Barak: PA state bid creates 'difficult reality' for Israel

In meeting of his Independence faction, defense minister says Israel must focus efforts on convincing European nations to oppose Palestinian statehood bid; calls for renewal of good relations with Turkey.

Ehud Barak 311 (R) (photo credit: Reuters)
Ehud Barak 311 (R)
(photo credit: Reuters)
Palestinian determination to seek UN recognition of statehood this September creates a reality that is not simple for Israel, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Monday in a meeting of his Independence faction.
Barak said this possibility forces the government to "seriously consider" the situation and find a way to prevent the UN from recognizing  unilateral Palestinian statehood. He said that Israel's focus should be to convince mainly European countries, but also other important and powerful nations to oppose the Palestinian statehood bid.
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The defense minister also discussed with his faction the importance of restoring good diplomatic relations with Turkey. "We have the utmost interest to straighten things out with Turkey and put the past behind us," Barak said. "Turkey remains a most important nation in the Middle East," he added.
Speaking on the recent indictments issued by the Hariri Tribunal that reportedly blamed Hezbollah members for the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, Barak said "Lebanon is facing a harsh shock."
The defense minister suggested that further investigation may also implicate the Syrian government in involvement in Hariri's assassination.
"This issue shows us who we are dealing with and who the neighbors we live amongst are," Barak said.