- The Washington Times - Friday, April 19, 2002

These are among the toughest times in Israel's 54-year history. Even so, the mood was upbeat at the Israeli Embassy Wednesday when 1,500 guests led by Vice President Richard B. Cheney arrived to celebrate that nation's national day and bid farewell to Ambassador David Ivry, whose tenure is ending after two years.
Mr. Ivry, it should be noted, is a former fighter pilot and Israeli Air Force general whose strike at Iraq's Osiric nuclear reactor in 1982 is widely credited with crippling that nation's weapons program.
It was a maneuver that came to be very much appreciated by the United States during the Gulf war.
"My job, and America's mission, was infinitely more manageable because Saddam Hussein did not have a nuclear weapon," Mr. Cheney (who was secretary of defense at the time) said during remarks following a brief private conference with Mr. Ivry, Israeli Deputy Chief of Mission Rafael Barak (who will serve as interim ambassador) and Defense Attache Maj. Gen. Moshe Evry Sukenik.
Mr. Cheney mentioned Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's recent mission in the region only in passing, as a source of ongoing hope. He quashed any uncertainty about U.S.-Israeli ties by praising Israel's role in the war on terrorism.
Many members of Congress echoed his sentiments, with several attacking Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat, as well.
"The current struggle stems directly from the Palestinian Authority's inability and unwillingness to commit to a genuine and lasting peace," said Rep. James H. Saxton, New Jersey Republican. "Under Arafat's leadership, the Palestinian people are suffering economic hardship, instability and a nearly hopeless future."
"Arafat is a terrorist," said Rep. Tom Lantos, a California Democrat and longtime Israel supporter. "Violence must end before negotiations can begin. You cannot negotiate with terror."
"Israel is going to be an issue in this race, because I'm going to make it one in my race for re-election," promised Sen. Robert C. Smith, New Hampshire Republican. "Let's get Arafat out."
Other guests included Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat; former National Aeronautics and Space Administration Administrator Daniel S. Goldin; former Canadian Ambassador Raymond Chretien (now his country's ambassador to France); Belgian Ambassador Alex Reyn and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Thomas R. Pickering.
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz, who was jeered by Israel supporters at the Capitol on Monday for calling attention to the plight of Palestinians, did not share the congressmen's hard-line opinions, but he praised Mr. Ivry's service in brief impromptu remarks.

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