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September 26, 2016 / 23 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Barak’

Ehud Barak Retiring from Politics

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Defense Minister Ehud Barak told reporters in Tel Aviv this morning: “I decided to retire from politics and not to run in the coming elections.” Barak added: “I joined the army in 1959, and for 47 years served the people of Israel as best I could. I will finish the job when the next government takes office and will spend more time with my family. I got all I could out of my engagement in politics, which was never an object of desire for me, and I feel that new people should be encouraged to take up senior positions. Turnover in positions of power is a good thing.”

As poll after poll has been showing that Barak’s Knesset list Atzmaut (Independence) was in danger of not making it past the blocking percentage, there were speculations in political circles that Barak would try and get himself into a secure position on the list of one of the major political parties. But as most Likud ministers declared their open aversion to his inclusion on their list, and as Labor, which he deserted to join the Likud government, was in no mood to take him back, Barak’s future was becoming murkier and murkier over the summer and into the political autumn.

That’s when Defense Minister Barak began a campaign that was intended to distinguish between himself and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a campaign that reached full throttle over the PM’s open conflict with the White House over attacking Iran. After appearing to be of one mind with Netanyahu on the urgent need to stop the Iranian nuclear program, Barak distanced himself from that view and sounded more like the Pentagon officials he had been debating a short while before.

As other parties were organizing for the coming elections, it seemed that Barak was courting all of them, with the possible exception of the National Religious party and the Ethiopians. Labor’s Ofer Eini, the landless Tzipi Livni, the Likud’s Prince Hamlet Moshe Kahlon, nouveau-Golda-Meir Shelly Yachimovich, and even Czar Liberman, all spent some face time with Barak these past couple of months, and all, apparently, rejected his advances.

Barak’s decision will be accepted with a deep sigh of relief by folks who live in Judea and Samaria, who were subject to the Defense Minister’s unyielding attempts to chip away at Jewish settlements, including many cases in which his nod would have meant the difference between Jewish families being evicted from their homes or being allowed to continue living in homes they had purchased legally.

Barak has also been a bulwark against Netanyahu’s adopting the Levi committee’s recommendations which came down to applying Israeli law in places where Israelis live in Judea and Samaria.

In Hebron, in Migron and in many other Jewish towns and villages, Ehud Barak will not be missed. But Netanyahu’s choice for Barak’s replacement at the ministry of defense should signal what kind of policy the next government will pursue regarding the “disputed territories.”

Yori Yanover

Defense Min. Barak: We Didn’t Want to Conquer Gaza

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

In an interview with Israel Radio, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that he considered conquering Gaza throughout Operation Pillar of Defense, but did not take the step because he did not want Israel to remain in the region for a long period of time.

In his first interview since Wednesday night’s ceasefire agreement, in which Barak declared that the Israeli military had accomplished its goals “in full” over the course of the eight day operation, Barak said that while Israel could have removed Hamas from power, it would have meant that Israel would be “forced to stay in for years”, and that it would have been difficult to figure out how to withdraw from Gaza again.

Barak boasted that “while our Chief of Staff will soon be talking to the press, their Chief of Staff is in the ground”, referring to Hamas military chief Ahmded Jabari, who Israel killed on the first day of Pillar of Defense.

Barak said Israel hit Hamas with one thousand times the force with which Hamas hit Israel, and praised the “powerful, effective army”.

Malkah Fleisher

Ceasefire Tonight, Same War All Over Again Day after Tomorrow

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

As soon as the IDF started pounding the Gaza strip with massive artillery fire and attacks from the air, it was a sign of the end of this polite skirmish. In fact, as soon as the artillery started, I knew it was either to soften the ground in preparation for the ground invasion, or the final salvo armies traditionally deliver before the truce, to inflict as much damage as they still can, and so they’ll have less to schlep home afterwards.

Wars are a wonderful way to clear up the shelves for the new shipment of ammo.

Like the rest of us, Netanyahu, Barak, Liberman et al have weighed the benefits and risks of a ground invasion of a densely populated and very hostile Gaza, and decided to be prudent. All they need is for one bad move to end up in mass killings of either our boys, God forbid, or, possibly even worse, Arab civilians, two months before the elections. So they kicked the can to themselves down the road, as many have anticipated.

After today’s cabinet meeting, one senior Israeli official told Reuters: “Before deciding on a ground invasion, the prime minister intends to exhaust the diplomatic move in order to see if a long-term ceasefire can be achieved.”

