Source: The Jerusalem Post
By Yaakov Lappin
Israel will not outsource its vital security interests to anyone, “not even to our closest and most trusted allies,” Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in London on Wednesday.
Speaking at the British Israel Communications and Research Center, Barak addressed Iran’s uranium enrichment program: “All options are on the table to prevent Iran from crossing the point of no return. We expect all those who say it to mean it; we mean it.”
The defense minister signaled that Jerusalem would not rely on US assurances to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state.
“The State of Israel was founded precisely so that our fate would remain in our own hands. When it comes to the very future of Israel, and its vital security interests, we cannot… and will not outsource the responsibility for making the decision. Not even to our closest and most trusted allies,” he said.
“We live in a tough neighborhood, one in which there is no mercy for the weak and no second chance for those who cannot defend themselves – ‘a villa in the jungle,’ as I once put it. In such a place, it is imperative to remain strong, open-eyed, with both feet on the ground,” Barak said.
“We always say that a pessimist in the Middle East is merely an optimist with experience,” he added.
Turning his sights to Syria, Barak noted that over 30,000 Syrians have been killed in that country’s civil war, adding that “Iran and Hezbollah are the only allies Assad has left. They will suffer a major blow with his inevitable downfall. We can only hope that it won’t end up in total chaos, and another hotbed of terror on our borders.”
Israel will take military action should it identify an attempt to transfer Syrian chemical weapons to terrorists, the defense minister warned.
“Taking into account the warm ties between Hezbollah and Syria, I have instructed the IDF to closely monitor the possible transfer of advanced weapons systems and Assad’s chemical arsenal into Lebanon. We will take any necessary action to prevent this,” he said during the speech.
Barak also touched on changes in Egypt, noting that the country has “entered a new era. The Muslim Brotherhood regime provides a tailwind for Hamas in Gaza and extremists in Jordan.”
At the same time, Barak said, “The peace treaty with Egypt remains a strategic asset for both countries and we expect the new government to respect it, as well as all their other international obligations, for the sake of peace and stability for the entire region.”