 Senate vote 70-30, with all 55 of the chamber’s Republicans voting against it.

At an Oct. 11 discussion in Los Angeles with the Pacific Council on International Policy, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Richard H. Jones underplayed criticism of Israel over its use of the bombs. He declined to confirm reports that the bombs were American made, pending the results of a State Department investigation, and he reiterated the most common rejoinder to Israel’s critics on this matter: That Hezbollah used similar munitions in Israel.

Indeed, Human Rights Watch reported Oct. 20 that Hezbollah guerrillas fired several hundred cluster rockets at civilian areas of northern Israel during this summer’s war with Israel.

He also said that Israel didn’t choose this war, and “war is hell.”I appreciate the ambassador’s defense of an ally, but it doesn’t change the fact that using cluster bombs in civilian areas is morally suspect, to say the least, and a good many Israelis think it is tactically counterproductive.

But American Jewish voices of outrage? Nada.

Look, I understand we live in a time when Israel is under constant attack from a well-Arab-oil-funded propaganda machine. I understand its enemies are ruthless and tireless, and that Israel’s opponents will undoubtedly harp on the cluster bomb issue with nary a word against Hezbollah, Hamas or Israel’s terrorist and dictatorial foes.But it does Israel no favors to stand mute when its policies undermine the country’s own moral foundations and challenge basic notions of humanity.

So here’s a little hint about when it’s time for AIPAC and AJC and the Museum of Tolerance and others to challenge Israel’s actions:When the best defense is “Hezbollah does it, too.”



We read the story of Queen Esther, Megillat Esther, twice – on Thursday evening and Friday morning. Let’s see if you know the story.

Put the parts in the right order.

__Mordechai tells Esther Haman’s plan.

__Mordechai will not bow to Haman. Haman decides to kill all the Jews on Adar.

__4. Mordechai saves the kings life by overhearing and exposing a plot to kill him.

__Haman is hanged along with his 10 sons.

__Vashti is canned. Esther becomes the new queen.

__Queen Vashti refuses to show up at the party.

__On the 13th day of Adar, the Jews outside the city of Shushan defend themselves. They win! They celebrate their victory on the 14th of Adar. That day becomes the holiday of Purim.

__The king can’t sleep. He reads his diary and remembers that Mordechai saved his life.

__Esther risks her life by going to Ahasuerus uninvited. She invites him and Haman to a banquet.

__At the banquet, Esther reveals that she is a Jew and that Haman wants to kill her people.

__King Ahasuerus throws a party.

__9. Haman visits the king. Ahasuerus calls Haman to take Mordechai around town in royal robes, riding a white horse.)

Now that you have put the story in order, find the hidden word by locating the letter in each sentence that matches the number below. (Hint: In the fourth sentence, the 11th letter is A.)

–  –  –  – –  –  –  – –  –  – –

6 7 2 1 1 1 2 1 2 4 1 2


Security — Israeli Style

For a nice Jewish boy who grew up on Beverly Hills’ Whittier Drive, Aaron Cohen has an unusual skill: He can kill people.

He’d prefer not to, but if he must, he will. And it’s not a joking matter. It’s part of the training that he picked up in three years in the counterterrorism unit of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). It’s part of the package he delivers if you sign up to work with his year-and-a-half-old company, IMS (Israeli Military Specialists).

"There’s definitely a respect not just in the Jewish community but elsewhere for the IDF," Cohen said. "That gets you in the door. What’s going to sell it is the ability to analyze a problem and tell them what they need. There’s feel-good security and there’s real security. We offer real security."

Cohen, 26, likes to tell people he was "born and raised here, but grew up in Israel." After graduating Beverly Hills High School in 1995, he went to Israel, volunteered for the IDF and was selected for counterterrorism work. He won’t give details of training or assignments, which adds to the mystique. He will say he spent three years undercover in the disputed territories, then he came home.

He started his company in October 2000. Jackie Chan was one of his first clients from the showbiz world, one of the few famous ones Cohen will talk about, because they’ve been seen in public together. "When Jackie Chan is in town, his management company comes only to us. We also deal with major corporate clients, but I can’t reveal them," Cohen said.

Then came Sept. 11. Everyone, it seemed, wanted to talk about Israeli-style security, and how Israeli security would have prevented the hijackers from commandeering those passenger jets. Israeli planes already have secure cockpit doors. Israeli pilots know that if someone comes through that door, they shoot. Period.

Cohen explained his approach: "Let’s say the president of a corporation is getting threatening e-mails or has a problem with an employee. We consult, analyze and recommend. If hired, we set up everything, from cameras to guards to training to background checks. If they had pre-Sept. 11 security paying $18 an hour for a guard, half of that goes to the guard, half to their company. Nobody’s going to risk their lives for $9 an hour.

"I make it clear we’re expensive, $5,000 dollars a day for the initial consultation, but I explain why. If you’re going to have armed guards, you want people with as much experience as possible."

The media, myself included as a then-correspondent for "EXTRA," couldn’t get enough of the Israeli angle. That brought me and a camera crew to a private shooting range in Valencia. Cohen, his staff and trainers, speaking in Hebrew, were all business, as they should be when you’re handling live ammunition. Practicing with real bullets and firing Glock 9 mm pistols certainly seems to keep you focused. First it was "Israeli-style tactical shooting." I was on the firing line with Cohen leaning over my shoulder. You draw, aim and shoot in one smooth motion. There is no time wasted sighting. Why? In combat you don’t have the time to lock in the sights on your target.

Then it was time for the VIP protection drill. I would be playing that role in the back seat of a rented Lincoln, one guard next to me, another driving. We rolled up to a mock arrival line. I got out, escorted by the guard that was sitting next to me, when the "attack" happened. A masked gunman came at us out of nowhere, pistol blazing. "Gun!" someone shouted. The guard’s body shielded mine. He drew his gun and fired. Then I was turned around and propelled back into the backseat of the car, the guard on top of me, as we roared off. It took about five seconds. The gunman who had "attacked" us? Dead. My guard "shot" him before shoving me back into the car. (We switched to blanks loads for this exercise.)

The Israelis have a method: If you attack them, they not only fight back, they make sure you’re dead before they leave. Again, it adds to the mystique. A dramatic demonstration for our cameras? Yes, but at the same time, very impressive.

There is competition from larger established companies, but Cohen thinks he has an edge that comes with the "I" in the company name. He says it’s not about the money.

"I’d rather have two clients who do what we tell them to do and benefit from our services than 500 clients who have feel-good security and we’d benefit financially."

Yet, he’s alarmed because a year after Sept. 11, he sees people starting to relax. Despite the ongoing warnings, Cohen finds that people, companies, executives and celebrities are once again less than vigilant. Not him though. Never.