Former Mossad Chief Meir Dagan on Wednesday said that a strike on Iran should only be considered as the last resort and after all other means and methods have been exhausted.
Speaking at a conference at the Tel Aviv University, Dagan said: "A military attack will give the Iranians the best excuse to pursue the nuclear race. Khamenei will say 'I was attacked by a country with nuclear capabilities; my nuclear program was peaceful, but I must protect my country. "
The former secret service chief warned that if a regional war breaks after Israel attacks Iran, Hezbollah will join forces with the Islamic Republic, and Syria might also be dragged into the confrontation.
Dagan also addressed reports of trade ties between the Ofer Brothers and the Islamic Republic. "There is no law prohibiting a ship from docking in Iran,"
"I am not the defender of the Ofer family, nor am I their representative – I simply care about the State of Israel; I care for the thousands of employees working for the Ofer family, whose livelihood might be jeopardized. "
Dagan also referred to the legal aspect of the affair, saying "they didn’t trade with Iran – they are a shipping company; besides, there is no boycott on Iran," he stated.
Dagan, currently the chairman of Gulliver Energy Ltd, a gas and oil exploration company, also commented on the peace process, saying that Israel should have accepted the "Saudi Peace Initiative", which he claimed provided "a good basis to adopt" because it does not deal with core issues such as the refugees.
Speaking of the recent reconciliation pact between Hamas and Fatah, the former Mossad chief said "there is a very problematic situation between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, which presents Israel with complex dilemmas.
'Israel facing complex dilemmas.' Dagan (Photo: Ben Kelmer)
"Parts of the Authority do not recognize Israel, and this casts doubt on whether an agreement with the Palestinians will have validity in the future," he said, noting that Israel should wait until "the dust settles on their relationship. This is not an historic pact because the conceptual ideological differences are crosscutting – not only on the Israeli issue, but also vis-à-vis Palestinian society as a whole."
During the panel, Dagan commented on kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, saying that "returning a soldier at all costs is something the state cannot withstand."
Dagan stressed that while he is not opposed to a prisoner exchange deal, he does not support the current one that will see 450 prisoners with blood on their hands set free.
"What will be the human cost of such a deal? A day will come when a father will say – who allowed you to play with the fate of my son who was killed because you released a murderer."
Throughout his speech, Dagan referred indirectly to the criticism directed at him and other security officials who publicly commented on sensitive issues after retiring from their posts. "I think it is the duty of former senior officials to present their opinions although sometimes these may be unpopular," he noted.