Israel Daily, Jan 9: Former PM Barak — Netanyahu Leading Country to Defeat over Palestine and Iran


PHOTO: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Deputy PM Ehud Barak, October 2012

Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak has warned that the current leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, is leading Israel to disaster.

Barak served as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense under Netanyahu from 2009 to 2013. However, in an interview with Haaretz — two months before Knesset elections in which the Prime Minister is seeking another term — he says that Netanyahu blocked a constructive approach to the Israel-Palestine issue:

Sometimes we sat for hours on the patio of the Prime Minister’s Residence. I did most of the talking, explaining to them why we needed to enter into intensive negotiations with the Palestinians. That would be a critical act in its own right, in my view, and it could also reduce external and domestic opposition at a time when we would want to take independent action in Iran….

In the end, you see how the conversation continues, and you can go on smoking your cigar and eating green ice cream – but the conversation itself had actually become hollow. It went on because it wasn’t pleasant to admit that it had really ended.

Barak blames the failure to resolve the dispute for Palestine for the lack of military action to check the Iranian nuclear threat:

When people have to cope with their anxiety about a decision on an operation that is being broached by a leadership that isn’t capable of mustering the mental fortitude to deal with the Palestinian issue – which is the most painful issue, but also the simplest in terms of its structure and clarity – they ask themselves whether that leadership is truly capable of dealing with the big issue.

Speaking more widely, he accuses Netanyahu of hesitancy: “In the end, when we reach the critical junctions where decisions have to be made – maybe the most important decisions since the state’s establishment – you behave as though you prefer to be dragged there by a situation that will be forced on you.”

The outcome, Barak says, will be Israeli weakness before Iran and defeat over Palestine:

We have been ruling another nation for 47 years. We are ignoring the fact that the situation has changed in the international arena. The leaders and the people themselves don’t remember the circumstances and the struggle under which the State of Israel emerged. There are no leaders or publics in the world who remember the Holocaust as a personal experience. What they’ve seen for decades is the reversal of the image that accompanied Israel. It’s not David and his slingshot being threatened by Goliath.

What registers in the consciousness is the Palestinian youth who is symbolically using David’s weapon against Israelis who are armed to the teeth inside tanks, and with missiles and so forth. That image is becoming embedded in the public consciousness abroad. In the 21st century, there is no chance of maintaining over time a situation that will be accepted by the international community in which Israel continues to rule those millions of people and does not allow them to vote for the Knesset.

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    • “without giving them a vote” ???
      They have the PA, an elected government (which they managed to destroy), a president, which they voted for, many many years ago, municipal authorities which they vote for.

      They vote quite a lot compared with their Arab sisters and brothers elsewhere.

      • i was asking you about Barak comments… i hope you are not saying just because they have a president ,etc that they have control over their own future…. how can a government govern while their lands are being occupied.. how can people ( both sides) live in peace

  1. Barak is known for having expansive theoretical models which have nothing to do with reality. He then follows through with zero self-criticism… This is why he was the shortest serving PM in history.

    Mind you, even if his premises were close to true, Israel would still be perfectly justified in its actions. The PA and the general Arab world are in a state of war with Israel since its founding. It is perfectly common for troops to control an area during a war, even areas of the enemy country, much less areas of non-countries or parts of its own land.

      • While I don’t hold that proposition, I am actually saying rather it is beside the point. We could have been talking about the middle of Antarctica, and my argument would still stand as-is.

    • Ron

      The PA and the “general Arab world,” are NOT in a state of war with Israel.

      In March 2002, the Arab League offered a peace plan to recognize the State of Israel, establish full relations with all 22 Arab states (including Palestine) in return for Israel’s withdrawal from occupied Arab territories, a JUST AND AGREED UPON solution to the refugee question, and the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital. It was repeated in 2007, but then it included all 57 states that comprise the entire Muslim world.

      The Secretary General of the United Nations, the then United States special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, the Quartet on the Middle East, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the Senior Fellow and Director of the U.S./Middle East Project at the Council on Foreign Relations, and the chiefs of state throughout the world, endorsed and praised these offers.
      Israel rejected them.

