Barak: I'm not leaving the coalition

Defense minister says Labor can't force him out over peace deal.

311_Barak in Knesset (photo credit: Courtesy)
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 about leaving."
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 politicians."