'Building freeze less important than other issues at talks'

Barak meets with Gen. Jim Jones, brushes aside concerns over settlement expansion, expresses worry over recent Iranian and Syrian actions.

September 20, 2010 19:32
1 minute read.
Ehud Barak with US General Jim Jones

Ehud Barak Jim Jones 311. (photo credit: Ariel Harmoni)

Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Monday met with American National Security Adviser Gen. Jim Jones to discuss the ongoing peace talks with Palestinians and the possibility of Israel extending the building freeze in the West Bank.

"The decisions that lie before Israel and the Palestinians are important ones, far more dramatic than the continuation of construction in Judea and Samaria," Barak said at the meeting.

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Barak also discussed with Jones and other senior White House officials his concerns over the continuing transfer of weapons from Iran and Syria to Lebanese terror group Hizbullah and Russia's recently signed agreement to sell missiles to Syria.

The defense minister also specifically addressed Israeli concerns over Iran's continued drive to harness nuclear power for military purposes.

"Iran continues to deceive the world community and continues to move forward with its military nuclear program despite sanctions. There is no doubt that the sanctions are hurting Iran, but Iran continues to play for time," Barak said.  He continued, "I reiterate that for Israel, all options must remain on the table."

Barak, during a tour of the north earlier this month, spoke optimistically about eventual prospects for a breakthrough toward peace on that front.

“On the eve of Yom Kippur Israel is strong, self confident, ready and prepared for any possibility, alongside extending our hand in peace,” Barak said.

“We intend on overcoming the hurdles in the negotiations with the Palestinians, and – alongside our readiness for all developments – believe that the time will come when it will also be possible to make a breakthrough for peace with Syria and Lebanon.”

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