ehud barak 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The battle between former prime minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud
Barak continued to escalate on Sunday when Olmert accused Barak of undermining
military operations for political reasons.
The two men engaged in a war
of words over the weekend, when portions of Olmert’s autobiography were
published in which he accused Barak of begging to be put on Kadima’s Knesset
candidates list and then to replace Amir Peretz as defense minister even though
Barak officially was out of politics.
Barak responded by accusing Olmert
of being vengeful for having ended his premiership in 2008 over allegations of
“Over the past two days, stormy winds blew over what I wrote
in my memoirs,” Olmert said in a speech at north Tel Aviv’s Eretz Israel Museum,
which was sponsored by the Geneva Initiative. “When you write memoirs, you
contemplate about whether to write what really happened or cut corners in order
to not anger [others]. I decided to write things exactly as they were without
skewing them in one way or another.”
Olmert then began to attack Barak
even more fiercely than he did in his book.
“I couldn’t write about
Kadima without saying who wanted to be in Kadima, who begged to join Kadima, and
who later called it a party of refugees in part because he didn’t get to be one
of those refugees,” Olmert said. “I can’t write about security issues and not
say who initiated daring steps, who tried to prevent the government from
undertaking them by undermining [the efforts]. Every word is documented and
Channel 1 reported on Sunday night that Olmert was referring
the alleged Israeli attack in 2007 on a Syrian nuclear
Later on in his speech, Olmert mocked Barak again, saying
that “even the defense minister supported the security guarantees I requested
from the Palestinians.”
When an audience member questioned him, Olmert
said with a cynical tone, “I am sure the defense minister wants Israel to be
Yediot Aharonot, whose publishing house is putting out Olmert’s
book, printed portions on Friday in which Olmert called Barak “a disappointing
defense minister,” “an obsessive talker,” “insulting, blunt and rude,” and
“lacking decisionmaking capability.”
Olmert also accused Barak of making
recommendations on sensitive issues that were irresponsible and accused him of
falling asleep in meetings.
Barak, who is in New York, responded by
saying that he did not ask to join Kadima.
He said the party turned to
him but an agreement could not be reached.
The Defense Ministry released
a statement on Sunday night calling Olmert’s latest attacks on Barak
and unworthy of a response.”
Peretz said Olmert’s statements
substantiated what he said during his campaign against Barak for the
leadership – that Barak did not even vote for Labor and was therefore
of the party’s support.