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Faced with the daunting prospect of seemingly endless terrorism, and with staggering global opposition to any of its essential and altogether permissible forms of self-defense, Israel now requires a complex and capable counter-terrorism strategy merely to survive. Simultaneously, the major threats to Israel's physical survival lie in certain mass-destruction (biological and/or nuclear) attacks by enemy states. Ultimately, therefore, the Jewish State's actual continuance rests upon even more than successful counter-terrorism. It rests also upon the inherently fragile and unpredictable foundations of nuclear deterrence.
A week from Friday will mark the third anniversary of the cease-fire that ended the Second Lebanon War. And while the fortunes of war run to infinite varieties of the unexpected, there is one thing of which we can all be certain. Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah will appear, if he hasn't already by the time this article is published, on a video screen from the secret bunker he is afraid to leave, and in between chants of "Death to America!" and "Death to Israel!" he and his supporters will again proclaim glorious victory over the infidel Jews.
The Project Daniel Group strongly endorsed the prime minister's acceptance of a broad concept of defensive first strikes, but just as strongly advised against using his undisclosed nuclear arsenal for anything but essential deterrence.
Taken in isolation, the emerging Palestinian state - a state that is now being forged with the open support of U.S. President George W. Bush - will have no direct bearing on Israel's nuclear posture. Yet, although obviously non-nuclear itself, Palestine could substantially diminish Israel's capacity to wage certain forms of conventional war and could thereby enlarge the Jewish State's incentive to rely on unconventional weapons in particular circumstances.
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