Pressure Mounts on Netanyahu to Sack Ehud Barak
Members of Likud's National Headquarters have called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to immediately dismiss Defense Minister Ehud Barak, whom they accuse of advancing policies that directly contributed to the heinous murder of the Fogel family in Itamar.
In an interview with Israel National Radio, Shevach Stern of the Likud National Staff said the Prime Minister cannot back-peddle from his government's positions to save Ehud Barak, "We hear this call from many Knesset members. They say it off the record and not for attribution. But everyone understands that Barak has taken over as head of government in various fields, and brings the Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu a salesman's dilemma from which he cannot break free. "
Stern argued that the evacuation of Gilad Farm, coupled with the use of weapons against Jews, formed part of a whole continuum of actions set in motion by Barak, which has led the spilling of Jewish blood.
"It's not just the construction freeze and removing check-points that allowed the free passage of terrorists from place to place," Stern insisted. "It is also actions against the settlers, selective law enforcement and shooting the Gilad Farm settlers. I'm certain events like Gilad Farm send the message to terrorists that we hold our own blood cheap. Removing checkpoints in Judea and Samaria also proves our blood is cheap - terrorists today can move around very easily. "
Stern said the announcement of the construction of housing units in the settlement blocs is not an adequate answer to the murderous attack, "To my knowledge it is 500 housing units, which was the Prime Minister's recycling of previous announcements from before the attack. It had to be carried out - it's not new construction. Do we need more attacks to approve more units?"
According to Stern it is Netanyahu's Likud government that bears responsibility for impeding settlement construction.
"Unfortunately, those who tie our hands the most are we ourselves! Even the Kadima government has built more than Likud. Unfortunately, Benjamin Netanyahu, because of his close relationship with Ehud Barak, has stressed his government. We call to him to dismiss Barak. I think it's a matter of time. If they are Siamese twins who can not separate, then they must both leave politics. Eighty percent of Likud members support the continuation of settlement today. The area is on fire and we can not continue with the status quo. "
The close relationship between Ehud Barak and Binyamin Netanyahu is not as surprising as some political observers might think. Netanyahu was one of sixteen Sayeret Maktal, [the most elite commando unit,ed.] commandos led by Ehud Barak during the successful hostage rescue raid on Sabena Flight 571 on 9 May 1972.
The passenger flight, scheduled for Vienna to Tel Aviv, was hijacked by members of Abu Nidal's Black September faction en route to Lod Airport [later renamed Ben Gurion Airport] the previous day. Barak's commandos stormed the aircraft and took control of the plane in ten minutes, killing both male hijackers and capturing the two women. All the passengers were rescued, though one later died of her wounds.