In recent weeks the Foreign Ministry, Military Intelligence, the Shin Bet security service and the Mossad have distributed a number of documents stating that a return to negotiations would tone down tensions and anger against Israel.
The documents, issued ahead of the expected UN vote on a Palestinian state, also state that while changes in the Arab world could be a threat to Israel, they also represent opportunities for Israel to improve its diplomatic standing.
“All the documents recommend progress vis-a-vis the Palestinians,” a source close to Defense Minister Ehud Barak said.
In recent meetings of the eight senior cabinet ministers, Barak told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the other ministers that the focus should be on Israel’s interests and not on symbolic issues like national honor. If Israel does not try to seriously move the peace process ahead, it will be seen as obstructionist by its friends in the West, Barak told the ministers.
“By sharpening tensions with the Palestinians, we are inviting isolation on Israel,” Barak also told the octet.
Barak believes the security cabinet should not to be dealing with tactical matters such as an apology to Turkey or evacuating the embassy in Cairo, but with strategic issues involving Israel’s standing in the region. “The signs are there; afterward we’ll have to ask ourselves what we could have done differently,” Barak said in closed conversations.