Barak - AP - March 24, 2011
Defense Minister Ehud Barak Photo by AP
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Defense Minister Ehud Barak called on the international community on Tuesday  to demand that Hamas recognize Israel.

While speaking at a Defense Ministry reception in honor of Israel's Independence Day, the defense minister said the "burden of proof" was on the Palestinian Authority after their recent reconciliation with Hamas

"I call on countries of the word, firstly the United States, to demand that Hamas explicitly state that they recognize Israel," Barak said, calling on the Palestinians to follow the conditions set forth by the Quartet of Middle East Peacemakers.

A condition that he would add, Barak said, is to allow the Red Cross to visit captive Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit in Gaza.

Speaking about the Palestinian plan to gain recognition for a Palestinian state during the United Nations General Assembly in September, Barak said that Israel must respond by formulating a "bold and broad political action plan."

The defense minister also praised the Israel Defense Forces, saying they were "stronger and more intimidating than ever."

Barak lamented Israel's lack of partner for peace, saying "it takes two to tango, and there is no security from the other side that is chiefly responsible for the dead end [that talks between Israel and the Palestinians have reached]."

The defense minister continued, calling on the international community to recognize Israel's resolve to make "decisions bravely, stand behind them and carry them out peacefully."

Earlier in the day, President Shimon Peres also warned against the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation, saying "We see within the Palestinians two camps – one that is ready to start peace negotiations, the Fatah camp, and a camp that isn't ready to denounce terror, the Hamas camp."

"The two camps are currently trying to unite. It is not our business and we don’t want to get involved in their decision to unite. It is our business to make sure that the West bank doesn't turn into Gaza," Peres said, adding that "democracy and terror can't co-exist."