Thursday, April 16, 2009

Israel Blinks???

Can we believe the new less belligerent tune from Israel, not coincidentally in a meeting with Mideast envoy Mitchell? Did Mitchell carry a private message more pointed than recent timid public hints that Washington really did not need yet another war against Islam at the moment?

Peres seemingly rejected the idea of a war of aggression against Iran:

Israeli President Shimon Peres
said on Thursday that there was no military solution to arch-foe Iran's controversial nuclear programme.

"The solution in Iran is not a military one," Peres was quoted by his office as telling visiting US Middle East envoy George Mitchell.

Over the past several years Israeli officials have repeatedly warned that all options were possible in resolving the standoff over Iran's nuclear programme.

Israel, widely considered to be the Middle East's sole nuclear armed power, and the United States suspect the Islamic Republic of using the programme to develop atomic weapons, a charge that Tehran has repeatedly denied.

If this in fact now represents the policy of the Netanyahu government, it directly contradicts Netanyahu's own words and would appear to move Israeli policy in a dramatically less confrontational direction. We shall see if Netanyahu goes along.

If Peres' remarks are to be believed, it leaves Egypt, which has recently descended into near-hysterical public rhetorical attacks against Hezbollah that presumably were designed primarily to be heard in Tehran, looking a bit like the odd man out.

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