Min. Edelstein: Netanyahu, Fire Barak

Likud minister says he warned years ago that Barak is up to no good on his U.S. trips. Barak: look in the mirror to find culprit.<br/>

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Gil Ronen,

Minister Yuli Edelstein
Minister Yuli Edelstein
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Minister of Public Information and Diaspora, Yuli Edelstein (Likud), called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Thursday to fire Defense Minister Ehud Barak (Independence).

Following Ehud Barak's latest meetings in the United States, Edelstein told IDF Radio: "As early as three years ago, I warned that the Defense Minister's frequent trips to the U.S. usually ended badly for the state of Israel.

"It's a shame they didn't listen to me then, and are only discovering the extent of that activity now."

"Every one of those trips got us embroiled in something else," he elaborated. "Once it was a [construction] freeze, then it was jet planes we did not receive, and every time there was another misunderstanding that did not contribute to the relations with the U.S."

Regarding Minister Silvan Shalom's comment Wednesday that "lines had been crossed" in Barak's latest trip, Edelstein said: "I do not know what my colleague Silvan Shalom meant, but these things definitely happened. When the Defense Minister presents his private views time after time, although they are in a minority in the government, and acts accordingly in the U.S., a lot of damage is caused," he added.

'We can find a better defense minister for the state of Israel within the current coalition, I said so a long time ago," Edelstein said. "I think that if we manage to pass the budget and the elections are not held early, the prime minister should fire Barak. His political power is next to zero so that the budget's passage does not depend on him, and he has been taking advantage of the government for years."

Barak lashed back Thursday at Edelstein. "Edelstein's accusations against Barak are absurd. He and his friends should hold up a mirror and discover who is responsible for the disturbances in the relations with the United States," a statement from Barak's Independence party said.