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Tuesday July 27, 2010 9:19 AM (EST+7)
INTERVIEW: Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak on threats to Israel

Read more: Israeli military. Ehud Barak, Saudi Arabia, Iran, arms sales, Lebanon, Hezbollah, negotiations, peace process

RAMALLAH, July 27 (JMCC) - Israel's defense minister Ehud Barak is interviewed by the Washington Post on the eve of a visit to the United States.

In the interview, he addresses the issue of arms sales to Saudi Arabia:

WP: On the Saudi deal, are you telling the United States not to sell it or would Israel would be satisfied with the Saudis getting a dumbed-down version?

Barak: I don't feel easy to kind of talk about it explicitly. I don't think that Israel is in a position to tell the United States not to sell it to other allies' weapons systems because if we don't sell probably others will. But we would appreciate it if we could be compensated and the qualitative edge will be assured as well as certain aspects of the quantity. Beyond certain point, quantity turns into quality especially when the planes themselves are extremely sophisticated one.[...]

Barak describes his vision of Israel's missile defenses:

Barak: My vision from day one in this office is to make this multi-layer interception system against all types of rockets and missiles a major pillar of our security especially when the time comes to establish or to stabilize the whole area and we are talking not just about Iron Dome which is the short-range system that can protect a city, or a small city, probably for a city like Tel Aviv you need several batteries, but that's only the lower layer against small caliber and short range rockets. Then comes the David Sling, which is against medium-sized rockets and missiles of which tens of thousands are at the disposal of our neighbors combined. And this one also could operate against cruise missiles and other weapons systems and even against warplanes. That's the second layer. And then there's the third layer which is the Arrow, which is already fully developed but we have too little numbers of interceptors. And then we are now developing, together with the United States, the Super Arrow, a kind of a space-age kind of interceptor that protects us against incoming missiles from places like deep into Syria or from Iran. [...]

And, Barak threatens the Lebanese government:

WP: You have said Israel will hold the government of Lebanon responsible for any Hezbollah provocation. What does that mean?

Barak: It means that unlike what happened in 2006 where under request from the administration, [Secretary of State] Condoleezza [Rice] called at the time [Prime Minister] Olmert and asked him not to touch the precious government of Siniora, and we didn't. I think that they're responsible for what happens and if it happens that Hezbollah will shoot into Tel Aviv, we will not run after each Hezbollah terrorist or launcher of some rocket in all Lebanon. We'll see the government of Lebanon responsible for what happens, and for what happens within its government, its body politic, and its arsenal of munitions.

Read the interview at the Washington Post...







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