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December 29, 2008

Barak Quotes Barack

Last July, Barack Obama made an important point about the right and obligation of Israel to defend itself in the face of attacks from Gaza by Hamas.

Today, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak quoted Obama in his remarks to the Knesset regarding Israel's action against the Terrorstinians.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said upon completing his daily briefing that the Israel Defense Forces will use every resource to bring about an end to Palestinian rocket fire.

Speaking at the end of the third day of deadly aerial assaults on the Gaza Strip, Barak said "if the criminal rocket fire aimed at Israeli civilians does not stop immediately, Israel will use all its resources and all the legal tools it possesses to force the enemy to stop this aggressive, illegal behavior," Barak declared.

* * *

Barak also cited a comment made by U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, who visited Sderot during his election campaign earlier this year.

"Obama said that if rockets were being fired at his home while his two daughters were sleeping, he would do everything he could to prevent it," Barack told the plenum.

Let's consider precisely what Obama said during his World Tour on Unicorn One last summer.

obama-unicorn[1].jpg

In reference to the rocket attacks, Obama said that "I think that no country would accept missiles landing on the heads of its citizens."

Obama emphasized Israel's security, saying, "I came to Sderot with a commitment to Israel's security. Israel has the right to defend itself, and peace should not undermine its security."

He expressed his admiration for the citizens of Sderot who remained in place even though their homes had come under fire. "Israelis must not suffer a threat to their lives, to their schools," he said, adding that "if missiles were falling where my two daughters sleep, I would do everything in order to stop that."

Now this raises an interesting point three weeks before the inauguration -- once again there is the possibility that Obama's campaign rhetoric may come back to haunt him as president. Obama recognized the legitimacy of Israel defending itself from rocket attacks directed against its civilian population -- which is precisely the course of action that Israel is engaged in today. To follow a different policy after his inauguration would be worse than a betrayal of (another) campaign promise, it would be a sign that Obama expects Israel to accept and endure things that he has publicly stated no nation should accept, ant that he would not accept if directed at his own children. As such, Ehud Barak may have backed the president-elect into a policy corner.





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