Dagan questions wisdom of PM's 'threats' to Assad

Former Mossad chief responds to Netanyahu's Syria comments, saying now Assad has "legitimate claim" to retaliate.

June 27, 2013 08:20
1 minute read.
Meir Dagan with PM Binyamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu hugs Meir Dagan 521. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan on Wednesday questioned the wisdom of implied threats made by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu toward Syrian President Bashar Assad earlier in the day.

During a visit to the Golan Heights, Netanyahu said that battles are won by determination and “the ability to break the enemy and instill in them the fear of death." He added that Israel was not "seeking to challenge anyone, but no one will harm the State of Israel without a response – a strong and resolute response.”

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Dagan said in response that threatening Assad in is current situation was "somewhat problematic."

Speaking at a Tel Aviv University lecture, Dagan said that "it is in Israel's interest that Assad fall, but we shouldn't hurt his honor or provoke him."

Responding to Netanyahu's comment that an exercise on the Golan Heights is "not just a theoretical exercise,” Dagan implied that Assad would have a right to retaliate against Israel.

"If you want to shoot - shoot, don't talk," Dagan said in English. He has, in my view, a legitimate claim to retaliating against us," he added.

Dagan said that "Assad will not engage in war, but if put in a corner, he is likely to fire at us. We mustn’t bring about a situation in which his honor is hurt. There is no need to make threats."

Herb Keinon contibuted to this report.

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