Worthy Christian News » World News » Barak Re-Enters Political Fray With Right-Ward Tilt
ICEJ NEWS - 08/22/2001
Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak delivered on Monday his most outspoken comments yet on the violent Palestinian intifada since it drove him from office last February, insisting there should be no more negotiations with PLO chief Yasser Arafat.
Barak criticized his Labor party colleagues - like foreign minister Shimon Peres - who still wish to continue negotiating with Arafat. "Only the blind, or those whose emotional attachment to their own desires makes it difficult for them to face reality - can continue with talk that makes you want to pinch yourself and say, 'Tell me, can this be real!?'"
Peres responded sharply to the criticism: "I suggest that everyone learn from their own mistakes... Barak himself met with Arafat and made him far-reaching offers. My discussions with Arafat are not on content, but on how to stop the violence."
Labor dove Yossi Beilin called Barak's comments "amazing," adding there is no doubt that if Barak had won re-election in February, he would have continued negotiating with Arafat.
Barak warned in his speech to a kibbutz movement affiliated with Labor that the party needs to stop drifting to the left. The internal election between Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and Knesset Speaker Avraham Burg for Labor party leader will be held in two weeks and Barak has endorsed the more centrist Ben-Eliezer.
In other recent remarks, Barak has claimed he "fathered" the idea of unilateral separation from the Palestinians, a concept that is gaining increased support from Israeli politicians left and right. A separation plan would involve erecting a long security fence around Judea/Samaria - like the one around the Gaza Strip. Although it would take several years and millions of dollars to build, many believe such a fence would cut down on the amount of terrorism inside Israel.
But a security fence would also look too much like a border, and would amount to Israeli territorial withdrawals without anything in return from the Palestinians, especially an end-to-the-conflict agreement. It would also entail evacuating isolated Jewish communities in Judea/Samaria, a move that would be interpreted by the Palestinians as a "reward" for their violence and terrorism.
Used with Permission from International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.