July 30th, 2012

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak: Bulgaria attack on Israelis will be avenged

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak sat down with CNN lead political anchor Wolf Blitzer in Israel today to discuss Iran, US-Israeli relations and more. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barack also told Blitzer that Israel will seek retribution for the attack on Israelis in Bulgaria.  This interview will air today in the 5 p.m. ET hour of CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer. A full transcript of the program will be posted on http://archives.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/sitroom.html and highlights are after the jump.

Please credit all usage of the information to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer

Highlights from the Full Interview
THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED

BLITZER:  What evidence can you share with us that you believe Iran and Hezbollah were directly responsible for the murder of those Israeli tourists in Bulgaria?

BARAK:  We are confident, without any doubt, about the — the responsibility of Hezbollah to the actual execution of this operation, the operation, planning and execution.  And we know that Hezbollah is acting under Iranian inspiration.  And we know from previous — previous cases just read the Indian press today.  The — it became clear that behind the attack on our diplomats in New Delhi, there were Iranians — active players on the ground.

The same applied to — to the terror event in Thailand and to the other one in Georgia.  All occurred within several weeks.

BLITZER:  But — but you have direct hard evidence…

BARAK:  Yes.

BLITZER:  — about Bulgaria?

BARAK:  Yes.  We have direct hard evidence.  I’m confident we share this with your intelligence, with the Brits and with a few others.  So I have no doubt and it, of course, for obvious reasons, we cannot share the — the exact evidence.

BLITZER:  So what are you going to do about that?

Are you going to…

BARAK:  Well…

BLITZER:  — are you going to retaliate?

BARAK:  We will find a way to effect the count with those who executed all those and sent those.

BLITZER:  Because I speak to someone — and your history is well known — somebody who has settled accounts in the past.

BARAK:  Yes.  We did it…

BLITZER:  But you personally.

BARAK:  — 48 years ago.  Yes.  We — we settled accounts with the murderers of Munich.  We are now (INAUDIBLE) in the 40th anniversary of this (INAUDIBLE) was, at the time, the — the prime minister, CIA, Mossad and — and the IDF to find a way to settle the accounts with every individual that was part of it.  And we did it with most.

BLITZER:  What can you tell our viewers, because we’re watching the Olympic Games in London right now?

We’re talking about 40 years ago in Munich.  Israeli athletes were killed.  And Golda Meir was the prime minister.  You were then in the military.

BARAK:  Yes.

BLITZER:  And what did she say to you?

BARAK:  The — the — she told us, you have to sit down together with Mossad and find a way.  Here is the list of the people.  And just start to — to plan operations.

We planned a lot.  The Mossad executed most of them.  I led, personally, disguised as a young woman, a raid into the — into the root to the apartments of Presrio (ph), the leading terrorists.  And we killed them in their homes.

And where it was part of a world campaign that basically we — we are proud of our capacity as a nation not to being flouted by terrorists.

I think that the British, then and now, are extremely good in — in security.  I don’t believe that anyone will dare to — to reattempt such an event in — in London.

BLITZER:  So basically, when you say settle accounts, the way Israel settled accounts for the murder of the Israeli athletes in Munich, you could see settling accounts for the murder of these Israeli tourists in Bulgaria?

BARAK:  (INAUDIBLE) unfortunately, you had too many accounts to settle with the different terrorists.  And we did it in different ways each time.

But we have a long memory.  The (INAUDIBLE) you should have a long memory in all of (INAUDIBLE).  And we are able to settle accounts with those who killed indiscriminately your people.

BLITZER:  You’ve studied U.S.-Israeli relations over many years.

How would you describe the relationship today?

BARAK:  I think that from — from my point of view, of defense minister, they are extremely good, extremely deep and profound.  I can see long years administrations on both sides of the political aisle deeply supporting the state of Israel.  I believe that that reflects a profound feeling among the American people.

But I should tell you, honestly, that this administration, under President Obama, is doing, in regard to our security, more than anything that I can remember in the past.

BLITZER:  More than any other president?

LBJ?

BARAK:  Yes.

BLITZER:  Or…

BARAK:  Yes.

BLITZER:  — Bill Clinton…

BARAK:  Yes.

BLITZER:  — or George W. Bush?

BARAK:  Yes.

BLITZER:  (INAUDIBLE).

BARAK:  In terms of the support for our security, the cooperation of our intelligence, the sharing of thoughts in a very open way, even when they are differences, which are not (INAUDIBLE) sometimes, I’ve found their support for our defense very stable.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER:  — the most supported ever, in your opinion?

BARAK:  Yes, for the — the kind of two generations, I can bring to — to memory, from Carter on.  I cannot say exactly about LBJ, because I didn’t watch it from close these times.  But from Carter on, the — the defense relationship between Israel and the United States are extremely stable and — and good.

It doesn’t mean that we agree on anything.  It is very well known that we have differences between our government and the American administration about — (INAUDIBLE) about other issues that I believe in in regard to world terror and in regard to Hezbollah, in regard to all — what happens in Syria, in regard to Iran.  We basically — basically agree on the diagnosis.

We — we don’t agree on the prognosis on — on some of these.

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