Barak heralds Gaza successes


HERZLIYA, Israel (JTA) — Hamas suffered a critical blow during the war in Gaza, while Israel regained its deterrent edge, Ehud Barak said.

Speaking Tuesday evening at the Herzliya Conference, the Israeli defense minister heralded the successes of Israel’s recent operation in the Gaza Strip but said Israel would return to fight in Gaza again if necessary.

"What was before is no longer," he declared. "There is no doubt about what the IDF is capable of doing."

Barak’s appearance came a week before Israel’s election, in which he is the Labor Party’s candidate for prime minister. Barak said the Gaza operation epitomized the challenges Israel faces and the leadership the country needs, citing threats from Hamas, Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

"We must act with determination but also with responsibility," he said. "It’s necessary to respond, and we are responding. There is hope, but only from a position of stength and self-confidence."

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