In an Independence Day interview with Globes, Israeli Minister of Defense Ehud Barak said that Egypt’s decision to cancel the gas supply agreement with Israel must bring about the speeding up of the gas supply from Tamar, and he dismissed the cancellation as a commercial dispute.
Barak also took issue with Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman’s assertion that Egypt is a greater threat to Israel than Iran. He said, “The Iranian threat is a threat with existential potential. At the moment this is not the case and we must work in every way to halt the nuclear weapon process by the Iranian military. It is clear that we would rather see the entire world coping with this and we say that all options are on the table, and we mean that.”
He added, “Israel is satisfied that the sanctions will stop Iran and this year will be decisive. We must remember that in any case as we celebrate the country’s 64th anniversary that Israel is the strongest country between Tripoli in Libya and Tehran and it will continue to be so for the foreseeable future.”
“Regarding Egypt we have influence there. We are not a commentator sitting in the stadium, we are a player on the pitch and whatever we say or do not say has importance. We must find a way both in words and deeds, so that matters in Egypt will move in the direction of responsibility. We have an interest in creating a chance that that will be their policy in practice, despite all the problems that we see, and there are problems, touch wood, in Sinai. But this is not a good topic for public discourse.”
It has been suggested by senior cabinet members that talk of attacking Iran by you and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is merely for political reasons?
“Perhaps you are referring to the same senior cabinet member who spoke several years ago about scorpions at Ministry of Defense headquarters, but let’s not name names. We operate responsibly. There are all sorts of people in politics who at the end of the day don’t have the final say, and they can amuse themselves with words like that. The prime minister and I have no choice but to look each other in the eye and take responsibility.”
Are you and Netanyahu friends?
“We work in exceptional harmony. This stems from our roles, and from the fact that we feel the responsibility. We have known each other for many years and we have a history. We were political rivals but we are of an age and in a place faced by challenges, where we are obligated to put almost everything aside, and work with great responsibility.”