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Bush, Israel and ' Iranian Bomb'

President Peres: 'Iran should not underestimate Israel's resolve for self-defense'

U.S President Bush: 'Alliance guarantees Israel as a Jewish state'

Israeli officials may present Bush with new intelligence on Iranian nuclear development'

President Bush arrives in Israel

U.S president George W. Bush has received a warm welcome by Israeli leaders at Ben-Gurion airport. Although the Israeli-Palestinian process is at the top of the agenda the Iranian nuclear threat is looming over the President's visit to Israel. A former Israeli security official says Israeli leaders may present new, undisclosed intelligence information to Bush in light of the recent US intelligence estimate that Iran suspended its nuclear weapons program in 2003.

President Shimon Peres

Israel's elder statesman, state President Shimon Peres, wasted no time – at the start of his welcoming remarks to US president George Bush, Peres referred directly to the looming Iranian nuclear threat to the Jewish state. Israeli leaders were stunned by the recent US intelligence estimate that Iran suspended its nuclear weapons program in 2003. Although Israeli officials have declined to categorically reject the American assessment, the Israeli defense establishment has no doubt that Tehran is proceeding full steam ahead in developing the bomb. Israeli experts charge that the US estimate flies in the face of the fact that Iran is continuing to enrich Uranium and has developed a delivery system of Shihab rockets that could deliver nuclear warheads.

President George W. Bush

Since the American assessment, Israelis have been asking if they will be left on their own to confront the Iranian threat to wipe them off the map. Israeli leaders can be expected to make a determined effort now to persuade Bush of the grave situation. While the American leader has declared that Iran was and still is dangerous, he has not repeated his former pledge to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Prime Minister Olmert

On recent trips to Washington, Mossad director Meir Dagan and Defense Minister Ehud Barak presented confidential intelligence assessment on Iran to their American counterparts, but apparently to no avail. A former Israeli security official says the Bush visit presents a new opportunity. The official notes that even friendly intelligence services may not disclose all their information in order to protect sources. However, with Bush in town, Israeli leaders may pull out all the stops and present hereto confidential information.

David Essing

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