Speaking to Channel 10 News on Sunday night, Defense Minister Ehud Barak stated the nation needs a prime minister with defense experience, pointing to the failures of the Second Lebanon War to support his point.
“We need a broad-based emergency cabinet or elections” stated the Labor Party leader, adding if a broad-based emergency government is not possible, then we may once again find ourselves with an inexperienced prime minister, another leader lacking defense experience, which he explains would be very unwise.
“The problem in not Hamas in Gaza but Hizbullah in Lebanon,” Barak stated, explaining this has been the case since the Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006.
Regarding Hamas, he stated the ongoing ceasefire presents an opportunity to negotiate the release of Gilad Shalit, calling Israel’s obligation to actualize his release “a supreme moral” one. Barak feels a large scale military operation in Gaza will not bring an end to rocket attacks into Southern Israel, and he prefers the continuance of the current ceasefire since if a major military incursion was ordered, at the end of the day, a truce would have to be negotiated with the same Hamas leaders in power today. According to Barak, no less than 6,000 rockets have been fired from Hamas-controlled Gaza into southern Israel since the disengagement in 2005, admitting it was believed the retreat from Gaza would bring peace along the border.
Regarding Syria, Barak stated contact with Damascus must be blacked out from the media. Other problems include the ruling al-Assad family, the investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and Syrian demands for an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-June 1967 Six Day War border.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)