Shin Bet chief´s vote of no confidence is another blow to Netanyahu and Barak (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By Amos Harel 04/29/12)
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Meir Dagan has said harsh things before (he had once said that an
attack on Iran was the stupidest idea he had ever heard), but the
full-fledged attack of his close friend, former Shin Bet head Yuval
Diskin, of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister
Ehud Barak, brings the confrontation over the Iranian question to
another level. Since the end of his term as the head of the Mossad
last January, Dagan seems to be on a divine mission to stop the
bombing. Diskin, who shares those same feelings, has kept a low
profile. The harsh words leveled at the two leaders were planned
ahead of time, as was evident by the note he took out of his pocket,
upon which was written a Biblical verse.
The accusation that Netanyahu and Barak are infected with messianic
feelings over Iran is whispered every so often by senior officials in
the security services. However, this is the first time that an
official, who is not part of a rival political party, uses such
wording in public. It is safe to assume that until the end of the
day, we will hear one of Netanyahu’s loyal MKs strike back in order
to delegitimize Diskin, who is one of the most successful Shin Bet
heads this country has ever seen. This same strategy was previously
used against Dagan. It is also safe to assume that any counterattack
against Diskin will have little effect.
So, what caused Diskin to speak out? The roots of the disagreement
lay in a dramatic discussion that took place less than two years ago,
wherein an alliance of top security officials, Dagan, Diskin and then-
IDF Chief Gabi Ashkenazi, with the aid of minister Moshe Ya’alon,
blocked a set of decisive ideas laid out by Netanyahu and Barak.
Diskin, who was appointed by Ariel Sharon, did not derive pleasure
from working closely with prime minister nor the defense minister.
Tensions flared near the end of Diskin’s term, when Netanyahu pushed
him to become Dagan’s successor in the Mossad, but changed his mind
in the last minute. Additionally, Netanyahu appointed Yoram Cohen to
replace Diskin, to everyone’s surprise.
One cannot ignore the timing of Diskin’s attack. Last Wednesday,
Haaretz published an interview with IDF Chief Benny Gantz. Gantz
presented a complex picture of the Iranian threat. Alongside
assurances that an IDF attack was “practical and possible,” Gantz
described the leadership in Tehran as “very rational,” and expressed
doubt that Iran would “go the extra mile” and complete its nuclear
weapon, under the current pressure. The American media, hungry for
any moderate signs from Jerusalem, jumped on Gantz’s words.
Barak, who is trying, at all costs, to preserve the image of an
Israeli attack as a real threat, was quick to respond to Gantz
declaration. In a detailed speech given on Independence Day, Barak
called the Ayatollah regime “not rational in the Western sense of the
word,” and reminded the crowd that the role of the IDF is to prepare
operational options. A close reading of Barak’s speech shows that
like his other declarations over the past year, the defense minister
presents a set of detailed explanations in favor of an Israeli attack.
While it is noon in Israel, the exact time in which Washington will
wake up to another Saturday morning, the usual commotion will begin:
where did Diskin come from, all of a sudden, and what is he getting
at? This is the nature of the current discourse. Every declaration
from one side of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean
reverberates tenfold on the other side. In the run-up to the renewing
of talks with Iran in Baghdad, set to take place next month, the
temperature on the international barometer is rising ever-slightly.
Nothing has been determined in the Iranian story, and the spring is
about to boil over into another summer of tension. Should we receive
word of an upcoming visit by President Barack Obama to Israel, it
will only serve as further proof that the United States is making all
efforts to prevent a possible Israeli attack. (© Copyright 2012
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