Barak: Israel must take U.S. vote into account when mulling Iran strike (HAŽARETZ NEWS) By Jonathan Lis 03/20/12)
HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE
HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE Articles-Index-Top
Defense Minister Ehud Barak called on Israel yesterday to take into
account the U.S. election campaign, hinting that it would be unwise
to launch an attack on Iran without American support.
"Security relations and strategic collaboration between the United
States and Israel have reached the highest level in the history of
ties between the two countries," Barak told the Knesset Foreign
Affairs and Defense Committee.
"This fact has a clear, immediate impact on Israeli security, and on
the future of the country´s standing in the international community."
Committee chairman Shaul Mofaz (Kadima ) said Barak was "acting
irresponsibly, standing on the media stage," but Barak disagreed.
According to the defense minister, "Israel should increase its
sensitivity, awareness and attentiveness to requirements based on the
reality in the United States and adopt a policy that strengthens the
special relationship between the two countries."
Barak said "many experts around the world believe that refraining
from action would mean a nuclear Iran, and that dealing with a
nuclear Iran would be more dangerous, and danger literally means more
An Iran with a nuclear-weapons capability must not arise, and Israel
is insisting on this point in talks with its friends, Barak said.
"This is what our allies and we ourselves are saying. And we mean
what we say," he said. "The world, including the current U.S.
government, understands and accepts the fact that Israel sees the
threat somewhat differently, and that in the end Israel is
responsible for reaching decisions pertaining to its future, security
Mofaz, for his part, told Barak to "stop the prattle on the Iranian
issue; you and the prime minister are acting irresponsibly, standing
on the media stage." According to Mofaz, Mossad chiefs past and
present take issue with Barak´s views. "Because of what you´ve said,
newspapers are outlining the routes the [attack] planes would take,"
Barak also discussed the uprising in Syria, including the fighting in
Damascus yesterday. "The Assad regime is in a continual state of
weakening and decline, and the events this morning in Damascus prove
that," he said.
"The lack of a clear outcome increases losses on both sides, and the
regime is showing extreme cruelty toward the Syrian people. All this
is happening in front of the cameras, yet it remains hard to spot an
end point and a timetable for the morning after," he added.
"We are monitoring the events in Syria, with an eye on any efforts to
transfer weapons that would alter the balance. And we reserve the
right to defend Israel´s security interests. Events in Syria increase
the uncertainty and the need to prepare for any scenario."
Barak said the Syrian regime was trying to use Russia as "a barrier"
against steps by the international community.
He said "recently we have witnessed efforts made by Hezbollah to
launch attacks on Israeli targets overseas, and these have been
thwarted." Regarding Israel´s recent air strikes and Islamic Jihad´s
rocket attacks, Barak said Israel had strengthened its deterrent
capacity against groups in the Gaza Strip.
"We´re talking about a round of fighting that ended favorably for
Israel due to correct, appropriate actions by the IDF and the Shin
Bet [security service]."
Barak said Islamic Jihad "took a devastating blow, both in terms of
the strikes against its operatives and the damage to its
Out of desperation, Islamic Jihad fired rockets at Israeli civilians,
but the attacks were thwarted by the Iron Dome missile-defense
system, Barak said. He said Iron Dome´s success improved the
political leaders´ room to maneuver.
Barak warned that terror organizations in Gaza would continue to try
to carry out attacks on Israel; for example, by attempting to kidnap
soldiers or civilians. (© Copyright 2012 Ha´aretz 03/20/12)
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY