Barak lauds Hillary Clinton for her Mideast visit

Speaking Saturday night at an Israel Policy Forum (IPF) gala benefit dinner, Barak made a point of singling out and praising Clinton, who has been criticized for waiting for 24 hours before responding to a verbal attack on Israel made by Suha Arafat two weeks ago in Ramallah.

Barak said Clinton, who is expected to run for senator in New York, had "touched so many hearts in our country, and encouraged our peace efforts."

He repeated this message Sunday when speaking to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, prompting some of the crowd to wonder out loud if he was overstepping boundaries and interfering in internal New York politics.

Barak presented his plans for an upcoming permanent peace deal based on separation and cooperation between Israel and the Palestinians.

The prime minister told the hundreds gathered at the IPF dinner that Israel was "at an extremely critical point in time," detailed some of his ideas for the future, and asked for the support of the Jewish American community.

"I am proposing separation but not detachment," said Barak, speaking of the permanent peace with the Palestinians. "I am proposing good fences for good neighbors, and separate economies for separate peoples. We will give free trade agreements with the Palestinians and broad economic cooperation. The sharing of know-how and raw materials, and some Palestinians working in Israel."

Barak added that in the near future the Palestinians will control their own economy, value their own currency and determine their own markets.