In another of a series of leaked tapes from a biography-in-progress of former defense minister Ehud Barak, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is depicted as slow to authorize the swap for kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit and did so only at Barak’s prodding.
“As much as he opposed [the prisoner-exchange deal for the release of] Gilad Shalit, I sat on him for months” to release him, Barak was heard saying in interviews conducted and taped by the authors of an upcoming book.
“In the end, [Netanyahu] was convinced that he needed to [do this deal to] free Shalit, but was not convinced to do the necessary follow up, and so found himself later with three kidnapped youths,” Barak said, referring to last year’s kidnapping and murder of Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaer and Eyal Yifrach, Hy”d.
The follow-up Barak had in mind was implementation of the recommendations of the Shamgar Commission for setting a clear policy for prisoner releases in the future.
The Prime Minister’s Office responded to the claims sarcastically, saying it would not be surprised if “it did not soon become clear that former minister Barak discovered the wheel and was the first to land on the moon.”
Netanyahu, the statement continued, leads his governments “responsibly, with determination, and with a view of what is good for the welfare and security of all the country’s citizens.”
The Likud party issued a statement berating Barak. According to the Likud, it was the prime minister who decided on the swap and brought it to the government for approval.