311_Barak in Knesset.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Defense Minister Ehud Barak insisted that he will not leave the
coalition, despite pressure from other ministers in the Labor party, in
an interview with Israel Radio on Wednesday.
"I'll do whatever it
takes for the good of the country, without threatening anyone," Barak
said. "No one has ever forced me into anything, and no one will force me
to do anything now."
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"It's natural that ministers don't want to
be seen as trying to hold on to their seats. They're only expressing
their opinion," he explained to Israel Radio.
Barak also said
that Israel is at a "critical point," adding that "we must completely
change our relationship with the United States, and the prime minister
has started doing so in his important last meeting in Washington. Israel
has to be truly ready to discuss all of the important matters in an
agreement with the Palestinians, and maybe the Syrians."
Despite saying that he does not plan to leave the government, Barak
emphasized that he may do so in the future, if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's government
can not reach an agreement with the Palestinians.
"If this government can do that, that's good, but if we can't make
progress with this government, we should consider widening the
coalition," Barak said, hinting at the possibility of adding Kadima. "If
we can't widen the coalition, then the Labor Party will have to think
Barak added that his party is not afraid to leave the coalition if
necessary: "I don't need to be pushed by any minister to go. I went
further than any other living person in Israel to try to reach an
agreement. I was willing to take the risks and pay the price. I'm not
blinking and I won't flinch, and I'm making efforts now so that this
government will move. I don't need to be persuaded by authors or former