Israeli military intelligence reported recently that the Lebanese terrorist organization Hizbullah is already planning a major offensive along Israel’s northern border, likely at the behest of Tehran.
But Washington has been largely dismissive of Israel’s assessments of Iran’s nuclear program and, therefore, the presence of any serious threat in the near future. “Our intelligence community has used in the past an estimate that said that Iran was not likely to acquire a nuclear weapon before the beginning of the next decade,” State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said on April 13. “That remains the case.”
America’s top priority in the region at this time, officials said, was to ensure Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza and northern Samaria and the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state in the Jews’ biblical heartland. The birth of Palestine, the Bush administration continues to insist, will effectively put an end to regional animosity toward Israel. “If you resolve the Israeli-Palestinian issue, you’ve resolved the problem with extremism,” Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said.
The Jewish state, however, suffered three full-scale, Arab-initiated wars and countless terrorism attacks during the 19 years prior to taking control of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza in 1967. So handing over these territories to the Palestinians will not necessarily reduce tensions and make Israel, a Jewish state, more acceptable in a sea of rejectionist Muslim states.
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