Ehud Barak (Hebrew: אֵהוּד בָּרָק) (born Ehud Brog on February 12, 1942, in Mishmar HaSharon kibbutz, then British Mandate of Palestine) is an Israeli politician and was the 10th Prime Minister of Israel from 1999 to 2001.
- .אם הייתי פלסטיני בגיל המתאים, הייתי נכנס בשלב מסוים לאחד מארגוני הטרור
- Translation: If I were a Palestinian at the right age, I would have joined one of the terrorist organizations at a certain stage.
- Interview by Gideon Levi, March 1998
- There is another story, that we tried to impose upon him [Arafat] cantons, Bantustans. Total lie. We talked about 80%+ of the West Bank and 100% of the Gaza Strip. How can it become non-contiguous? And if you have some reservation against this or that curl of the border, at some corner, come to the table, negotiate it, and demand that this will be removed. I can go with you more and more, and I cannot afford spending more time on it, but basically, all these were stories that were invented in order to explain to his own people, and maybe to try to convince honest people in the free world how come that such an opportunity had been missed. Of course, I had my own demands, to protect Israel, to ensure our security, to make sure that we know where do we head. I said loud and clear: we have to put an end to this asymmetric process where we are supposed to give tangible assets, and the Palestinians have just to give vague promises about the nature of future relationship. I said I'm ready to go very far, but I want to know, now, that there is a partner, which is ready and capable to make tough decisions, and painful decisions. I was a great supporter of the peace of the brave, but never a supporter of peace of ostriches, where you put your head in the sand, let whatever happen, happen, and then wake up and say, OK, that's what happened. We cannot afford this approach. That's the reality.
- Speech at UC Berkeley, November 22, 2002
- [How is it consistent with what you advocated this evening in terms of a vision for peace, that you continued to allow the building of settlements in the West Bank, during your primeministership?] Let me tell you, first of all, during my term as a Prime Minister, we have not built a single new settlement. I ordered the dismantling of many voluntary -- I don't know how to call it -- new settlements that had been set on top of hills in different parts of the West Bank, basically. But, I allowed contracts, contracts that had been signed, legally, in Israel, beforehand. To build new neighborhoods in some big cities in the West Bank, cities with 25,000 or 30,000 people. And very few new homes, in small settlements, where youngsters, who came back from the army service, asked to build their home near the home of their parents. Now, Israel is a law-abiding state, you cannot break contracts, there is Supreme Court. If the government behaves in a way that is not proper, any individual can appeal and change whatever we decide. Realizing that this is a sensitive issue from the Palestinian side, I talked to Arafat, at the beginning of my term as a Prime Minister, and I told him: Mr. Chairman, I know that you are worried about it, it creates some problems, in your own constituency. But let me tell you, we have a great opportunity here to put an end to the whole conflict, in a year and a half. When President Clinton that invested unbelievable amount of energy and political capital in trying to solve it, and he's still in power. Now, I understand your problem with settlement if there is no end, there is no time limit, and you are afraid that maybe the accumulation of new settlements will change the nature of the situation, for the worse, from your position. So I tell you, out of our own considerations, independent of you, we have decided not to set even a single new settlement. We will not allow anyone to establish his own private initiatives on the hills, for our own reasons, not because of you. But at the same time I will respect any contract that has been signed, under law, in Israel. But -- and here is a point -- bearing in mind that we can put an end to the conflict, to reach an agreement within a year and a half, why the hell it will matter? To build a new building in Israel takes more than a year and a half, so you won't see any building that is not already emerging from the ground, having it's roof before we can reach an agreement. Now if such a building happens to be in a settlement that will become, under the agreement, part of the new independent Palestine, why the hell you have to care? Take it, use it, put some refugees in it. And if it will happen to be a part of what will be agreed, as Israel, in a mutual agreement that is signed by you, why the hell do you care, if you agree? I believe that that simple answer would not solve his public -- or internal political -- problems, but it would solve the real issue if the will was there to make peace, and not just to politically maneuver and manipulate.
- Speech at UC Berkeley, November 22, 2002
- ["DONALDSON: But on Friday, you were very pessimistic. You said, "No good," when someone asked you how things were going."] No, I'm saying even now, if I have to summarize the situation - in one word it's good, in two words, not good.
- Interview with Prime Minister Ehud Barak on ABC News, September 10, 2000
- The Palestinians are like crocodiles, the more you give them meat, they want more.
- in the Jerusalem Post, Aug. 30, 2000.
Quotes about Barak
- His knowledge of war has fed a passion for peace."