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Defense Minister Ehud Barak told the Labor faction on Friday that his position on the Palestinians had not changed, countering a report that he had declared that peace with the Palestinians was impossible.
"We are interested in peace...but we are realistic," Army Radio quoted Barak as saying.
Barak was quoted in Yediot Aharonot as calling recent peace moves with the Palestinians "fantasies" and saying Israel would not withdraw from the West Bank for another five years at least.
However, Barak's media adviser, Ronen Moshe, denied that the Labor chairman had made the statements.
"The defense minister remains committed to the diplomatic process, although his first commitment is to the security of Israel's citizens," Moshe said.
Following the report on Friday morning, Israel Beiteinu MK David Rotem praised Barak for "adopting Israel Beiteinu's approaches and principles."
"Barak accepts today that there will be no dismantling of checkpoints, that there's no one to talk to, that Hamas are murderers," Rotem told Army Radio. "I suggest that they all begin to adopt our [stances]. We'll bring about a safe, peaceful and whole state."
Hadash MK Dov Kheinin, however, declared that the new Barak only knew how to promise blood and tears - promises he would keep. Kheinin added that Barak was Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu's political double.
In the report, the comments were attributed to Barak in "private conversations."
AP contributed to this report.
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