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´Diplomacy with Iran has failed; it´s time for important decisions´ (ISRAEL HAYOM) Israel Hayom Staff 08/16/12) Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=5432
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Responding to remarks by U.S. officials that an Israeli attack would only delay Iran´s procurement of nuclear weapons, Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren says "one, two, three, four years are a long time in the Middle East" • Poll finds most Israelis don´t want their government to act without U.S. backing.
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Israel would be willing to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities, even if doing so only delayed its ability to produce nuclear weapons for a few years, Israeli Ambassador to Washington Michael Oren said Wednesday.
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Oren´s comments to a Bloomberg Government breakfast in Washington followed statements earlier this week by high-ranking U.S. officials who insisted that an Israeli attack would, at most, be capable of delaying Iran´s nuclear program rather than stopping it altogether.
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Oren insisted that a delay in Iran´s nuclear endeavor would be a positive outcome: “one, two, three, four years are a long time in the Middle East — look what has happened in the last year” in terms of political change. "In our neighborhood," he added, "those are the rules of the game."
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As talk of an attack on Iran´s nuclear facilities tops every Israeli agenda, and with many experts saying that it is critical to debilitate Iran´s nuclear program before it reaches a point where it would be difficult to have any impact, American has repeatedly called on Israel to give diplomatic efforts and sanctions a chance to take effect. But Oren commented Wednesday, "Diplomacy hasn’t succeeded. We’ve come to a very critical juncture where important decisions do have to be made," he said.
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Asked about U.S. assessments that an Israeli attack would delay Iran’s nuclear program for no more than two or three years, Oren pointed to Israel´s 1981 bombing of the Iraqi reactor, commenting, “I’m not saying we agree or disagree. What I am saying is that — on the basis of our previous experience — is not an argument against ... in the past, we have operated on the assumption that we can only gain a delay.” The military assumption in 1981 was “we would gain a delay of between one and two years on that program. To this day, Iraq does not have a nuclear weapon," Oren said.
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The Israeli ambassador insisted that Israel would be thrilled if the situation could be resolved peacefully: “No country has a greater stake in resolving this diplomatically” than Israel, Oren said, but added that the Iranians are showing no flexibility in the talks with the West over its nuclear program.
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Oren reiterated that Iran´s nuclear program is “progressing apace." “An Iranian nuclear weapon is an existential threat to Israel,” he warned. “We don’t just say it. They say it as well. They confirm it.”
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In an interview with Washington, D.C. area news radio station WTOP on Tuesday, Oren explained that an attack plan was on the table, but "we´re not there yet."
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Oren deflected the suggestion the U.S. could green-light an attack. "We are in close consultation and cooperation with the United States and [they] understand that we are a sovereign state. And President Obama has said he recognizes that sovereign states not only have the right and the duty to defend their citizens," Oren told WTOP.
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Poll: Israel should not attack Iran without full U.S. cooperation
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Most Jewish Israelis, a total of 61 percent, don´t think Israel should attack Iran without full U.S. cooperation, according to a poll conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University released on Thursday.
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The monthly tracking poll on Israeli attitudes found further that 57% of Israelis believe that recent remarks by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, insisting that a pre- emptive attack on Iran´s nuclear facilities is an existential necessity, are merely a tactic designed to pressure the U.S. to take more resolute action against Iran.
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The majority of Jewish Israelis, 56%, said they did not think Israel would attack Iran without U.S. backing in the near future. A similar majority of Jewish Israelis believe that Western sanctions on Iran are neither serious nor sincere.
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Only around a fifth of Israelis (22%) believe that Israel can rely on the promise made by U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who vowed to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear capability.
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As the American elections approach, twice as many Israelis believe that Mitt Romney assigns more importance to Israel’s national interests than Barack Obama: 40% of the respondents put more trust in the Republican candidate than in the president, while just 19% trust in Obama more. (The rest have no definite opinion on the matter.)
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