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A bipartisan commission urged the United States and Israel to open a discreet channel on Iran policy. The Presidential Task Force on the Future of U.S.-Israel Relations, a pro-Israel think-tank that is an adjunct of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, published its findings Monday.

The task force is made up of foreign policy experts including advisers to both U.S. presidential candidates. “Despite the impressive structure of existing U.S.-Israel cooperation and exchange, the Task Force recommended this new, discreet avenue for dialogue because ‘the potential to avoid candid discussion of policy options and to fall into a trap of miscommunication is regrettably real,'” the Washington Institute said in a statement. The Institute urged that “the ‘first item on the agenda’ for this forum be a discussion of each side’s views regarding current and potential efforts to compel a change in Iranian behavior on the nuclear issue.” The recommendation is significant since the Bush administration, the presidential candidates and Israeli leaders have all resisted public discussion of how the United States would react were Israel to strike Iran. Advisers to both candidates are part of the commission, including Susan Rice, a former Clinton administration assistant secretary of state who advises Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), the presumptive Democratic nominee; and James Woolsey, a former CIA director who advises Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the presumptive Republican nominee.

The report also urges President Bush or his successor to launch a “national conversation with the American people on the challenges, risks, and dilemmas posed to U.S. interests by the potential Iranian acquisition of a nuclear weapons capability, and on ways to prevent it.”

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