Barak: Israel must address its growing political isolation
Defense Minister calls for special cabinet session, says spiraling events in the Middle East are not within Israel's control, but 'we can certainly affect the way we face them'.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak called Sunday for a special cabinet session to discuss Israel's growing political isolation, particularly in light of the recent crises with Egypt and Turkey.
"There is a wide picture forming around us that includes what happened with Turkey, what is happening with Egypt, and what is happening with the Palestinians," Barak told ministers. "These are events that are not in our control, but we can certainly affect the way we face them."
The defense minister's remarks came two days after Egyptian masses stormed the embassy in Cairo, and a week after Turkey downgraded relations over Israel's refusal to apologize for its deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla last year.
In his address to ministers, Barak also warned that Israel's "intimacy" with the U.S. is eroding. "We have to discuss this and we have to discuss our situation with the Quartet and the Europeans as the United Nations decision nears," Barak said, in reference to the upcoming vote on recognizing Palestinian statehood.
"We have before us reports from the Foreign Ministry, the Mossad, the Shin Bet security service and the military intelligence, and we should at least hold an extensive cabinet meeting about it," said Barak.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday called the attack on Israel's embassy in Cairo over the weekend in effect an assault on "the axis of peace" with Egypt, declaring that those who tore down the flag outside the building "oppose peace".
In an address to the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Netanyahu praised the moderate elements in Egypt who were keen on advancing and maintaining peaceful relations with Israel.