Did Israel negotiate with Iranian elements in order to obtain information on Gilad Shalit
and Ron Arad
? A cable sent from the US embassy in London to the State Department in 2009 and published by WikiLeaks
suggests that London rabbi Herschel Gluck met with an Iranian representative at Israel's request and discussed the fate of the Israeli soldiers.
Gluck recently told Britain's The Independent newspaper that in publishing the cables, WikiLeaks had placed the Iranian man's life in danger.
The cable describes "periodic private meetings" between Gluck and Ayatollah Syed Salman Safavi, brother of the military adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Gluck described the talks as "fruitful" but refused to confirm the contents of the cable suggesting he worked for the Israeli embassy in London. He did note that Tehran was aware of the contacts.
In response to a query from Rabbi Gluck about Shalit, Ayatollah Safavi was reported to have "reacted furiously, referencing numerous recent Palestinian deaths in Gaza and saying 'there can be no agreement after Gaza'," The Independent reported.
The rabbi noted the outburst "was the most negative he had ever seen Safavi in their multi-year relationship, but that this may well be posturing for negotiating purposes".
Gluck told the paper that the cable jeopardized the two's attempts "to build bridges and find solutions to difficult issues".
The cable should never have made its way into the public domain, he said. "I think WikiLeaks would do well to act in a more responsible fashion when it comes to type of material."
The Independent notes that Gluck is the chairman and co-founder of the Muslim-Jewish Forum, and has an international reputation as a peacemaker, having acted as a mediator in Sudan and the former Yugoslavia.