Barak: Israel will decide on Jewish people's future by itself
Defense minister admits US, Israel differ on urgency of Iranian issue, stresses that Israel will decide independently whether to attack Islamic Republic. Referring to Syria, he says world cannot stand by in face of crimes against humanity
Speaking at a National Security Studies Institute conference in Tel Aviv, he remarked that the US and Israel differ in attitudes towards the Iranian issue and "the ticking of the clocks." Nevertheless, he stressed that the US is aware that Israel will decide independently whether to mount a military operation against Iran's nuclear facilities.
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Addressing criticism on the government's decision making, he said: "I won't argue that long and comprehensive discussions scientifically guarantee perfect decisions. Uncertainty is a fixture of what we're dealing with. But one can stop working up anxiety that the issue isn't being discussed thoroughly."
He added, "Ultimately it's obvious that that the Israeli government alone is responsible for making decisions in issues that are vital to the future and security of the State of Israel, and I would add with caution – the Jewish people."
Barak and US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta (Photo: AP)
"The relevant moment is the last moment in which something can still be done. That moment must be identified, there's no reason to expedite it or announce it has come, but there's no justification to closing one's eyes."
"I am positive that political and security responsibility can be combined with maintaining the special relationship with the US – our most important ally. It's important to our joint cause – stopping Iran from becoming nuclear. Despite the general preference for diplomacy, no option should be taken off the table."
The defense minister also addressed Iranian attempts to neutralize any effort to sabotage the nuclear program and mentioned the increase of centrifuges, sites and fortification as well as low-leveled enrichment of uranium. "The Iranians are patient," he remarked.
"No one wants wars, but the fact that the enemy is purchasing weapons systems is a sword above our heads which leaves no option but to act," Barak said. "We can't close our eyes as long as Iran is arming itself."
Addressing the regional effect of Iranian nuclear capabilities, the defense minister said: "The Saudis are saying out in the open 'we would become nuclear, fast.' Turkey will surely be forced into becoming nuclear. The new Egypt will also find itself being dragged into the nuclear race. "
Referring to Syria and the recent escalation of violence, he said: "These events call for global action. These are crimes against humanity and the international community cannot stand by as they happen." Barak said that more concrete actions are needed in forcing a solution on the Assad family.
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