Former Israeli defense minister: US decision to not move embassy was expected

Former Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that Israel has a unique and historic opportunity to start a normalization process with the Arab world thanks to the unprecedented conditions in the world that have brought the sides together.
Ehud Barak Photo Credit: Flash 90

Former Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak claimed that Israel has a historic opportunity to begin a diplomatic process with the help of the Arab countries. “The government is missing the opportunities,” Barak said during a cultural event in Tel Aviv on Saturday. “We hear murmuring about the historic opportunity that we are facing amid the terrorist attacks and what is happening in Iran and because the mutual interests that have been created between us and the moderate Muslim countries.”

“This opportunity exists and it’s a one-time [offer],” Barak stressed. “We have never tried to start a diplomatic process in these conditions. Even if it turns out that no agreement can be reached at the moment, Israel will have accomplished great achievements by entering this process along with the Arab world and the Americans. Netanyahu talks about it but we know that he is not doing anything in order to make it happen. How? Because it’s impossible to move along this regional project without Israel showing real good intentions toward the Palestinians.”

According to Barak, “Washington looks at the political map and sees a number of sensitive areas and among them, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict appears to be the least dangerous issue with the greatest chance of success: there’s no worry that a city of millions of residents will be destroyed like in North Korea or that they will need to send an aircraft carrier to rescue victims like in Syria. It looks to them like a dispute between neighbors about real estate. They don’t understand why it hasn’t been resolved.”

Barak also commented on U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to sign the waiver postponing the move of the embassy to Jerusalem, saying that it was expected. “It’s a disappointment that the embassy was not moved to Jerusalem just like with previous presidents but at the end of the day, we have our capital in Jerusalem and we expected foreign countries to establish their embassies there. It was possible to declare that there is a dispute over East Jerusalem and therefore move the embassy to West Jerusalem, which is generally accepted as Israel’s capital. But this was expected. If anyone thought otherwise, he had been misleading himself.”

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