“What is certain that we cannot allow to continue is this (free fall), this slippery slope that leads almost inevitably to Israel’s isolation,” Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Israel Radio, adding he thought the country had to make a “bold move.”
The Israeli official speaking on Monday said Netanyahu’s plan though not yet finalized would not supplant the goal of achieving a negotiated settlement, but stake out a more gradual approach to get there.
He saw turmoil engulfing much of the Arab world as a catalyst behind Netanyahu’s plan. The Israeli leader felt Palestinian leaders who may feel threatened by the wave of unrest may grow less flexible toward Israel, raising the spectre of new violence if diplomatic stalemate persisted.
“There’s a growing understanding that Israel needs to take the initiative and break out of the current impasse and move the peace process forward,” the Israeli official said.
“The consistent refusal of the Palestinians to even come to the table has made a negotiated agreement all but impossible.”