Former Mossad Chief Meir Dagan
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Former Shin Bet Chief Yaakov Peri
Photo: Ofer Amram
Major-General (res.) Giora Eiland
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Ex-Mossad Chief in eye of storm, again

Dagan's support of Saudi peace initiative stirs new controversy. Ex-Shin Bet chief says gov't must listen to him, while former National Security Council head claims 'It's the least Pro-Israeli proposal'

Former Mossad Chief Meir Dagan is in the eye of yet another storm: After stirring controversy by saying that a strike on Iran should only be considered as the last resort, the former head of the Israeli intelligence community said Israel should pursue a peace plan based on the Saudi Peace Initiative.


Speaking at a recent conference in Tel Aviv, Dagan said that while Israel should have agreed to the Saudi Initiative, once it turned into a general Arab initiative which insists on the right of return, it has become problematic for Israel.



Dagan's recent statement have surprised many in the political sphere, as it seems the former Mossad chief has chosen to position himself on the Left of the political map.


Former Shin Bet Chief Yaakov Peri, however, said the powers that be would be prudent to listen to Dagan: "The man left office after many years of service. You have to listen to him very carefully. His words are very calculated. Set in stone. He can back everything up.


"We are heading for complex times. Taking initiative means retaining control and power," he added, saying that Dagan's statements stem of a true understanding of Israel's realties.


Peri explained that if this move fails to work it's better "they say 'no' than us say it. We need creativity, we need to foresee the future."


As one the leaders of the Israeli Peace Initiative Peri sees Dagan's statements as reinforcment of the  group's stance regarding the peace proposal.


"There's no doubt we've received great support from Meir Dagan," said Peri. "The support of a man coming from inside the system is appropriate."


However Peri vigorously rejected claims that he and his friends are no longer in the know. "These are empty claims," he said. "We've always believed the State should take initiative. We've never gone or pretended to go against the establishment, but only to prod and encourage the establishment."


As for Dagan's statements being published only a short while after leaving the Shin Bit, Peri commented: "We live in a democracy. There are those who will love it and those who won't. That's the nature of democracy. We're all obligated to pay attention and listen, take these things into consideration."


According to Peri, "We must hear what people who come from the same system, which has been deeply involved in security matters of the Palestinian and Arab world, and we must respond."


'Entire thing seems irrelevant'

Meanwhile, Major-General (res.) Giora Eiland, former National Security Council head, believes the Saudi initiative is not relevant and considers it to be "the least Pro-Israeli" proposal in comparison to other peace initiatives.


"This initiative clearly states that if and when Israel reaches an agreement with the Palestinians and the Syrians, and returns to 1967 lines, then the Arab world would acknowledge Israel," said Eiland. "It's ridiculous. Even without the initiative, if you've reached an agreement with the Palestinians and Syrians, your enemies, then Bahrain, Qatar and Morocco won't acknowledge us later?"


According to him, people are wrong to assume that Israel would not have to negotiate with the PA given this initiative takes place. "Furthermore, it remains unclear what exactly is the Arab summit. It doesn't mean there won't be talks with the immediate players. This entire thing seems irrelevant."


Eiland believes that "the bone of contention in the State is whether or not to agree to an agreement based on 1967 lines, and it's a legitimate argument. The center and moderate left support it, the right objects. They all bring up good points, but I don't know what's going on in the heads of those who support the Saudi Arabia."


He is not sure why Dagan chose to bring up the Saudi initiative at this time. "I'm not arguing about the fact that it's important to reach an accord, but why do we need the Saudi initiative? If Israel wishes to go this route then let it accept Obama's speech and begin negotiations tomorrow morning. It's more realistic and convenient to Israel, and doesn't call for an accord with Syria."



פרסום ראשון: 06.03.11, 09:50
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