      • The so-called ‘Arab peace plan’ is no peace plan. It is a series of unjustified and unjust demands, INCLUDING FLOODING ISRAEL WITH ‘REFUGEES’ (“in conformity with resolution 194”, as Arab leaders pointed out when they repeated the offer – i.e. ‘AGREED UPON’ so long as Israel agrees with their demands – nevermind their interpretation of ‘refugee’ is unique in the world), withdrawal beyond even the international border (i.e. the 4th June lines, where Israel loses half of the Kinneret). Israel is supposed to fulfill those and then is expected to negotiate for nothing but the opaque term of ‘normal relations’ (the normal relations judging by history is constant war). Nothing else for Israel (like security, or recognition as a Jewish state, or even just end of demands) is spelled out. Sorry, but that’s not a peace offer.

        Mind you, if it is a ‘peace offer’, than we must have a war on. Otherwise, what would we need a ‘peace offer’ for?
        Not that the Arab side has any record of accepting any actual peace offers (Olmert, Barak, etc. can testify on their rejected proposals).

        • Ron

          This comment by Yair is typical of those Israeli Jews who attack the Arab League peace initiatives, but have never read it.
          The peace offers do NOT “include flooding Israel with refugees, but every Israeli Jew claims that.

          The peace proposals actually offers to recognize the State of Israel, establish full relations with all 22 Arab states, in return for Israel’s withdrawal from occupied Arab territories, and a JUST AND AGREED UPON solution to the refugee question, the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

          The text does NOT include the words, “so long as Israel agrees with their demands,” it did not interpret the term “refugee,” and it mentioned no borders: as quoted above, it says only “withdrawal from occupied Arab territories.”
          Israeli treaties with Jordan and Egypt do NOT establish that “normal relations is constant war,” to the contrary. All parties have honored every word of those treaties.

          It, indeed, does not offer to recognize a Jewish State, it just offered to recognize the State of Israel. If Palestine were to become a sovereign independent nation, it would be unable to recognize Israel as the “Jewish state of Israel.” As a member of the UN, Palestine will be obligated to recognize Israel by its official name, the “State of Israel.” 162 nations have diplomatic relations with a country called the “State of Israel.” There is a member of the UN called the “State of Israel.” It votes in the UN as the “State of Israel.” When US aid funds are transferred to an Israeli bank account, they must be directed to the State of Israel. THERE IS NO NATION CALLED THE “JEWISH STATE OF ISRAEL.”

          Neither Barak nor Olmert put forward serious peace offers. In 2000, at the Camp David Summit, Barak offered Arafat 61% of occupied land, roads only used by Israelis, Israeli control of all borders, all external trade to pass thru Israel, large settlements and E. Jerusalem plus 250 sq kilometers retained by Israel. Offer was take it or leave it. Arafat left it.

          Abbas was prepared to accept the Olmert offer. In 2008, Olmert offered generously to Mahmoud Abbas and it was the best offer Abbas or Arafat had ever been proffered. He did not offer return of Palestinian refugees to Israel, but he proposed a real breakthrough. The myth is that Abbas rejected the offer. In fact, Abbas said, with that offer, “we can have peace in 2 days.” The Palestinians were ecstatic and so was the EU. The Quartet agreed, and requested that Israel make the offer binding. It never did. And that was the end of it.

          • You are unupdated with the details of the Arab ‘offer’, and completely deceitful with regards to Barak and Olmert.

            The Arab states explicitly mentioned 194 in the conferences approving the initiative, and “just and agreed upon” IS NOT A LIMITATION. It is expecting Israel to agree to to their view of ‘just’ and intl. law, at which point it is ‘agreed upon’, while taking the unbinding 194 and making it law. This is all but accepting their view, at which point the final negotiation is a formality which Israel can’t evade. (‘You owe me 1,000,000,000$. Accept that you owe me, and we’ll reach a just and agreed upon solution. Oh, you want to not pay? Remember you accepted that you rightfully owe me.’). Also, the Arab initiative cannot be modified without the acceptance of the issuing parties, which is why Kerry had to make numerous trips to just suggest the idea of ‘land swaps’ (and tried to made a PR point of that).

            Your elucidation of English is surprisingly mostly correct (even if we ignore that the original resolutions did talk of a ‘Jewish state’), but completely irrelevant. States can recognize whatever they feel like, even that Pi=3. Besides, Israel runs in Hebrew, and in Hebrew the terms are nigh identical, as Ben Gurion wrote numerous times.

