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Israeli defense chief offers warnings on Iran and Lebanon

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Janine Zacharia
Washington Post
July 28, 2010
TEL AVIV — Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak is due to arrive in Washington on Monday bearing two warnings for American policymakers: Sanctions won’t thwart Iran’s push for nuclear weapons, and Israel will strike directly at Lebanese government institutions if Hezbollah launches rockets at Israeli towns.

In a wide-ranging interview, Barak — who has become one of Israel’s most frequent official guests in Washington — outlined his vision for arresting Iran’s nuclear drive, coping with the Hezbollah threat and forging a deal with the Palestinians.

A decade ago, Barak’s failed attempt to reach an agreement with then-Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat led to an outbreak of violence that shattered hopes for Middle East peace. Today, at 68, the Labor Party leader finds himself an outlier in a predominantly right-wing coalition that generally opposes concessions to the Palestinians.

But Barak is also, oddly, perhaps the closest confidant of his former political rival, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, making what he says on matters of peace and war particularly relevant for the Obama administration. While in Washington, Barak is due to meet with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and various intelligence officials.

This article was posted: Wednesday, July 28, 2010 at 5:03 am

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