Defense Minister Ehud Barak addressed the Union for Reform Judaism’s Biennial convention last night and lauded the closeness of the U.S.-Israel relationship under President Barack Obama. Barak said:
"The unshakable bonds between Israel and America and their respective defense establishments under the guiding hand of President Barack Obama are stronger and deeper than ever and we are very thankful and appreciative of that."
Speaking about the creation of a Palestinian state, Barak said:
"Israel would not agree to the creation of a Palestinian State, if the raison d'être of that Palestinian State is to continue the conflict, and to deny our basic national rights."
"I believe that an agreement – based on [Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s] Bar Ilan and Knesset speeches, President Obama’s two speeches from May of this year and the Clinton parameters - can still be achieved – and thus, saving us the alternatives which are much much worse, Israel would not accept unilateralism."
"Israel's own final borders which require major painful concessions will include the large settlement blocs creating a solid Jewish majority within that line and an independent, democratic, viable Palestinian state on the other."
Barak also briefly addressed the Iranian issue:
"As President Obama and other world leaders repeatedly state - ‘Iran must be prevented from gaining nuclear weapons.’ Your President understood and insisted on this issue from day one. America, Israel and world leaders have to stand determined and united in order to face this threat, and not to remove any option off the table."