• This is a rush transcript from "The Journal Editorial Report," December 9, 2006.

    PAUL GIGOT, HOST: This week on the "Journal Editorial Report," the new rules of war. Recently declassified documents highlight Hezbollah terror tactics in this summer's 34-day conflict in Lebanon.

    Plus, should President Bush take the Iraq Study Group advice and negotiate with Iran and Syria?

    And a global warming gag order — two U.S. Senators tell ExxonMobil to start towing the line on climate change or else.

    Those topics, plus our weekly "Hits and Misses, but first, these headlines.


    GIGOT: Welcome to the "Journal Editorial Report." I'm Paul Gigot.

    In the wake of this summer's 34-day conflict in Lebanon, international human rights groups have accused Israel of war crimes, saying that the IDF fired into populated areas and, in some cases, deliberately targeting civilians.

    But a new report documents what Israel has long been claimed, that Hezbollah stored weapons in Mosques, battled Israelis from inside empty schools and launched rockets near U.N. monitoring posts.

    One video included in the report shows a captured Hezbollah guerrilla telling interrogators how they militia rented houses in residential areas to secretly store missiles.

    Avi Bell is a law professor at Bar Ilan University in Israel and a visiting professor at Fordham University Law School. He joins me now in the studio.

    Avi Bell, welcome.


    GIGOT: What do those videos and testimony tell us about the strategy - - war strategy of groups like Hezbollah?

    BELL: Well, basically, the entire strategy is based on the commission of war crimes. That is they attack civilians. They hide among civilians. They pretend to be civilians. And they use civilians as cover.

    And the idea is that, first of all, it is going to make it more difficult to strike at them. And second of all, they are relying on media reports to criticize countries like Israel that end up attacking Hezbollah and causing collateral damage.

    GIGOT: Did this strategy that Hezbollah pursued, did this change Israel's war strategy at all and make the prosecution of the war more difficult this summer?

    BELL: Absolutely. It was difficult to find where the Hezbollah targets were. In going into any particular area, one had to be very careful to distinguish between what looked like civilians but were actually combatants, and what looked like civilians and were civilians.

    And Israel did not have good intelligence about where Hezbollah had done all this stuff. All the information we have is after the fact. And so it made the prosecution of the war very difficult.

    GIGOT: But what you are saying is that civilian casualties in this kind of a war, particularly if Israel doesn't have a perfect intelligence — and in a war, you never do — is probably inevitable.