Barak slams backing of Gaza op

Defense minister criticizes ministers "who've never seen war;" Ramon warns: No strategy for Hamas.

livni 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
livni 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
Whilst arguing over whether Israel should embark on a large-scale military operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip following the increase in rocket attacks and the end of the six-month cease-fire, Israeli politicians didn't hesitate to criticize each other on Monday. "I'm hearing repeated populist statements from those who have never experienced or seen a war, people who are now becoming promoters of 'different politics.' This babbling is costing us lives and may damage the effectiveness of a Gaza operation," Defense Minister and Labor chairman Ehud Barak said at a faction meeting on Monday morning, according to an Army Radio report. "When these promoters of 'different politics' dealt with war while serving in the government, they demonstrated light-headedness and abandonment even in regards to national considerations, at times due to personal motives. The public will eventually need to judge their actions," said Barak. The defense minister's statements could be interpreted as criticism of Foreign Minister and Kadima chairman Tzipi Livni, whose election campaign focuses on her being a "different leader." On Sunday, Livni said that if she becomes prime minister, the government would end Hamas's rule in the Gaza Strip. Also on Monday, Vice Premier Haim Ramon said, "Contrary to the statements being made, the government hasn't made any decisions regarding Israel's response to the Kassams." Ramon accused Barak of preventing a strategic meeting to discuss Israeli policy towards Hamas. "I've been asking to hold this meeting for two months, and unfortunately the prime minister and defense minister are avoiding the meeting," Ramon told Army Radio. "We need to make a decision about whether we are prepared to live with the Hamas rule over Gaza and whether we can accept a terror state on our southern border, as Barak suggests," he continued. Also on Monday, Kadima MK Yisrael Hasson suggested that the Palestinian areas in the Gaza Strip from which rockets were being fired at Israel should be evacuated. "We knew how to evacuate 27 settlements in the Gaza Strip with sensitivity and firmness, so there's no reason why we wouldn't be able to evacuate seven areas of Gaza with the same sensitivity and firmness, in order to stop the terror attacks on residents of the South," he said. "Internal migrations won't only take place in Israel," he added.