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An extraordinary take - with Iraq in iys tail. best, f. Tuesday, December 18, 2001 Tevet 3, 5762 Israel Time: 01:36 (GMT+2) For Israel, September 11 was a Hanukkah miracle By Aluf Benn The Israeli political-security establishment is coming to the conclusion that the terror attacks on September 11 were a kind of "Hanukkah miracle" for Israel, coming just as Israel was under increasing international pressure because of the ongoing conflict with the Palestinians. Osama bin Laden's September 11 attacks placed Israel firmly on the right side of the strategic map with the U.S., and put the Arab world at a disadvantage as it now faces its own difficult decisions about its future. That's the impression left by the speeches given by Mossad chief Ephraim Halevy and National Security Council chairman Maj. Gen. Uzi Dayan, at this week's Herzliya conference on national security. Dayan said yesterday that the global reality resulting from September 11 gives Israel and the U.S. "the chance for victory over a common enemy." Halevy spoke about "a world war different from all its predecessors" and about global agreement that "combined all the elements of Islamic terror into one clear and identifiable format," creating "a genuine dilemma for every ruler and every state in our region. Each one must reach a moment of truth and decide how he will position himself in the campaign." Last weekend, a top-level Israeli delegation, led by Minister without Portfolio Dan Meridor, was in Washington for a "strategic dialogue" meeting with the U.S. government. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon wanted Meridor and his colleagues to find out what the U.S. government has in mind for "Phase Two" of the war on international terror and to report to the Americans on Israeli ideas and concerns. Meridor's entourage included Dayan; Amos Yaron, the Defense Ministry director general; Danny Ayalon, the prime minister's political adviser; Yoav Biran, the Foreign Ministry deputy director general; and David Ivry, Israel's ambassador to Washington. The American team, headed by Richard Armitage, the deputy secretary of state, told the Israelis that Washington hasn't yet decided on its course of action for the next phase. The speedy victory in Afghanistan surprised the administration, which expected a much longer campaign. But the first stage is not yet over. After Afghanistan, the Americans plan to hunt down Qaida cells worldwide (the network is estimated to be dispersed over 60 countries), and only then to start looking forward. According to the Israelis who were in Washington, President Bush is daily more determined that the campaign against terror proceed to the next stages. The American officials explained that the administration is of two minds about which way to go. One direction is "dealing with the difficult cases, first," with the intention being Iraq. The other approach proposes going from the periphery to the center, eliminating terror cells in countries like Somalia and Sudan, before moving on to more difficult targets. The Israelis spoke about the dangerous connection between terrorism and the development of unconventional weapons and missile systems. "Those who use terror, will also use weapons of mass destruction if they can. This is a matter of the means, not the will," said Dayan, in his Herzliya lecture yesterday. Dayan identified what he called the appropriate targets for the next stage of the global campaign: "The Iran, Iraq and Syria triangle, all veteran supporters of terror which are developing weapons of mass destruction." He said that "they must be confronted as soon as possible, and that is also understood in the U.S. Hezbollah and Syria have good reason to worry about the developments in this campaign, and that's also true for the organizations and other states." During the Washington discussions, one of the Israelis proposed a new direction for the Americans to consider: "Syria first." The intention is not for the U.S. to bomb President Bashar Assad's palace or the Syrian Scud missile bases, but rather for Washington to apply political pressure. The Syrians are sensitive to U.S. opinion much more than the Iranians or Iraqis, and they can be pressured to give up their relationship with the Hezbollah and the Palestinian terror organizations based in Damascus. The Israelis wanted to know if the U.S. is making approaches to Iran, as has been signaled since the September 11 attacks. The Americans said they are interested in a dialogue with Tehran, but have not succeeded yet, and meanwhile haven't uncovered any real change in the behavior of the Iranian government. Israel is sticking to its official position that there is no difference between the moderates and the conservatives in Tehran and no real significance to the positive attitudes expressed by Iranian President Mohammed Khatami, since he has no real power in formulating his country's foreign policy. On this issue, Mossad chief Halevy appeared to be the lone dissenter in the Israeli establishment, noting in his speech that there are signs of potential change in Tehran, with some key figures indicating that if Israel and the Palestinians reach an agreement, Tehran would not oppose it. In his lecture yesterday, Dayan presented a sweeping view of a model for a global campaign against terrorism: * Five coordinated and integrated efforts - diplomatic, military, economic, legal and educational - in a campaign that will not be decided by the occupation of land or the destruction of opposing forces, as in classic warfare. * Three circles - one being immediate reactions and defense, the second a widening campaign against states and organizations with enforcement of the rule that terror is illegitimate, and a third to deal with the the roots of conflicts and preventing the creation of the conditions that foster terrorism, what Dayan referred to as "drying the swamps," a clear hint about political processes and local peace agreements in places that tend to violence. * Three levels - independent action by lone states, bilateral actions (like U.S.-Israeli efforts) and multinational efforts, in which many states with similar approaches to terror engage in joint efforts. "This is a fight for values, and victory is necessary," Dayan declared, offering the following definition for terrorism: "Any organization that systematically harms civilians, irrespective of its motives." ------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~--> Need new boots for winter? Looking for a perfect gift for your shoe loving friends? Zappos.com is the perfect fit for all your shoe needs! http://us.click.yahoo.com/ltdUpD/QrSDAA/ySSFAA/xYTolB/TM ---------------------------------------------------------------------~-> Views are those of the owners. Views may not be construed as reflective of the Palestine Right to Return Coalition. If you're Jewish please support the Jewish statement supporting Palestinian refugee rights especially the Right to Return. For details go to www.TheStruggle.org Your use of Yahoo! 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