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It Already Is a Regional Conflict, Mr. Abbas

In the Jerusalem Post is an AP story from Ramallah in the West Bank with the headline "Abbas: Situation raises fears of regional war." In it, Abbas is quoted as saying after a meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister that "The expansion of the military action to the neighbor, Lebanon, is raising our fears of a new regional war."

It should be recognized openly that it already is and always has been a regional war, with the conflict managed and tensions instigated from Damascus and Tehran, as today's Boston Globe editorial attempts to convey, almost in exasperation.

President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt had just disclosed publicly that he had worked out a prisoner swap with Israel and Hamas, but that "other parties" he would not name forced Hamas to sabotage the deal. It can be assumed that Syria and Iran are the other parties, the two countries having signed a military cooperation agreement last month that Syria's defense minister described as establishing "a joint front against Israel."

The difference is that this "joint front" plans and executes the strategy using surrogates like Hizballah and Hamas. These surrogate terrorists intentionally seek cover within their own civilian populations and provide the regimes commanding them an arm's-length separation from attacks.

But this separation is only as valuable as the public's willingness to ignore the terror masters, the state sponsors of Hizballah and Hamas.

Unlike Hizballah and Hamas (et al), Israel's IDF does not retreat into their civilian populations, banking on world condemnation of their ensuing civilian losses. They openly press forward, clearly identifiable, distinguished from civilians and unapologetic in their self-defense.

It is time for the public - and their elected representatives - to end the charade and openly recognize the truly regional nature of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The terror masters in Tehran and their quasi-client state Syria continue to stoke the flames of conflict.

Yet, Israel continues to be described as the aggressor, if only because a Merkava tank, an F-16 and an IDF general are more readily identifiable tools of warfare than a terrorist resting in his sister's apartment, awaiting further orders from Tehran.

Pay attention.

It's free.