Barak: WikiLeaks has changed face of world diplomacy
Defense Minister says Israel emerged from fiasco unscathed, but adds that diplomats the world over will now have to be more cautious.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Tuesday that the classified cables revealed by WikiLeaks had not damaged Israel but would surely change the face of global diplomacy.
"Diplomacy will look different today. People, diplomats in every corner of the world, will be much more cautious when they speak, and not just with the Americans," Barak said while touring an industrial military factory in central Israel. "It will shake the diplomatic conversation."
"But with regard to Israel, I don't think any damage has been done," Barak added. "There is no great difference between what has been read in WikiLeaks and what is heard in our deep briefings."
The defense minister added that the leaked documents "revealed interesting things pertaining to the stance of the entire Arab world" with regard to Iran's nuclear program, and gave a glimpse into global "information from behind closed doors."
After the online whistleblower began publishing the cables on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said some of the secret diplomatic memos were beneficial for Israel, particularly those offering clear proof that the Arab world agrees with his country's assessment that Iran is the chief danger to the Middle East.
According to the documents released by WikiLeaks, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia repeatedly urged the United States to attack Iran to destroy its nuclear program. The king is just one of many Arab voices in the documents calling for tough action against Iran - proof that Israel is not alone in its belief that Tehran is a growing menace to the region, Netanyahu said.
"The greatest threat to world peace stems from the arming of the regime in Iran," Netanyahu told a news conference Monday. "More and more states, governments and leaders in the Middle East and in far reaches of the world understand this is a fundamental threat."
But for Israel, the outcome is positive, Netanyahu said. For years he has warned of the dangers the Iranian nuclear program poses to the entire region. These warnings had been vindicated, Netanyahu said.
"Our region has been hostage to a narrative that is the result of 60 years of propaganda, which paints Israel as the greatest threat," Netanyahu said.
"In reality leaders understand that that view is bankrupt. For the first time in history there is agreement that Iran is the threat," he added.
"If leaders start saying openly what they have long been saying behind closed doors, we can make a real breakthrough on the road to peace."
Netanyahu added that Israel had worked in advance to limit any damage from leaks.
"Every Israeli leader has known for years that that dispatches are likely to leak out, so we adapted ourselves to the reality of leaks," he said. "That has a bearing on who I invite to meetings. No classified Israeli material was exposed by WikiLeaks."
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