Barak makes a point (file)
Barak makes a point (file)Israel news photo: Flash 90

Defense Minister Ehud Barak noted Sunday that Israel depends on the United States for vital aid and support, especially in the military sphere. He was speaking with military correspondents in a toast for the Passover holiday. His words seemed to be an explanation of why he thinks Israel should cooperate with the US's demands regarding negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.

“The United States is a central source for Israel's qualitative edge [over its enemies] in advanced weapons systems, $3 billion in annual financial aid, ammunition and spare parts that are spread out here in American storage facilities within Israel, and upon which the IDF relies as an 'oxygen supply' in time of war,” Barak explained.

"Even when there are disagreements between friends – and there are also disagreements – it is vital that we remember that the US is friendly toward Israel in a deep and basic sense,” Barak explained. “It is the US we turn to when there is a Goldstone Report; it is the US we turn to when an intervention or veto is needed in the [UN] Security Council and it was there that we found support and backing in every central crisis in Israel's history, from the War of Independence onward.”

'A delicate situation'

"The American administration is searching, at present, for an answer to the question – is Israel going along with it, energetically and seriously, to broad understandings in the diplomatic process – including what we refer to as 'bottom-up', the building of a Palestinian Authority by [PA Prime Minister Salam] Fayyad and of institutions – and also what is referred to as 'top-down', that is – the diplomatic process and the direct diplomatic talks on the key issues.”

"This is the question troubling the American administration, more than the concrete requests that came up before and during the last visit to Washington, and which are still being discussed in the contacts between us,” he explained further. “We are in a delicate and charged diplomatic situation that requires initiative, decision-making ability and action.” 

"This will be our greatest test in the weeks to come,” he added. “The decisions required on both sides are difficult but the ingredients of an agreement are clear: I believe it is our duty to work toward an arrangement that marks out a clear border inside Israel on the basis of security and demographic considerations.” Barak said security arrangements were intended to prevent a repeat of what happened when Israel withdrew from Lebanon and Gaza, “when territories we left were later filled up by hostile forces in possession of rockets and advanced weapons.”