Last month, Meir Dagan—the former head of Israel’s intelligence service, the Mossad—warned that an Israeli attack on Iran would be a catastrophic mistake. Now, Dagan says that Israel ought to adopt a peace plan first proposed in 2002 by Saudi Arabia for a two-state solution on the Israel-Palestine conflict. It’s the second sharp break that Dagan has made with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s hardline views. It’s caused a huge uproar and a political firestorm in Israel. Said Dagan:
“We must adopt the Saudi initiative. We have no other way, and not because [the Palestinians] are my top priority, but because I am concerned about Israel’s well being and I want to do what I can to ensure Israel’s existence. If we don’t make proposals and if we don’t take the initiative, we will eventually find ourselves in a corner.”
“Today’s leadership does not connect with responsibility. But leadership has a deep connection with responsibility. Recently the leadership has failed to put forth a vision, and I am not speaking only about the current government. It is important for leaders to set goals. Wisdom and good decisions have nothing to do with the fact that you were elected.”
Dagan also suggested that the recent accord between Fatah and Hamas is not a big threat, and he suggested taking a wait-and-see attitude, unlike Netanyahu, who considers the reconciliation as a mortal threat.
“We will have to wait and watch things develop [between Fatah and Hamas]. I don’t think this is an historic alliance. Hamas has still not allowed Abu Mazen [the Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas] to come to Gaza.”
Last month, Dagan said that attacking Iran was a “stupid idea.” Last week, he said that it “would mean regional war, and in that case you would have given Iran the best possible reason to continue the nuclear program. The regional challenge that Israel would face would be impossible.”
Referring to Gabi Ashkenazi, the former military chief of staff, and Yuval Diskin, the ex-director of Shin Bet, Dagan added provocatively: “I decided to speak out because when I was in office, Diskin, Ashkenazi and I could block any dangerous adventure. Now I am afraid that there is no one to stop Bibi and Barak.” Bibi, of course, is Netanyahu, and Barak is Ehud Barak, Israel’s defense minister. Stunningly, Dagan called them “reckless and irresponsible individuals.”