Ehud Barak: “The countdown to the end of Netanyahu’s tenure has begun”


I-24 NEWS – An Israeli lawmaker on Thursday demanded that the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee hold an urgent meeting to discuss former prime minister Ehud Barak’s critical rhetoric against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Member of Knesset Omer Bar-Lev (Zionist Union) made the demand for the meeting after Barak on Wednesday accused Netanyahu of being a “weak and paranoid leader” of a government that harms the security of the state.

Barak had said that the current Israeli leader caused serious harm to Israel’s security in his handling of negotiations with the United States regarding American military aid to Israel.

Bar-Lev said that Barak should attend the urgent meeting because “a discussion on strategic threats should take place around the classified discussion tables of the Knesset.”

In his scathing attack, Barak accused Netanyahu of making decisions based on his own personal considerations, rather than the good of the country.

Speaking at a conference of the Darkenu movement in Rishon Letzion, Barak noted Netanyahu’s troubled relationship with US President Barack Obama and said that “there’s also a heavy price in another incident in which, again, [there was a] worrying mix of inability to judge deep security interests and the priorities they dictate alongside a lack of internalization of the potential of cooperation with the United States, as well as careless operational behavior.”

“All these led to a most worrisome exposure of Israel to a central security challenge. Due to the sensitivity of the matter I won’t be able to clarify further,” he said.

Barak claimed that due to Netanyahu’s poor relationship with Obama, Israel would receive $3.8 billion in military aid from the United States instead of 4.5 billion.

“The countdown to the end of Netanyahu’s tenure has begun, and I think he understands that,” Barak told the crowd.

“It appears as though the Israeli government does not know what it wants and will bring about the state’s international ostracism,” Barak said. “Netanyahu is perceived as weak, with fears and anxieties, and as a person who misses every opportunity to strengthen the security of Israel and its integration in the region.”

Israel and the United States have for months been involved in ongoing negotiations on a new multi-billion-dollar military aid package.

While tensions between Washington and Jerusalem have prolonged the negotiations, the fact that Obama will leave office in January has apparently provided an impetus to speed up the process of signing an agreement enshrining US military aid over the next decade.

While Netanyahu previously implied that he might prefer to wait for a new president before signing the new memorandum of understanding (MOU), officials now reportedly believe that it would be better to conclude it now rather than waiting for better terms.

The US has reportedly insisted on an offer of $3.5 billion to $3.7 billion per year, lower than the $4 billion a year Netanyahu requested, but still a significant increase over the previous package.

Israel has previously fought a demand to end a special arrangement allowing Israel to spend a little over a quarter of US military aid on Israeli-made weaponry, but has reportedly now agreed to eventually comply.

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