            Barak offered far far more than 61% (more like 97%), and actually included a limited RoR[1]. Olmert offered even more. Abbas never said your quote – actually Abbas explicitly said in an interview to Washington Post, “the gaps were wide” [2]. etc.



            • Ron
              One does not become outdated or updated with regard to the text of the Arab League peace initiatives. The text has not been altered since 2007, and personal opinions, such as those of Yair, are irrelevant to the text.
              The mention of UNGA 194 in a discussion of the Arab League proposal does not signify intention, the resolution simply introduces the many areas open to negotiation, such as the membership of the Conciliation Committee. It does NOT alter the clear invitation to negotiate a solution to the refugee issue introduced with the words “A JUST AND AGREED UPON SOLUTION.” The use of the descriptor “limitation” in that context is a non-sequitur, as are the mention of international law and making a UNGA resolution a law. There is no such suggestion in the Arab League peace proposals. Yair seems unable to grasp fully the definition of the vocabulary of the text.

              The mention of some sort of bet perhaps indicates a degree of dementia.

              Yair comments about modification of an Arab initiative and demands on Kerry are irrelevant gibberish, as is his contention that “original resolutions did talk of a ‘Jewish state’ “ That is a false statement. UNGA 194 made no such mention, and neither did the Arab League proposals, which, by the way, are NOT resolutions.
              Regarding Barak and Olmert peace proposals, Yair is surfeit with Israel propaganda, and he is not well-informed. The two web sites he suggests are irrelevant.

              • I’m glad to hear Ron thinks the Washington Post is ‘irrelevant’ or ‘Israeli propaganda’ (and the other was an article by a known anti-Israeli pundit…). And it was explicitly from Abbas’s mouth! It speaks volumes as to attachment to reality.

                The original Arab text was slightly less extreme than the 2007 one, again, one would have to look at just what they agreed to (at the text of the Arab vote when they accepted it, when they do mention it). UNGA 194 is non-binding (as almost all UNGA resolutions are), but when incorporated into an agreement – or mentioned in a UNSC resolution – the case can be very different. Now res. 194 did not mention ‘Jewish state’, but res. 181 for example did (I wrote ‘original resolutions’, not 194, and never mentioned a bet – this confusion suggests Ron might wish to diagnose himself rather than others, or maybe he has to introduce this because his ‘arguments’ keep getting knocked down).

              • Ron

                Yair has the intellectual sophistication of a telephone pole.The Washington Post is not irrelevant, and a less vacuous perspicacity would understand the column referred to in the Post by Yair is irrelevant to the subject under discussion, not the publisher.

                Yair’s observation of the non-binding nature of UNGA 194 is also irrelevant. Yair raised the subject of the resolution as an omission in a discussion of the Arab League peace initiative, not its authority.
                It is admirable that Yair admitted he lied about his reference to a Jewish state. The discussion was UNGA 194 and the Arab League proposal, NOT UNGA 181. And in that resolution the reference to a Jewish state was to identify an entity, not the official name of a nation: and Yair knows it.
                I have experienced no argument being “knocked down” yet.
                Never mentioned a bet?…what did “‘You owe me 1,000,000,000$,” refer to—a car loan??? Yair is an intellectually dishonest interlocutor

              • It is a measure of your honesty and intelligence that you even manage to misrepresent yourself.

                “The two web sites he suggests are irrelevant.” – There’s no ‘Washington Post column’ web site. You could have only been able to refer to the entire Washington Post, which far from ‘irrelevant’. And the columnist is a well connected Washington insider in a direct interview with Abbas (which hasn’t ever disavowed the interview). You need to redirect the discussion into trivia so that no one will notice that Abbas did reject the peace offer, and your description was entirely false.

                “The discussion was UNGA 194 and the Arab League proposal, NOT UNGA 181.” Here’s what I wrote: “the original resolutions did talk of a ‘Jewish state’” – the original resolutions of course, must include 181. That the error is admitted in passing and in an aggressive manner does not make it less of an error…

                “what did “‘You owe me 1,000,000,000$,” refer to—a car loan???” No, it referred to an unreasonable demand out of the blue. Just like the various Arab demands. ‘Bets’ are part of the imagination, which is very active with some people.

