Barak: Iran and Outposts Not Connected

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak (Labor) told the High Court that no connection exists between the Iranian nuclear arms program and dismantling Jewish "outposts" in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).

"[Israel must] explain to the Americans that there is no direct connection between the outposts and Iran," Barak told the justices.

Barak also said he would not order the demolition of nine new homes built within the city limits of Ofra in the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council in southern Samaria.

The defense minister was responding to a petition submitted by B'tselem and Yesh Din, two left-wing organizations, alleging that the homes were built on Palestinian land.

Speaking with reporters after the High Court hearing, Barak said the government would dismantle outposts in Judea and Samaria not built under the auspices of Israeli law, but that would not affect the Iranian nuclear arms race.

"It's not as though the Iranians will abandon their nuclear aspirations the minute the last outpost is taken down," Barak told reporters following the hearing.

The defense minister said Israel is not the only country that would be affected should Iran develop nuclear weapons capabilities.

"The nations of the free world, moderate countries in the region and Israel see eye to eye on these threats," the defense minister said.

"We are not in a position to tell the Americans whether to hold a dialogue with Iran or not," he said, adding that Israel "can only express our opinion that all talks should have a time limit."

Barak also said that in the meantime, "wide-ranging [economic] sanctions" should be prepared that also addressed import and export with Iran.

Source: YNet news

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