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Double crossing Israeli policy (ISRAEL HAYOM OP-ED) Dan Margalit 05/01/12)Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=1806 Israel Hayom Israel Hayom Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
What crazy spirit has gotten into former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and former Mossad chief Meir Dagan (the third member of their gang, former IDF chief Gabi Ashkenazi, actually showed some restraint this time) that made them speak like pro-Palestinian lobbyists at The Jerusalem Post annual conference in New York on Sunday?

Dagan was the one who started the trend of undermining Israel´s efforts to block Iran´s nuclear program. Whether Israeli policy is right or wrong, Dagan went as far as to call an acting Israeli minister a liar and to make comparisons between Israeli policy and how events in Germany led to World War II (Dagan was protesting a proposed bill that would silence former security officials from criticizing government policy). What here is like Germany? Was there a Reichstag fire here? A state-sponsored Kristallnacht? 1938 or earlier? Or perhaps later?

It has already been said that the trend that Dagan started, which was intensified by former Israel Security Agency chief Yuval Diskin (who recently warned against Israel´s Iran policy, calling Netanyahu and Barak "messianic") harms Israel´s ability to curb Iran´s nuclear ambitions. It doesn´t hurt Israel´s ability to attack Iranian nuclear sites, but it does undermine our chances of convincing the world to impose sanctions that will be harsh enough to make a military strike unnecessary.

Judgment Day, the day when the government will have to decide whether or not to attack, is still far off, but Dagan´s and Diskin´s tongue- wagging has brought it closer. Deciding whether or not to attack is a legitimate debate, which must be undertaken with all seriousness and responsibility. Dagan and Diskin and many others feel that an Israeli attack on Iran would be a mistake, and their opinions must be heard. They are, it seems, filled with a sense of "messianic" mission, to borrow a misused term from the former ISA chief himself.

Let us now suppose that the acting government, which relies on a parliamentary majority, doesn´t agree with the opinion of its former security chiefs and schedules a military strike anyway. Will Diskin and Dagan dare divulge the date of the attack to sabotage the operation in the name of that same lofty messianic mission? I am sure that if we ask them they will say they wouldn´t, but they are currently being pulled into forbidden areas of heated debates and disputes within a democratic society. "Who is the mighty person? He who conquers his evil urges," we were taught in school. Were Diskin and Dagan absent the day that lesson was taught?

If they were absent, so was Olmert. If he were still in office, he wouldn´t justify one iota of their remarks. But, shirking all responsibility, he supported the irresponsible remarks of both Diskin and Dagan. He himself also said some unreasonable things. After having broken the last Zionist taboo -- not to allow descendants of Palestinian refugees who fled in 1948 to return to Israeli soil -- he lamented not Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas´s rejection of his unprecedented and irresponsible offer, but rather the fact that ministers within the Israeli government, at the time, advised Abbas to reject the peace deal.

Does anyone believe that? Just because former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said so (she wrote in her memoir that then-Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni advised the Palestinians against signing the deal)? But even if there is some truth to her claims, who is Olmert trying to impress? Would Abbas refrain from signing the best peace deal he is ever going to be offered just because Israeli ministers told him not to? Why? Because Olmert´s ministers planned to offer even more concessions?

I, too, believe that the current government isn´t doing enough to resume peace talks with the Palestinians, and isn´t even making an effort to appear interested in a diplomatic solution. The current administration is too passive. But Olmert and Diskin both know that the foremost person undermining the peace process, the one who has been doing it since the Camp David summit 12 years ago, is Abbas. He refuses to give the peace process a chance. To justify Abbas at the expense of unnamed ministers who surely wouldn´t have offered Abbas any more than Olmert did? That sounds like something you would hear on Palestinian radio.


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