In wake of constant clashes in the settlements, Defense Minister Barak stressed Thursday that the government will enforce the construction freeze with resolve. "It's a government decision and we'll enforce it without blinking," Barak said during a Labor party meeting in Tel Aviv.
The defense minister further stated that the decision to freeze construction in the West Bank was made out of "our understanding of our prime duty of making sure all negotiation options remain open."
He also noted, "We shall protect every citizen, including in the settlements, but on the other hand we have an obligation to make sure that the state enforces its authority over the citizens.
"We expect the citizens not to come in the way of security forces," Barak said and stressed that the government's decision wasn't an easy one.
The defense minister also addressed the issue of his expected visit to Turkey and the attempt to restore relations between the two countries to their former positive nature. "The issue of the Turks is very important, despite the ups and downs that have occurred between us in the last year," he said.
"I have spoken to President Peres in Copenhagen and he may meet with Turkish President Gül," Barak said and noted he intended to do everything in his power in order to bring relations back to a practical course "which will enable us to make the most out of the strategic and financial potential."