TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) -- Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak says Israel has a responsibility to try and ease tensions in the region and find a way to resume negotiations with the Palestinians.
His comments come in response to remarks U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta made Sunday He said that Israel is becoming increasingly isolated and must do more to work with its neighbors.
Standing next to Barak, Panetta said now is the time for bold action by both the Israelis and Palestinians to move toward a negotiated two-state solution. He says there's no alternative to negotiations.
Panetta met Monday with Barak in Tel Aviv on the first leg of a Middle East trip that also includes meetings with Palestinian leaders, and a stop in Egypt to meet with top officials there.