Ex-Mossad Chief criticizes Netanyahu on Israeli peace
Story Code : 79760
sternly warning that attacking Iran would risk unleashing a region-wide war while encouraging Tehran to continue their nuclear program that the world’s neocon war hawks insist is aimed at developing weapons according to a transcript of the speech obtained by the Associated Press (link: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110602/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_israel_iran). Iran denies it is pursuing nuclear weapons.
Meir Dagan earned a reputation as a fearless operator against Israel's enemies while serving as the Chief of Israel's spy service for 30 years. Dagan verbally chastised Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for his aggression towards Iran, and for failing to make any progress with the Palestinians. Dagan expressed concern over how Israel's government deals with Iran and Palestine and described Netanyahu's policies as "irresponsible and reckless" while praising Arab attempts to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement during his speech (link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jun/03/israel-government-reckless-mossad-chief). Dagan suggested that Israel accept a peace initiative proposed by Saudi Arabia nine years ago offering peace with the Arab world in exchange for a full withdrawal from all territories captured by Israel in the 1967 war. Netanyahu has repeatedly rejected a withdrawal to Israel's 1967 border lines. Saudi Arabia's peace plan offered Israel normal relations with all Arab countries if it reaches a peace agreement with the Palestinians.
Six months ago Meir Dagan retired as head of Mossad. Since retiring he has been making public appearances and holding a series of briefings with journalists because he feels Israel's security is not being managed well by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Dagan claims he was one of three people who could prevent Netanyahu and Barak from making mistakes. Yuval Diskin, former head of Israel's internal security agency Sin Bet and Gabi Ashkenazi, former head of Israel's Army were the other two. All three have left their positions and been replaced by men chosen by Israel's current government. Dagan is still the head of Israel's port authority.
According to a Guardian report, Dagan decided to speak because when he was in office, he, Diskin and Ashkenazi could block any dangerous adventure and now he's afraid that there is no one to stop Netanyahu and Barak (link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jun/03/israel-government-reckless-mossad-chief). Upon resigning his post, Dagan publicly warned against Israel attacking Iran to stop it from acquiring nuclear weapons. Dagan says that attacking Iran will put Israel in the center of a regional war that would endanger Israel's existence. Netanyahu's decisions are driven by the same right-wing neocons that drive the U.S. As the head of Mossad, Dagan was in charge of aggressive Israeli actions abroad which have included assassinations in Lebanon, Syria -- including an air attack on a suspected nuclear reactor -- and Dubai. Dagan also noted that the absence of any workable plan will leave Israel in a dangerous and weak situation if the Palestinians push for United Nations recognition of a state later this year.
Israeli's Have the Right to Know What the Real Enemy is
To Israel, Iran is its most dangerous threat for several reasons. In addition to hyping what appears to be a non-existent nuclear weapons program since 2003, ballistic missile development and repeated claims of references by Iran's President to Israel's destruction and Iran's support for the Hamas and Hezbollah are all-too-often used as excuses for fear-mongering and threatening attacks. Netanyahu told the U.S. Congress that the more Iran believes that all options are on the table, the less chance there is of confrontation.
Netanyahu currently enjoys popular support from his Likud party, which is the most popular party in Israel, especially after his smack down of President Obama (link: http://www.counterpunch.org/levine05302011.html) and his speech to Congress (link: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article28214.htm) during his recent trip to Washington. While Netanyahu may appear to be an able performer in public, Dagan believes Netanyahu is less astute behind the scenes. A Netanyahu spokesman did not want to discuss Dagan's comments to the Guardian, but members of Israel's cabinet told Israeli media that Dagan was out of line on the Iranian issue, claiming that military options must be on the table (link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jun/03/israel-government-reckless-mossad-chief).
In laying out his vision for peace with the Palestinians, Dagan reportedly presented no new ideas for breaking the deadlock and instead repeated a series of red lines on borders and security demands he has set for any future deal (link: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110602/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_israel_iran). Dagan's criticisms are noteworthy because of his reputation as a hard-liner toward Israel's Arab and Muslim adversaries and because they imply that Israel's leaders are pushing the country toward war.
During his Tel Aviv speech, Dagan said he knew it was inappropriate for public officials to express their opinion, but will express it anyway as he is not prepared for it to be on his conscience that there will be a repeat of what happened in 1973. Dagan did not elaborate, but Israel suffered massive losses in the 1973 Mideast war after leaders ignored the warnings of intelligence chiefs and were caught off guard when Israel was invaded by Syrian and Egyptian armies. Dagan's speech permeated Israel's airwaves and the Israeli people are talking. While some commentators say Dagan was delivering an important wake-up call, many officials say he crossed the line. Israeli's have the right to know what the real enemy is (link: http://www.zeropartypolitics.com/2010/09/jewish-and-arab-anti-semitismwe-are.html).