Bush to Visit an Ambivalent Israel

[Los Angeles Times] Richard Boudreaux - President Bush has accepted the permanence of the biggest Jewish settlement clusters in the West Bank and opposed a massive return of Palestinian refugees to Israel. He supports the Israeli army's vigorous pursuit of militants in the Palestinian territories and Israel's construction, now nearly complete, of a barrier between its territory and the West Bank. Israelis credit Bush's positions with helping protect them from Palestinian suicide bombers. But many fault him for pursuing sweeping regional goals that they fear have backfired. Though Israelis are grateful that Saddam Hussein is gone, they worry that the U.S. intervention in Iraq has benefited Israel's more dangerous enemy, Iran, better enabling Tehran to pursue the development of nuclear weapons. Israeli officials also view Bush's effort to promote Arab democracy as naive and counterproductive because it has empowered Islamists and Iranian clients in Iraq, Gaza, and Lebanon.

2008-01-08 01:00:00

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