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Benjamin Netanyahu
Photo: Amit Shabi
Photo: Avner Shahaf
Yuval Diskin
Photo: Avner Shahaf
PM: Diskin bitter, timing conspicuous
Netanyahu rebuffs former Shin Bet chief's criticism; says 'I see reality for what it is, my mission is to deal with Israel's threats'

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave interviews to several radio stations Sunday, in the wake of the political storm sparked by Shin Bet Chief Yuval Diskin's Yedioth Ahronoth interview, which was published on Friday.

 

Diskin expressed great concern about the cabinet's decision-making process, and leveled harsh criticism at Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, saying that both were motivated by personal interests and that he and his colleagues in the defense establishment "Didn't trust their motives."

 

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Netanyahu told Army Radio that Diskin's remarks were those of a "disgruntled man," adding that the interview's timing – so close to the elections – was conspicuous.

 

Diskin called into question Netanyahu and Barak's conduct during highly sensitive security debates, such as one on the Iranian threat. "Not only was the account inaccurate, it fails to reflect reality," the PM rebuffed the criticism.

 

"We had never before held such serious, in-depth discussions on Iran as we did at that time. But I, unlike others, I don't slam other people and I don't go into these things. It's unworthy."

 

Speaking to Israel Radio, Netanyahu said that "Those who chose to attack me should pick a theme and stick to it. On the one hand, they say I'm motivated by personal interests and on the other they say I'm on a messianic mission.

 

"I see reality as it is: Iran is going nuclear, Syria has chemical weapons, Hezbollah and Hamas have missile caches and Sinai has become a terror hotbed. My mission is to deal with these threats."

 

Netanyahu said he was unfazed by the Left's attempts to change the government, saying "This is the kind of thing that happens before – and after – every election. They are trying to remove me from power and they will stop at nothing."

 

The PM said that Hatnua Chairwoman Tzipi Livni will not serve as the foreign minister in his next government, stressing that the coalition will be made up of the political Right – his natural partners.

 

"First of all, what we'll have is a Likud-led government, following my political and security lead. Its partners will come from one (political) side, because they don't have to apologize to their constituents.

 

"There is always the possibility that if someone else wanted to join the government they could," he qualified.

 

The PM further stressed that he is standing by his Bar Ilan speech: "I'm still saying the same thing – two states for two peoples. But you can't ask us to recognize a Palestinian state without them recognizing the Jewish state. And they won't do that and that's the root of the conflict," he said.

 

 

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