If it were up to Barak, Netanyahu would present President Barack Obama with “a bold plan.” Barak believes that the declaration of a Palestinian state at the UN, without it being preceded by an Israeli diplomatic initiative, will drag Israel into the place South Africa occupied in its apartheid years.
“There are some pretty powerful elements in the world that are active in the matter – within countries, including friendly countries, in various organizations of workers, academics, consumers, green parties,” he says. “And this drive boils down to a large movement called BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions], which is what they did with South Africa. It won’t happen at once. It will begin, like an iceberg, to advance on us from all corners.
“In the Council of Europe, there are institutions that deal with import and export, and they can, without any government decision, cause no small damage to the Israeli economy. We will see this thing happening in academia, we will see it happening in dockworkers’ organizations, in consumer organizations, and it will seep into governments. It’s not wise. It’s an uncontrollable process that seems to me more dangerous than the public realizes at the moment.
“We need to close the door behind us with Obama and tell him: ‘We talk only to you. Here are our positions on the matter of the six core issues.’ The chances for a permanent agreement aren’t great under current international conditions. The other option is an interim agreement in which the Palestinians know what the permanent agreement looks like. This, too, should be a bold proposal.
“Obama has to tell the Palestinians four or five things: that they will have an area similar to what they had in ’67, that the security arrangements will be such as to not disrupt life in their state, that the issue of the refugees will be largely resolved by the Palestinians internally, that they will receive sovereignty over the Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem and that in other places in the city there will be special arrangements. It is vital to reach an agreement in coordination with the United States, not against it, and to the best of my knowledge, this is possible. In the end [Israel] also needs money to finance the multi-layered missile interception system that will cover the entire country; it’s all related.”
“We shouldn’t be in a panic over anything.”
Do you think that if Iran gets a bomb they won’t drop it?
“Not on us and not on another neighbor.
What about Pakistan? Some political meltdown happens there and four bombs wind up in Iran. So what? So you head for the airport? You close down the country? Just because they got a shortcut? No. We are still the most powerful in the Middle East.”