Barak Calls for Security Cabinet Meet Over Stalled Negotiations With Palestinians

Prime Minister Netanyahu indirectly responds to Defense Minister Ehud Barak's remarks, made during Sunday's cabinet meeting, saying that Palestinians are avoiding 'discourse of peace.'

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Barak Ravid
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ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

Defense Minister Ehud Barak insisted on convening a special meeting over stalled negotiations with the Palestinian Authority during Sunday's cabinet meeting.

During a debate on anti-Israel incitement in the Palestinian media that took place on Sunday morning, Barak said, "the issue of incitement is very important, but it is only part of the broader picture."

"I suggest that we convene the security cabinet and debate between us the Palestinian issue, the meaning of the stalled peace process, and ways that we can progress," he said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not directly respond to Barak, although he revealed the differences of opinion between him and between the defense minister over the Palestinian issue in his closing remarks at the end of the meeting.

"The Palestinian leadership bequeaths incitement to future generations and prevents them from moving to the discourse of peace," he said.

In contrast to the Iran nuclear issue, where there appears to be a consensus between the two, they seriously disagree when it comes to the Palestinians. In private conversations, Barak says that, "Israel is living on borrowed time" in everything related to the Palestinians. Barak is convinced that despite the shortcomings of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and his refusal to negotiate with Netanyahu, Israel has a strategic and tactical interest in getting out of the stalemate in negotiations with the Palestinians.

"It is important that we do not stop searching for a way to advancing with the Palestinians, either to a permanent settlement, or to an interim settlement," Barak said in an interview on Israel Radio last Thursday. "If these two things do not take place we must look for a way to advance to a unilateral, or a coordinated unilateral solution."

Throughout the discussion at the cabinet meeting, Yossi Kuperwasser, Director General of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, presented data and examples of a sharp increase in the level of incitement against Israel in the Palestinian media establishment. Minister Without Porfolio Benny Begin said in the meeting that Israel is in control of the frequencies in the West Bank, and that Israel can try to disrupt Palestinian TV broadcasts when they include incitement.

"This way we will raise international awareness of the issue," Begin said.

Kuperwasser noted that there is no overt incitement to kill Jews in Palestinian media, although there is a trend of "glorifying terrorists." Examples include Abbas' meeting with the terrorist Amna Muna, who was involved in the kidnapping and murder of Israel teen Ofir Rahum, or an item broadcast on Palestinian TV about an official belonging to Hamas' armed wing, who was behind an attack on the Park Hotel in Netanya.

Here, Minister of Intelligence and Atomic Energy Dan Meridor also got involved. "If this is the situation, how can you explain that in the past three years, there has been almost no terror," he said.

During the presentation, the ministers watched videos showing Palestinian officials sharply criticising Jews and Israelis. For example, the chairman of the Palestinian Olympics Committee Jibril Rajoub, said that he intends to bring foreign visitors to the West Bank in helicopters, "so that they will not see Jews, devils, or Zionist sons of dogs." Another example that was presented was a children's TV program in which a girl recited a song calling for the murder of Jews, to the sound of the applause of the shows host.

Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Barak at the cabinet meeting. Credit: Alex Kolomvisky

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