The Israel High Court of Justice unanimously ruled on Thursday that the policy of targeted killings of Arab terrorists cannot be disqualified in all cases.

It cannot be determined from the outset that every targeted killing is prohibited by international law, just as it cannot be determined from the outset that every targeted killing is permitted, the outgoing president of the Supreme Court, Judge Aharon Barak, wrote in his ruling. In his view, each case has to be carefully examined individually, and it has to be ensured that the risk to innocent bystanders is not excessive. The end does not always justify the means, Barak concluded.

The former chairman of the Israel National Security Council, Maj. Gen. (res.) Giora Eiland, was pleased by the ruling. “Anyone who thinks that in this kind of warfare things cannot go wrong and mistakes cannot happen, does not know in what world he is living,” Eiland told Israel Army Radio. “Compare the terrorist attacks that were taking place only four years ago with those taking place today. In the last analysis, we are now living in an incomparably better situation now than what we lived in then. How do you think that came about? It is partly due to targeted killings,” Eiland said.

In contrast, Israeli Arab Member of Knesset Ahmed Tibi, former advisor to Yassir Arafat, said that the ruling perpetuates the defense-orientated line dictated by the High Court of Justice, including expulsions, evictions, assassinations and the other crimes of the occupation.

Hezbollah Puts Medium-Range Rockets Across Litani

The Hezbollah terrorist organization has begun to redeploy across the Litani River. In recent weeks, activists of the organization have begun to place medium-range Katyushas and other rockets on the other side of the Litani river, aiming them at Israel.

In the first weeks of the war, the Israeli Air Force managed to destroy a considerable number of the medium-range rockets of the terrorists, but the stumbling block that remained lay in the thousands of short-range rockets which continued to rain down on the Galilee until the last day of the war. If so, the change that Hezbollah is planning, as reported Wednesday on Israeli TV, could threaten Israeli towns and villages, and Israel will have to demand that the Lebanese government and its army remove this threat. Arab terrorists are now equipped with Katyushas and other rockets without guidance systems, which have a range of up to dozens of kilometers. And by putting them in the right places, they can aim them at residential areas in the Galilee and northern Israel.

During the summer conflict, the terrorists also fired long-range rockets at Beit Shean, Haifa and Hadera, and these rockets too can also be placed across the Litani in static bases or on trucks from which they can be fired.

Second Madrid Conference To Be Held

Fifteen years after the Madrid peace conference, which convened after the first Gulf War, the second Madrid conference will be held at the beginning of next month. It will include unofficial representatives of Israel, Syria, Lebanon, the Palestinians, Jordan and Egypt – all the governments that participated in the first conference.

The initiative is being backed by the Spanish government and three international peace organizations: The Toledo International Center for Peace, Search for Common Ground and a three-culture institute. The governments of Denmark, Sweden and Norway are also giving sponsorship to the conference, and their three foreign ministers will attend it. King Juan Carlos of Spain, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero and Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos will receive the participants of the conference in the royal palace.

The conference will last for three days. Its goal will be to place all the peace initiatives on the table and to call upon the governments to return to the negotiating table, based on the understanding that the gaps between the parties are bridgeable.

At first, the Spanish government considered convening the second Madrid conference with the participation of official representatives, but they encountered a lack of response on the part of the governments in the region. This caused them to bypass the governments and turn by an indirect route to civil society organizations – so that they will pressure their governments to return to the negotiating table.

In the backdrop of the conference are the latest events in the Middle East, including the war in Iraq, the war in Lebanon, the Baker-Hamilton report and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s speech in Sde Boker at the memorial ceremony for David Ben-Gurion. The conference will also include American, Russian, Saudi and European representatives as observers, as well as Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa.

The senior Israeli representative participating in the initiative, who will represent Israel in the conference, is former foreign minister Prof. Shlomo Ben-Ami, who is a member of the Toledo International Center for Peace.

At this stage, it is not yet known who will represent Syria or Lebanon. The Palestinians, however, have already confirmed the participation of a high-ranking delegation. At this stage, the organizers are keeping the names of the participants secret, for fear that advance publication would obstruct their participation.

Italian Guards Leave Posts At Jewish, Israeli Institutions In Rome

Italian police guards have been withdrawn, without warning, from Israeli and Jewish institutions in Rome.

About 10 days ago, without warning or explanation, the police cars that had been permanently stationed for over 10 years outside the El Al office in Rome, at Jewish community offices, the Jewish school and the synagogues throughout the city, suddenly disappeared – at all times on the eve of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s visit to the city, a visit that ended Wednesday night.

The surprising step aroused apprehension among Jews in Rome, who have not forgotten the terrorist attack at the synagogue in 1982, when a 2-year-old boy, Stefano Tasha, was killed and 40 people were injured.

Since then, the leaders and institutions of the Jewish community have had total protection – until this week. The city’s Jews, who prayed last Saturday at 10 synagogues without security guards, fear that history will repeat itself and the next terrorist attack is drawing near.

The Jewish school is also a priority target for terrorism. At least that is how it was described in the Italian media only about two months ago, and after angry protests from the Jewish community, it was agreed that the guards would be restored – temporarily. The police headquarters stated that it was intended that the police guards would be returned – perhaps even Thursday morning – to all the places which they had been guarding, but parents told Ma’ariv that they were “angry and concerned” about the new security instructions.

A police car was first stationed outside the El Al office in Rome after the terrorist attack at Fiumicino Airport in 1985, when 16 people were killed and 70 wounded. For the most part, the police car prevented suspicious vehicles from parking there, and the police were instructed to keep a close watch. Now, however, there is no police car there, and it is feared that the El Al office, which is a palpable Israeli symbol, would be an easy target.

At present, the Israeli embassy in Rome does not intend to approach the Italian Foreign Ministry and turn the issue into a diplomatic confrontation between the two countries, especially in light of the cordial atmosphere Wednesday at the joint news conference of the two prime ministers. On the other hand, the security officer at El Al is expected to have a meeting with his Italian counterparts in an attempt to reach an agreement.

Asked for a reaction, the Israeli embassy in Rome said it does not discuss security matters with the media. The Italian police also refused to comment on why, in the wake of re-evaluations of the security situation by the Italian security establishment, a decision had been made to withdraw the security guards from a list of diplomatic missions, airline offices and other institutions that had been protected for decades.

©The Bulletin 2006


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David Bedein
David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.