Diplomatic moves must include Egypt, Gaza’s Muslim Brothers’ home office. President Mohamed Morsi took a call from Obama on Monday, with a clear request (we’ll call it that) to make Hamas stop shooting rockets into Israel.

The Egyptians have been working on that project ever since (well, almost two days, but it felt longer). We’ll see what kind of hybrid they’ve cobbled.

Here are the difficulties Israel had to consider:

1. It cannot negotiate with Hamas without directly destabilizing the Fatah government in Judea and Samaria. 2. It cannot invade Gaza without removing Hamas which entails staying there as a provisional government – not something the Israeli PM is looking forward to. 3. Whatever truce is reached tonight will not be worth the paper on which it is written.

All of the above suggests that the military cost of Operation Pillar of Defense, combined with the 1200 reported cases of serious damage to property over the past week – not to speak of the lives lost – will only buy Israel a few months of quiet.

Netanyahu, Barak, and Liberman tonight decided to avoid confronting the bully all the way. But as history teaches us, the bully you failed to confront in 1936, at a relatively low cost, or in 1938, at a higher cost, finally forced you to confront him in 1939 at the highest cost imaginable.

I wish all of us a safe life and a happy Hanukah.

Yori Yanover

Barak: We Called Up the Reserves, IDF Spokesman: Gaza Will Not Sleep Quietly Tonight

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Defense Minister Ehud Barak convened a meeting with the chief of staff Benny Gantz, IDF commanders, and senior representatives of Defense and Intelligence. A senior Army source told Israel’s Reshet Bet radio that the IDF is preparing for a ground operation, and is only waiting for the decision of the political echelon.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said tonight: “I have ordered today to expand the recruiting of army reserve so we will be prepared for any kind of development, if and when required. This operation is not a quick fix, this test will continue and we must pass it, standing erect and calm.”

Barak added: I am convinced that the operation will achieve its goals. I am confident that we will contribute to bolstering our deterrence and restoring the peace, even if it takes time. Meanwhile, we have to remain calm, disciplined, follow the instructions of the Home Front Command and keep up our civilian routines as much as possible even under these circumstances, in order to allow the army to carry out its mission, and us to reach the end of the operation having the upper hand.”

IDF spokesman Brigadier General Yoav (Poly) Mordechai, briefing reporters, said tonight:

“IDF forces, the regular Paratroopers and Givati brigades are assembled in their designated pre-invasion areas, and are preparing to enter the Gaza Strip. We will act as necessary and according to the decisions of our political leadership. Most senior Hamas terrorists are fleeing. We must remain determined. To residents of the south: the power of our home front fuels our power to operate.”

“The IDF continues to operate surgically in Gaza, with targeted attacks – not against outposts, not against police stations – but against rocket launch posts. So far we’ve inflicted very severe damage to the arsenal of long-range missiles of the Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. The IDF also managed to take out several launch teams during the attack. So far 14 terrorists were killed in the Gaza Strip.

“Every hour there are more than 12 attacks in the Gaza Strip, all day and all night. We We will continue again tonight and tomorrow. As time goes by, the attacks will increase. Our Home Front defense has been effective and efficient. We sustained a harsh blow in Kiryat Malachi, and we send our condolences to the families. I ask our citizens at home to obey the HFC instructions. Our active defense, combined with implementing the HFC guidelines, will achieve optimum result.

Jewish Press Staff

IDF Initiating Call-Up of Reserves, Preparing for Possible Ground War

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Though IDF Spokesman Yoav Mordechai says the call-up is limited and primarily focused on Home Front Command units, Israel’s military has begun calling up army reservists across the country, in preparation for a possible ground incursion into Gaza as part of Operation “Amud Anan” – Pillar of Defense.

According to Mordechai, a ceasefire is not in consideration at this time.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Wednesday night that he would authorize a broadening of air and sea attacks on terror infrastructure in Gaza, and that the military operation would continue until the goals have been realized.

Also on Wednesday night, Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed the nation in a statement, condemning Hamas operatives for targeting Israeli citizens while using their own citizenry as human shields.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who early told the residents of the south that they are the “source of our strength in this battle that we are waging today”, praised the Shin Bet for providing information necessary for eliminating Ahmad Jabari and devastating Hamas’s Fajr long-range rocket arsenal.

He noted that the goals of the operation are “strengthening deterrence, injuring the rocket arsenal, wounding and hurting Hamas and minimizing injury to the civilians on the homefront of the State of Israel.”

