Israel should consider unilateral steps to separate itself from the Palestinian Authority should peace talks fail, Defense Minister Ehud Barak told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Sunday.
“We should consider unilateral steps in order to place a wedge on this extremely dangerous slippery slope to a bi-national state,” Barak said at AIPAC’s policy conference in Washington.
Such steps would include dismantling settlements beyond the separation barrier and maintaining a military presence in the Jordan Valley, along the West Bank-Jordan border, a move which PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has rejected.
Israel carried out a unilateral “disengagement” in 2005 by expelling all Jews from their communities in Gaza and removing the IDF from the region.
Barak, who is leaving government, has until now been the chief advocate within the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for advancing talks and making concessions to the Palestinian Authority.
Barak praised Netanyahu for being a “courageous” advocate for peace, noting his settlement building-freeze in 2010, and that the failure of the talks was “mostly” the fault of the Palestinians.
Turning to Iran, Barak brought up the military option to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. “All options must be on the table – we expect all those who say it to mean it,” he said.