Defense Minister Ehud Barak
Defense Minister Ehud Barak Israel news photo: Flash 90/archive

Defense Minister Ehud Barak told a Washington, D.C. think tank last Friday that if attacked, Israel would return fire to the source of the problem, rather than waste time chasing “individual terrorists.”

Barak spoke to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a group founded by the American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC) lobbyist organization. He met afterwards with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vice President Joseph Biden, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, Mike Mullen.

Barak was blunt in his address about the source of the problems currently facing Israel. Lebanon is today supported by a militia comprised of Hizbullah terrorists who serve in the country's parliament and government, Barak informed his audience. “It has weapons systems that some – many sovereign nations – do not have.”

Hizbullah terror chief Hassan Nasrallah boasted in a recent address that his militia has missiles that can reach every part of the State of Israel. Hizbullah is funded and equipped by Syria and Iran, both of whom have managed to slip in to Lebanon “many civil servants in uniform and without uniforms,” Barak said. All three countries – Lebanon, Syria and Iran – are voting members of the United Nations.

Iran also provides generous funding, weaponry and other technical support to another partner in the regional axis attempting to form a choke-hold around Israel - the Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza.

Barak also spoke about the Iranian nuclear threat, telling his audience that Iran's continued defiance of the United Nations' ban on its nuclear development activities may constitute an existential threat to the Jewish State.

The defense minister stressed the importance of “significant and effective sanctions within a time limit,” but reserved the option of a different response by Israel if sanctions were not carried out, or didn't work. Israel, he said, would “carry a certain skepticism and think thoroughly and in a constructive manner about what should happen if, against our hopes and wishes, it won't work.”

Nevertheless, he added, “I don't think the Iranians, even if they got the bomb, are going to drop it immediately on someone in the neighborhood. They understand what may follow. They are radical, but not totally crazy.”