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WASHINGTON – While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits this week with U.S. President Barack Obama and others in the U.S., only one in five Israelis, or 19 percent, favor unilateral military strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities without Washington’s approval, according to a poll taken by Israel’s Dahaf Institute and released by the Washington-based think-tank Brookings Institution.
The results were outlined in a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
However, if Washington backed the attack, then some 42 percent of Israelis surveyed favor an attack. In addition, 44 percent of the respondents said they thought an Israeli attack could set back Iran’s nuclear program by three years or more.
If Israel unilaterally carried out an attack, 27 percent of Israeli respondents thought Washington would join Israel while 39 percent thought Washington would give only diplomatic but not military support.
Only 15 percent thought Washington would retaliate against Israel by cutting off assistance.
The poll had a margin of error of four percent.
Of those Israelis polled, some 68 percent believed that an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear installations would result in retaliation by Lebanon’s Iranian-backed Hezbollah.
Analysts say this response reinforces the Obama administration’s position to discuss the prospect of carrying out an attack and whether it will have Washington’s backing.
Netanyahu’s visit follows a series of meetings by members of the Israeli prime minister’s cabinet to Washington to gauge sentiment for such an attack. These Israeli visitors have included Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Mossad intelligence chief Tamir Pardo.
Analysts say that the flurry of meetings indicates that major differences remain in terms of tactics and strategy in dealing with the Iranian nuclear issue.
Both Netanyahu and Barak are leading the call to undertake a military strike sooner rather than later against Iran’s nuclear facilities, notwithstanding the high prospect of retaliation from Iran, Hezbollah from Lebanon and Hamas from the Gaza Strip and now the Sinai Peninsula.
They believe that Iran is approaching a “zone of immunity” beyond which any Iranian weaponization program cannot be halted.
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