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Iran nuke program may top US-Israel talks next week

Washington , Wed, 29 Feb 2012 ANI

Washington, Feb.29 (ANI): U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet here next week, and are likely to discuss Iran's nuclear program.


With increasing signals that Israel may be contemplating a strike against Iran's nuclear facilities, the United States and its European allies have made no secret of their opposition to sucha move by Tel Aviv.


Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has declared that the issue is no one else's business and that the allies' opposition won't influence Israel's decision.


The people of Israel don't support a strike without U.S. backing, a new poll shows, even though they are not fearful of Washington's retribution if they go against U.S. advice, Politico reports.


They appear less influenced by the rhetoric of U.S. politicians competing for their embrace, and contrary to conventional wisdom, the Obama administration's reluctance to support a military strike against Iran has apparently not affected their preference for Obama as the next president.


In fact, their views seem to partly reflect the White House's assessment of the consequences of war and the problems created by military action.


Only 19 percent of Israelis polled expressed support for an attack without U.S. backing, according to a poll fielded by Israel's Dahaf Institute between February 22 and 26, while 42 percent endorsed a strike only if there is at least U.S. support, and 32 percent opposed an attack regardless.


In fact, Israelis remain confident that the U.S. would support them, at least diplomatically (38 percent), or join the war on Israel's behalf (27 percent) - even if Israel struck Iran without Washington's approval.


Only 15 percent expect reduced American support. What seems behind these attitudes is an assessment of the consequences of an Israeli attack.


A majority of Israelis polled, roughly 51 percent, said the war would last months (29 percent) or years (22 percent), while only 18 percent said it would last days.


About as many Israelis, 44 percent, think that an Israeli strike would actually strengthen Iran's government as those who think it would weaken it (45 percent).


Two-thirds of Israelis, meanwhile, believe Hezbollah would most likely join Iran in retaliation against Israel - even if Israel did not strike Hezbollah forces. An additional 27 percent believe Hezbollah would join only if attacked.


What would be the outcome for Iran's nuclear program? Only 22 percent of Israelis said a strike would delay Iran's capabilities by more than five years, while an additional 31 percent said it would delay its capabilities by one to five years, 18 percent said it would not make a difference and 11 percent said it would actually accelerate Iran's capabilities. (ANI)


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