Friday, December 16, 2005

Israelis oppose attack on Iran nuke facilities: poll

Most Israelis want their government to use diplomacy rather than military power with regard to the potential threat posed by Iran's nuclear ambitions, a poll suggested, according to AFP.

Asked what line of conduct Israel should adopt regarding Iran's nuclear plant, 58 % of those surveyed said diplomatic paths, while 36 % thought it necessary to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities. READ MORE

The poll was published in the daily Yediot Aharanot newspaper, and the question did not refer to a specific nuclear facility.

The survey was carried out by the Dahaf Institute and queried 510 people it said were representative of the Israeli population. Its margin of error was 4.5 %age points.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sparked international outcry this month when he called the Holocaust "a myth" and suggested Israel establish its Jewish state in Europe or the United States.

The ultraconservative president also drew worldwide condemnation in October when he called for Israel to be "wiped off the map."

Israeli chief of staff General Dan Halutz warned on Tuesday that by March Iran will have acquired all the necessary technological know-how to build a nuclear bomb.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has said that Israel would never allow Iran to come into possession of nuclear weapons but has insisted that diplomacy was the best way to confront Tehran.

In 1981, Israel launched a strike against Iraq's Osiraq nuclear reactor, which the Jewish state suspected of developing atomic weapons.

Following the downfall of Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq in 2003, Israel has come to view Iran as its number one enemy.

Iran is accused by Israel and the United States of using its civilian nucler program to cover a weapons program, something Tehran strongly denies.

Iran agreed to suspend sensitive uranium enrichment activities in November 2004 under an agreement with Britain, France and Germany, but resumed its fuel-cycle work last August after rejecting a new offer from the European powers.

Israel itself is believed to be the only nuclear power in the Middle East, although it has never admitted to having nuclear weapons.