Yuval Diskin in an interview published in Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth on Friday expressed severe doubt in the ability of Israel’s current leadership to be able to successfully wage a campaign against Iran. “We didn’t trust their motives,” Diskin said, speaking for his colleagues dealing in Israel’s security. “We were worried that they might pursue various moves that would compromise Israel based on irrelevant considerations or via underhanded ways.” Among the evidence for concern Diskin recounted were tales of high-level security meetings accompanied with alcohol and cigars.
Diskin said that Netanyahu tried to convince Israel’s security chiefs to approve what he called an “illegal” decision to attack Iran, a policy that, according to Diskin, remains at the forefront of Netanyahu’s agenda, at the expense of other priorities:
“I have a very deep feeling that when it comes to Iran, Netanyahu is possessed by Menachem Begin, who attacked Iraq’s nuclear reactor, and by [Former Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert, who many claim is responsible for the attack on Syria’s reactor. Bibi wants to go down in history as the person who did something on this size a scale. I have heard him belittle what his predecessors have done and assert that his mission on Iran is on a much grander scale.“
Netanyahu and Barak have since backed away slightly from their rhetoric about the danger Iran poses. Barak in October stated that since Iran had converted a large amount of its enriched uranium stockpile into a form unable to be further enriched that an Israeli strike was no longer immediately forthcoming. Likewise, on Thursday Netanyahu declared that Iran had yet to cross the “red-line” that he had set that would prompt an Israeli attack.
The Office of the Prime Minister provided a statement to Yedioth Ahronoth in reaction to the interview, saying “Diskin’s ridiculous statements, made by a man who until six months ago wanted to be head of the Mossad, are recycled at this time for political reasons and stem from his own frustration about not being named to head the Mossad.” Israel is currently only weeks away from an election in which Netanyahu’s Likud Betinyahu party is in danger of losing seats to even parties even further to the right.
Diskin is the latest in a string of current and former Israeli officials who have warned about the possibility of Israel striking Iran’s nuclear program unilaterally. While their reasoning varies, including the fact that an attack may galvanize an uncertain Iran into accelerating its program and that diplomacy stands the best chance of resolving the issue, all appear convinced that striking Iran now would be disastrous for Israel.