By Ted Belman
Barak was interviewed on French TV.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak thinks there is a 50-50 chance that Israel and the Palestinians will return to the negotiating table before September but that Israel cannot stop settlement construction, he told France 24 in an interview on Friday.
“I hope that it’s at least 50-50, probably more than 50-50,”
“There is no real way to announce an end of construction. There’s half a million people living there. They need a new kindergarten every week.”
What kind of crap is this. Construction is not about the need for kindergardens, its about our right to build and the need for homes.
He added that European governments should tell the Palestinians: “Now you must come to grips with reality,” regarding their demand for a settlement freeze. “It’s about taking responsibility.”
The defense minister said of settlement construction, “If we have a breakthrough, it will delineate a border. If there’s a building that [ends up] on the Palestinian side of a mutually agreed border, why should they care – they will get it.” Likewise, he said, “If it ends up on the Israeli side of a mutually agreed upon border, why should they care. It’s on our side anyhow.”
Settlements, he insisted, are “not the real issue when coming to negotiations.”
Exactly right. We must keep building. It shouldn’t matter to the peace process except to create consequences for the Arabs for choosing to delay or avoid negotiations.
- Describing what he called “unfair and unjust” attempts to isolate Israel because of the lack of peace, Barak said those efforts scare him. Israel he said, “really wants” to return to negotiations.
However, the defense minister suggested that renewed talks should take place behind closed doors due to the avoid the “penetrating media and transparency.” Secrecy, he said, would give those at the leadership level the confidence that they are “moving on solid ground and not just attempting [to jump] into empty swimming pools.”