Defense Minister Ehud Barak joined the growing criticism against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's handling of the diplomatic crisis with Turkey, accusing the prime minister of reaching an unnecessary predicament.
In meetings behind closed doors Barak criticized Netanyahu's conduct in the flotilla affair, claiming that he could have reached an understanding with Ankara and prevent the escalation of tensions between the two countries, but instead succumbed to the pressure of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
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"Netanyahu was on his way to reach a compromise, but was thwarted by Lieberman," Barak told close associated.
The foreign minister, along with Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon, headed the camp that staunchly refused to issue an apology to Turkey over the killing of nine Turkish civilians during the 2010 IDF raid, while the defense minister and Minister Dan Meridor made unsuccessful attempts to persuade the Forum of top eight government ministers to opt for a more conciliatory plan of action.
Pro-Palestinian protest in Istanbul (Photo: AFP)
Barak has expressed disappointment over the deteriorating relations with Turkey in the past, but has yet to lay responsibility on the prime minister.
According to recent reports, the United States was continuing its efforts to reconcile the two states, but Ankara has rejected American mediation, claiming that Turkish demands have not changed.
Meanwhile, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman also slammed Netanyahu in an article titled "Israel: Adrift at Sea, Alone".
"Unfortunately, Israel today does not have a leader or a cabinet for such subtle diplomacy. One can only hope that the Israeli people will recognize this before this government plunges Israel into deeper global isolation and drags America along with it," he wrote.
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