(photo credit: Ariel Hermoni / Defense Ministry)
Defense Minister Ehud Barak discussed kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit in the Knesset on Monday, hinting that there may be a military option for releasing him.
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"We sent Gilad Schalit, and must do everything possible to bring him home," Barak said. "There are negotiations taking place, and there are other channels of action - and it would be wrong to elaborate about them."
Barak also complained about the Finance Ministry's efforts to cut the defense budget. "The budget guarantees our deterrence; it is necessary and decisive," he said.
The defense minister described his recent, five-day trip to Washington
D.C., saying there is "close, intimate cooperation with the US on
security issues." Barak met with Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of
State Hilary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and National
Security Adviser James Jones. He also testified on the Iranian threat
before the Senate Secret Service Committee.
He added that a diplomatic process would free Israel from the siege it
is under from around the world after the Gaza flotilla incident. "It
would open doors around the world, guarantee further security
cooperation, and will be supported by all but the extremes on both sides
in Israeli public opinion," he said.
Barak added that he does not think this is the appropriate time to
deliver any kind of ultimatum to Netanyahu about leaving the government
if Kadima is not added to the coalition, as per Labor MK Amir Peretz's