Barak: alienation with US over settlements not good for Israel

Israel's Defence Minister Ehud Barak has said Israel must, eventually, allow the Palestinians to rule themselves.

Barak: alienation with US over settlements not good for Israel

Israel's Defence Minister Ehud Barak has said Israel must, eventually, allow the Palestinians to rule themselves.

In an interview with Army Radio he said in the future there would be a separate Palestinian state "whether you like it or not".

The interview comes as Israelis mark Memorial Day, commemorating Israeli soldiers killed in invasion.

Barak, a former top ranking soldier, leads the Labour Party which is part of the current government coalition.

"The world isn't willing to accept, and we won't change that in 2010, the expectation that Israel will rule another people for decades more," he said.

"There is no other way, whether you like it or not, than to let them rule themselves," he said, speaking about the idea of a separate Palestinian state.

"Alienation over settlement"

Barak saw growing rift with the United States over settlement insistence.

"The alienation that is developing with the United States is not good for Israel," said Barak.

Barak called for a "far-reaching Israeli diplomatic initiative" on peace, including talks with the Palestinians on core issues of the Middle East conflict.

"We have strong ties with the United States, a bond, long-term friendship and strategic partnership. We receive three billion dollars from them each year, we get the best planes in the world from them," he said.

"For all these reasons we must act to change things," Barak said, while voicing doubts Netanyahu would soon enjoy the same warm ties with the White House as his predecessors did when President George W. Bush was in office.

"With a broad readiness to go for a (peace) agreement, Israeli governments have overcome many obstacles in the daily discourse with the Americans about building in this or that settlement or a Jerusalem neighbourhood," Barak said about long-standing differences with Washington over the issue.

U.S. President Barack Obama had repeatedly called Netanyahu to end settlement buildings in occupied Palestine, but finnally retreated his policy.

The Obama administration called it "an insult" last month when Israel announced more settlements during a visit by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden despite previous calls.

The Palestinians subsequently cancelled plans to enter into U.S.-mediated, indirect talks with Israel, and Netanyahu has yet to respond to a U.S. list of steps.

Political sources in Israel said Washington proposed 11 such "confidence-building" measures that are thought to include freezing Israeli construction in occupied East Jerusalem.



Agencies

Last Mod: 20 Nisan 2010, 13:59
Add Comment