Shorts: U.S.

Bush denies plan to attack Iran

The Bush administration denied Israeli media reports claiming the U.S. plans to attack Iran before the president’s term ends.

A Jerusalem Post article picked up a story from Army Radio that quotes a senior Israeli source, who in turn quotes a senior Bush administration official as saying that President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney favor attacking Iran, but Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice are hesitant.

“As the president has said, no president of the United States should ever take options off the table, but our preference and our actions for dealing with this matter remain through peaceful diplomatic means. Nothing has changed in that regard,” said a statement by Dana Perino, the White House press secretary. — jta

Pelosi: Bush’s moves bad for Israel

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-S.F.) said the Bush administration’s policies have made Israel’s security situation worse.

Pelosi, the speaker of the House of Representatives, made the assertion after returning from 60th anniversary commemorations in Israel.

She said the Bush administration had failed Israel on two fronts: in neglecting Iran while it developed nuclear weapons and in pressing Israel to allow Palestinian elections to go forward in 2006 with the Hamas terrorist group on the ballot.

“It’s extraordinary that the United States would urge Israel to accept an election in which a terrorist organization would participate,” Pelosi said. “I think it made matters worse for Israel.”

On Iran, she said, “Seven and a half years could have been used better to have a more robust diplomacy, with sanctions … So now everyone is saying we have to act because there’s not much time left. There was plenty of time that the administration has squandered.” — jta

Group fights Seattle divestment initiative

An Israel advocacy group is going to court to stop a Seattle ballot initiative on divestment.

The Seattle-based organization StandWithUs Northwest is challenging the legality of Initiative 97 in King County Superior Court. The initiative could bar the city from investing employee pension funds in corporations that do business with Israel.

The initiative links divestment from Israel with divestment from companies involved in the war in Iraq.

A similar motion three years ago that focused mainly on Israel failed to pass through the City Council of Somerville, Mass. — jta