Barak to Set Out for Washington to Discuss Israel-Palestinian Crisis

Ehud Barak plans to fly to U.S. Saturday, where he will hold meetings with U.S. Defense Secretary, CIA Director and other officials, to discuss Palestinian crisis, Egypt situation and Iran.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak will set out for Washington on Saturday night, for a trip who's initial declared purpose is to meet with U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, CIA Director David Petraeus and other security and intelligence personnel.

Barak's schedule does not yet include a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama before his meeting with Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu in New York on Tuesday. But senior government officials in the Obama administration are discussing the possibility of holding high level meetings to discuss means for solving the crisis with the Palestinians.

Ehud Barak.
Moti Milrod

Last week Barak called for "an additional attempt to find a way to bring Israel and the Palestinians back to direct negotiations on all core issues." Barak, who met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Jordan's capital Amman two weeks ago, is supposed to return to Israel before Abbas makes his speech at the UN Security Council.

In light of Abbas' upcoming speech, the Israel Defense Forces, Israel Police and General Security Services are preparing for tumult in the West Bank, Jerusalem and in other areas.

The Pentagon announced Friday that Barak will arrive there on Monday. During their meetings, Barak, Panetta and Petraeus will discuss the crisis with the Palestinians, the situation in Egypt (and that in Sinai), the Iranian nuclear program and additional regional issues.

Panetta’s Under Secretary of Defense, Michele Flournoy, is also set to participate in the meeting with Barak, as well as in a closed-door Senate committee meeting which will deliver a report on Iran’s nuclear capabilities and its actions against American forces in Iraq.

Barak is expected to once more thank his hosts for their aid in evacuating Israeli personnel from its embassy in Cairo after hordes of Egyptian protesters broke through its security system and stormed the building.