              • Ron
                The Washington Post website to which Yair refers reports a column by Jackson Diehl in 2009. It deals with the Abbas position re negotiations with the Israelis and is totally irrelevant to any discussion of the Arab League peace initiatives of 2002 and 2007.

                Despite Yair’s uninformed contention, he cannot document an Abbas rejection of the Olmert negotiating position proposed in the 2009 talks.

                Yair’s introduction of UNGA 181 is an attempt to change the subject about Israel not being recognized as the “Jewish State of Israel” by any state in the world. It is, of course, an irrelevant introduction.
                Yair is unable to identify an “unreasonable demand,” that prompted his juvenile comment , “‘You owe me 1,000,000,000$.”

                I do not intend to waste any more time commenting on Yair submissions to these pages until he has done his homework and knows something about the subject which he wishes to comment, and illustrates more concern about his integrity.

              • As readers can see, Diehl’s columns documents that Abbas did not agree to Olmert’s offer (“the gaps were wide”), which make someone giving a unsourced fake quote (“we can have peace in 2 days”) well, far from truthful. Which is still more truthful than ignoring that the conversion was also about all those peace offers the PA kept rejecting. There’s a need to try to give me marks (as if anyone cares), because all of your ‘factual’ assertions are false or proof of inability to comprehend plain English – so it’s negative campaigning all the way.

    • It was actually about their opposition to gay marriage. This is entirely an election stunt, as none of the other main parties support this – the only way the Left gets a coalition is with Arabs and Haredi, which oppose gays (and gay marriage, and any kind of civil marriage) even more then BY. Nor are Right prospects easy without Haredim. Ergo, no support. The only not-totally-hostile coalition possible is something like the current one – but these are the people the protesters are protesting against…

  2. Ron
    Typical of Yair, he chooses an Ashkenazi Jew, Jackson Diehl, to make his point, which is false. Diehl is known in Washington journalistic circles as an Israeli shill.

    According to the Institute for Policy Studies:

    “Diehl also takes a hardline view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, placing the blame for the stalled peace process solely on the Palestinians—or President Obama—and never Israel. He wrote in March 2011 that “Mahmoud Abbas has no interest in negotiating” with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, failing to note that Netanyahu’s preconditions—including Palestinian recognition of Israel as a “Jewish state,” despite its large Arab minority, before any negotiations could take place—were widely seen as an effort to kill peace talks before they begin. “

    The true story is that following the Olmert, Abbas discussions, Saeb Erekat, chief Palestinian negotiator said on Monday 27 April 2009, that President Abbas submitted a far-reaching written peace proposal to the former Israeli government during the final days of the Bush administration, and he, Erekat, personally presented the document to President Bush during a secret trip to Washington on 18 December. Abbas asked Olmert to reply to the proposal in writing, but Olmert failed to do so. Abbas had planned to bring the written agreement to a public referendum. Erekat said, Olmert responded to Abbas proposal by making public statements, but never in writing.

    The Bush/Erekat meeting has been confirmed.

    • I thought you “did not intend to waste any more time”. Apparently, even within a single page, you can’t but contradict yourself… Diehl simply quotes Abbas, which has never disavowed his comment that “the gaps were wide”. And here’s what Rice wrote in her memoir:

      Still, I worried that there might never be another chance like this one. Tzipi Livni urged me (and, I believe, Abbas) not to enshrine the Olmert proposal. “He has no standing in Israel,” she said. That was probably true, but to have an Israeli prime minister on record offering those remarkable elements and a Palestinian president accepting them would have pushed the peace process to a new level. Abbas refused.

      I worried that there might never be another chance like this one…. to have an Israeli prime minister on record offering those remarkable elements and a Palestinian president accepting them would have pushed the peace process to a new level. Abbas refused. We had one last chance. The two leaders came separately in November and December to say good-bye. The President took Abbas into the Oval Office alone and appealed to him to reconsider. The Palestinian stood firm, and the idea died.

      ‘Nethanyahu’s condition’ was raised before by Olmert[2], and was not a pre-condition for talks, as he could negotiate with Abbas with said recognition.



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