Israel’s former spy chief blasts PM ahead of poll
Israel’s former intel chief Diskin blames PM Netanyahu (L) and Defense Minister Barak (R) of acting irresponsibly about Iran’s nuclear program and accuses them of prioritizing personal concerns over national ones. EPA photoAn Israeli ex-intelligence chief sought to sway Israelis against Benjamin Netanyahu in upcoming elections, saying in an interview published Jan. 4 that the prime minister has mismanaged Israel’s response to Iran’s nuclear program and missed opportunities to make inroads on a peace agreement with the Palestinians.
The interview with Yuval Diskin was an unusually strong and overt assault on a prime minister by a figure from the security establishment, coming less than three weeks before the Jan. 22 election, in which polls predict Netanyahu will be re-elected.
Diskin, who ran Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence agency from 2005 to 2011, has been a vocal critic of Netanyahu. But his front-page interview with daily Yediot Ahronot included his sharpest comments yet.
‘PM acted illegally to attack Iran’
Yuval Diskin, AP photo
Diskin said Netanyahu acted irresponsibly regarding Iran’s nuclear program and accused him of prioritizing personal concerns over national interests. “Unfortunately, my feeling, and many others in the defense establishment share it, is that in the case of Netanyahu and Barak, the personal, opportunistic interests came first,” Diskin was reported as saying by Israeli ynet news agency. On the Palestinian issue, Diskin criticized Netanyahu’s lack of movement on peace talks and said there was a chance another Palestinian uprising could break out. “The role of the security forces is to create conditions so the political echelon will know what to do with them, and the quiet which was achieved in the last few years is an opportunity that the political echelon should not have missed,” Diskin said.
Diskin said, “Israel upgraded Hamas and humiliated Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. We could have pursued various military moves that would have changed the picture, but Bibi [Netanyahu] and Barak are too weak.”