Friday, October 01, 2004

Reuters.com: Isaeli Government wants War but the People DoNot!

International News Article | Reuters.com: "Most Israelis Oppose Strike on Iran for Now -Poll
Fri Oct 1, 2004 03:14 AM ET
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Most Israelis want to await the outcome of international pressure on Iran over its nuclear program rather than consider a pre-emptive military strike on their arch-foe's reactors, a poll published on Friday said.
Israeli officials say Iran could produce atomic weapons by 2007, fueling speculation the Jewish state may strike first, as it did in 1981 against Iraq by bombing its Osiraq reactor.

Iran says its nuclear program is being pursued solely to meet civilian energy needs.

A poll in Israel's Maariv newspaper found only 38 percent of Israelis think the country should now consider a military option, while 54 percent favor letting diplomatic scrutiny and threats of sanctions on Iran run their course. The remaining eight percent of 530 Israelis surveyed were either undecided or did not give an opinion. The poll's margin of error was 4.5 percent.

Tehran, which rejects Israel's right to exist, last month defied calls by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to suspend uranium enrichment -- a process that can be used to make atomic bombs.

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz signaled this week that Israel was not ruling out a military option although it supported U.S.-led efforts to step up inspections on Iran's nuclear facilities and threaten it with United Nations sanctions.

"The important thing is to stop the current (Iranian) regime reaching a nuclear option," Mofaz told Yedioth Ahronoth daily. "All options for preventing this will be considered."

Tehran has vowed to retaliate against Israel, widely assumed to be the Middle East's only nuclear power, for any strike on its soil.

Defense experts believe Iran could step up support for Lebanese and Palestinian militants fighting the Jewish state or use other proxy forces to attack U.S. interests in the Gulf."

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