Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak has warned that unless a political settlement is reached between Israel and Syria, a full-fledged war might well erupt. Speaking at the annual conference of top Israeli Defence Force officers, Mr. Barak said, “As is usual in the Middle East, immediately after the war we will then sit down and negotiate exactly what we have been talking about for the past 15 years.”
On the issue of Iran’s nuclear programme, the minister said that all options are on the table for consideration; this would, of course, include military action. He can’t see how effective the sanctions that the US plans to impose on Iran might be.
During his speech, Mr. Barak called the UN’s Goldstone Report “biased and false”. He is, he added, against the setting up of an Israeli commission of inquiry to look into Goldstone’s conclusions.
In response to Mr. Barak’s statement, Syria’s Foreign Minister, Walid Moallem, called the Israelis “thugs” and warned them not to “test… the determination of Syria”. According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Mr. Moallem said, “Israel is indeed planting the seeds of war in the region… One day [they] threaten Gaza, next day… Lebanon, later Iran and now Syria.” The Foreign Minister called on Israel to “Come to your senses and choose the road of peace”.