Just days after issuing an ultimatum to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
regarding the Labor Party’s continued membership in the government, Defense
Minister Ehud Barak traveled to the United States late Saturday night for talks
with senior administration officials aimed at promoting the Palestinian peace
process and cracking down on Iran.
In the meantime, an Arabic newspaper
in London, Al-Quds al-Arabi, reported Saturday that 12 American warships and at
least one Israeli corvette crossed through the Suez Canal on Friday. According
to the report, thousands of Egyptian soldiers were deployed along the canal to
protect the vessels. Both the purpose of the crossing and the significance of
Israel’s participation were unclear.
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According to the report, traffic in
the canal was halted for several hours to allow US Navy vessels to pass from the
Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea.
Barak will meet with US Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of
Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, as well as with senior lawmakers
Capitol Hill. He will also travel to New York for talks with United
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, which will mostly focus on the recent
incident as well as Israeli policy vis-a-vis the Gaza Strip.
comes at a tense time for Israel as it prepares to intercept two more
on their way to the Gaza Strip. Two Iranian ships are expected to try
the Israelimposed sea blockade on Gaza later this week, and the navy is
concerned that another flotilla from Lebanon will try to sail to
Both are considered particularly contentious due to their points of
origin, countries with which Israel is currently in a state of
Israel has warned that it will stop the ships, but is
particularly concerned about the Lebanon flotilla. Due to the short
between the countries, the navy has been put on high alert amid
that the Lebanese organizers will try to surprise Israel and send the