We are living in a tough neighborhood. This is not the Midwest, it's the mideast," former prime minister Ehud Barak said Friday in an interview on CNN. Barak said that Hizbullah and Hamas gave the Israeli government no choice but to respond to Lebanese and Palestinian aggression. Barak added that it was impossible to "live normally" in the region if threats were ignored. The former prime minister said that it was "in the government's contract" to protect its citizens from neighboring sovereign [nations]. "No other sovereign nation would have acted any differently," he continued. Many Knesset members have blamed the violence in the North on Barak's decision to withdraw from southern Lebanon six years ago. Nevertheless Barak said that he had no regrets over the move. "I'm proud of it," he said. "It was right to get out of there. We are not going to go back in, but we have a strong enough airforce and special units to do the job if required."