Olmert: Barak undermined security ops

The Defense Ministry releases a statement calling Olmert’s latest attacks on Barak “pathetic and unworthy of a response.”

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
September 20, 2010 03:08
2 minute read.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

ehud barak 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
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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.

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Barak responded by accusing Olmert of being vengeful for having ended his premiership in 2008 over allegations of corruption.

“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 authorized.”

Channel 1 reported on Sunday night that Olmert was referring the alleged Israeli attack in 2007 on a Syrian nuclear installation.

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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 secure.”

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 “pathetic and unworthy of a response.”

Peretz said Olmert’s statements substantiated what he said during his campaign against Barak for the Labor leadership – that Barak did not even vote for Labor and was therefore unworthy of the party’s support.

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