We've known this from some time. They wanted the subservient Bush administration to attack. But George W. was not willing to go that far. Now the Israelis are willing to go alone. President Obama better have a response. The repercussions will be great. Will he allow the Israeli lobby to soften him up to just an attack.
The Israeli military is preparing itself to launch a massive aerial assault on Iran's nuclear facilities within days of being given the go-ahead by its new government, the Times of London reported.
Among the steps taken to ready Israeli forces for what would be a risky raid requiring pinpoint aerial strikes are the acquisition of three Airborne Warning and Control (AWAC) aircraft and regional missions to simulate the attack.
Two nationwide civil defence drills will help to prepare the public for the retaliation that Israel could face.
“Israel wants to know that if its forces were given the green light they could strike at Iran in a matter of days, even hours. They are making preparations on every level for this eventuality. The message to Iran is that the threat is not just words,” one senior defense official told the Times.
Officials believe that Israel could be required to hit more than a dozen targets, including moving convoys. The sites include Natanz, where thousands of centrifuges produce enriched uranium; Esfahan, where 250 tons of gas is stored in tunnels; and Arak, where a heavy water reactor produces plutonium.
And, of course, you can forget about peace in the Middle East:
Palestinian leaders asked the American envoy to the Middle East on Friday to press Israel’s new government to accept the notion of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, and other Palestinian officials met with the envoy, George J. Mitchell, at the Palestinian Authority’s headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah a day after Mr. Mitchell held talks with Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s conservative-leaning prime minister, and other Israeli leaders.
Mr. Netanyahu, who took office last month, has refused to explicitly support Palestinian statehood, and says that the new government is still formulating its policies. He told Mr. Mitchell that it was time for “new approaches and fresh ideas,” and said the Palestinians must recognize Israel as a Jewish state, a condition Palestinian negotiators have long refused to meet.
But Mr. Mitchell said after the meeting in Ramallah that “a two-state solution is the only solution,” and that a comprehensive peace in the Middle East was “in the national interest of the United States,” as well as in the interests of Palestinians and Israelis.
Saeb Erekat, a senior Abbas aide and veteran Palestinian negotiator, said in a statement on Friday that the demand to recognize Israel as a Jewish state before negotiations was “an admission by Netanyahu that he cannot deliver on peace” and a stalling tactic. He noted that the Palestine Liberation Organization had already recognized the state of Israel while Mr. Netanyahu “refuses to even mention a Palestinian state.”
Palestinians contend that recognition of Israel’s Jewish character would negate Palestinian refugees’ demand for the right of return and would be detrimental to the status of Israel’s Arab citizens, who make up a fifth of the population.
In Gaza, two top leaders of Hamas, the Islamic group that holds power there, made their first public appearances since Israel’s military offensive that ended in mid-January. Ismail Haniya, who leads the Hamas government in Gaza, and Mahmoud Zahar, a senior official, preached at separate mosques.
Apparently in a challenge to the rival Palestinian Authority leaders as they met with Mr. Mitchell in the West Bank, Mr. Zahar said in his sermon, “We cannot, we will not, and we will never recognize the enemy in any way, shape or form,” Reuters reported.
Is it lip service or is the President really interested in Palestinian-Israel peace. That will be the test for him. Can he or will he stand up to the powerful Israel lobby in Washington:
The U.S. Middle East envoy says the Obama administration will exert "great energy" in pursuit of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Envoy George Mitchell says a comprehensive Middle East peace is not only in the interests of Israel, the Palestinians and other countries in the region, but is also important to the United States and people around the world.
He spoke after meeting Saturday with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo, the latest stop on his Middle East tour.
An Egyptian state-run news agency (MENA) quotes Mr. Mubarak as saying there is no alternative to the two-state solution.
While the United States has been promoting the two-state solution, Israel's new government has expressed concerns about the idea of Palestinian statehood.