Nahum Barnea and Shimon Shiffer interviewed ex-Mossad chief Meir Dagan: Dagan isn’t exactly a leftist; anyone familiar with his biography will testify to this. When it comes to Iran, he shares Netanyahu’s concerns. “A nuclear Iran is a reality that Israel won’t be able to come to terms with,” he said.
But Dagan believes that Netanyahu, because of the way he is handling the issue, is only bringing us closer to this harsh reality. “The person that has caused Israel the most strategic damage when it comes to the Iranian issue is the prime minister,” he told us.
The White House, we said, has announced that it will stop sharing with Israel classified information pertaining to the negotiations with Iran. In your experience, does such a decision trickle down to our relations with the US administration on all levels?
“Yes,” Dagan said, “and it happens very quickly. The head of the CIA is a political appointee; the national security adviser is a political appointee; the secretary of state is a political appointee. They all, the lower-level officials too, work in keeping with the spirit of their commander. We’ve witnessed this phenomenon during confrontations in the past, with the (Jonathan) Pollard case, for example. We depend on the Americans for strategic weapons. When senior administration officials say that Israel is acting against the national interests of the United States, it represents a grave long-term danger for us.
“What message does it send when our prime minister says that we don’t need information from the talks and that we have our own sources? Is he implying that we are spying on the United States?
“Our standing in the world isn’t that great right now. The question of Israel’s legitimacy is on the agenda. We shouldn’t be gnawing away at our relations with our most important ally – certainly not in public and certainly not by getting involved in American domestic politics. This is not the kind of behaviour one expects from a prime minister.”
Most Israelis breathed a sigh of relief following Operation Protective Edge in the summer; and then came the sense of disappointment – after 51 days of fighting, one could have expected a little more than a stalemate when up against an organization like Hamas. Dagan reached a different and much harsher conclusion. The operation was a “resounding failure,” in his view. “What did we achieve?” he continued. “Nothing, except a ceasefire that Hamas will violate whenever it chooses.
Dagan is convinced that the current status quo poses a danger to Israel. We have to reach an agreement with the Palestinians, he said. “Netanyahu’s actions are leading us towards a bi-national state, and I don’t want a bi-national state. I don’t want Abbas as the prime minister of my country. Continuing to establish facts on the ground in the territories will inevitably lead us to an apartheid state.”