Israel, homeland defense

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On October 6, 2003, the New York Times carried the story that President George Walker Bush "Reaffirms That Israel Has Right to Defend 'Homeland'":

"Bush said again today that he recognized Israel's right to defend itself, and he pointedly declined to criticize it for the retaliatory strikes into Syria after a deadly suicide bombing.
"Bush said he told Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel on Sunday, 'like I have consistently done, that Israel's got a right to defend herself; that Israel must not feel constrained in terms of defending the homeland.'
"'However,' the president said, 'I said that it's very important that any action that Israel take should avoid escalation and creating higher tensions.'
"Mr. Bush has said repeatedly that he knows Israel has a right to defend itself, and he has urged it repeatedly to not over-react and set off new spates of bloodletting in the Middle East. But his remarks today may have been significant, both for what he said and for what he did not say.
"Mr. Bush, speaking to reporters at the White House in an appearance with President Miwi Kibaki of Kenya, did not answer directly when he was asked if he thought Israel had gone too far with its surprise airstrike deep into Syria.
"And Mr. Bush's use of the word 'homeland' recalled the many times he has used it when he has talked of protecting the United States from terrorism."