Malkah Fleisher

Defense Minister Barak: “Spirit of the Civilians is Source of Our Strength in Battle Today”

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Defense Minister Ehud Barak made the following statement at a press conference earlier this evening (Wednesday, 14 November 2012), at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv:

“A few hours ago, the political echelons ordered the IDF to launch Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza. The accuracy of the intelligence on behalf of both the Israel Security Agency and our Military Intelligence, as well as the precise action of the IDF, led to the elimination of Hamas’ military leader [Ahmad] Jabari. We also struck most of the long range Fajr missiles, additional Hamas infrastructure, as well as other terror elements.

Israel does not want war. But Hamas’ consistent provocation in recent weeks, in particular the incessant rounds of artillery rockets and mortars into the heart of our southern communities, the tunnel which exploded deep into Israeli territory, the anti-tank missile fired at a jeep – again inside of Israel – forced our hand into acting with both precision and decisiveness.

We must be clear that Israel will not tolerate a situation in which there is incessant [rocket] fire on our citizens. No life-loving country would accept this situation.

The goals of the operation are as follows:

Strengthening our deterrence To inflict serious damage on the rocket launching network To deliver a painful blow for Hamas and the other terrorist organizations To minimize damage to our home front

I would also like to express my deep appreciation for Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, Israel Security Agency Director Yoram Cohen, head of the Military Intelligence and his personnel, the IDF, the ‘Iron Dome’ system and its operators, and of course the Air Force. I wish you all continued success throughout the operation. The IDF will receive the full backing to do all that is necessary in order to restore quiet to the south.

There is no ‘quick-fix’ solution. Right now, as we stand here, massive barrages of missiles are being fired at our cities. But we will achieve these aforementioned goals throughout the course of this operation.

During the last few hours, I have spoken with mayors and regional councils throughout the south. I would like to commend them on their resilience and the spirit of the civilians in all the communities in the southern region. It is the source of our strength in this battle that we are waging today.

We are still at the beginning of the event, not at the end, and we expect some complicated tests ahead. It will require vigilance; not only in Gaza, but also in Israel and in Judea and Samaria. But in the long run I believe that this operation will contribute to strengthening deterrence and reinstituting the calm in the south. I call upon the leaders of the region to act with composure, in order to promote stability and restore quiet so that we are not – heaven forbid – dragged into further deterioration.”

Malkah Fleisher

Israeli Top Brass: We Will Defend Israelis

Monday, November 12th, 2012

As Israel’s border with Gaza heats up, Israeli officials from the highest echelons – even some who are known for their anti-war philosophies – have declared that the State will defend Israeli citizens and restore order in the south.

On Sunday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that he would support a ground incursion into Gaza in the name of Israeli security. “If we are forced to reenter Gaza in order to deal Hamas a blow and restore security for all of Israel’s citizens, then we will not hesitate to do it,” he said.

In an interview with The Jerusalem Post on Sunday for their 80th anniversary supplement, President Shimon Peres called rocket attacks from Gaza “idiotic”, questioning the goals of the terrorists and adding that “if they shoot, we have to respond fully and immediately.  There is no room for any consideration.”  Yet Israel should continue to try to “achieve peace” even while it defends itself, he said.

Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon said he supports the targeted killing of terror chiefs, which he said were very effective at maintaining quiet when he was IDF Chief of Staff in 2003-2004, prior to his resignation due to his refusal to participate in the forced expulsion of Jews from the Gush Katif communities of Gaza under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.  Ya’alon said the possibility of re-enacting this policy, and of sending Israeli troops into Gaza, was “being weighed”.

Internal Defense Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich recommended that the IDF act in a way which is “painful” to Hamas in order to bring an end to the “intolerable” situation of Israelis in the south.  He did not advocate Israel retaking the land.

Home Front Defense Minister Avi Dichter said the “terror state” in Gaza should be treated to a “totally different deterrence situation”, and told Israel’s Army Radio on Sunday that the government would do the right thing for Israel’s security, without regard to how it might affect upcoming prime ministerial elections.

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said Israel had no choice but to respond to the rockets, which would otherwise just begin reaching farther into Israel.

Beersheva mayor Rubik Danilovich called on the government on Sunday to end the “war of attrition” between Israel and terrorists in Gaza, and will meet on Monday with Prime Minister Netanyahu, where he is expected to urge the prime minister to do whatever it takes to bring an end to the attacks.

The loudest voice against taking military measures to protect Israeli citizens belongs to Labor Party head Shelly Yechimovich, who told Army Radio that army activity would get in the way of the approaching election season. “We are on the eve of elections, and operations more than air strikes or targeted attacks require stability and national consensus.”

“It could be that such an operation is needed, but not now,” she said.

Malkah Fleisher

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