'Meir Dagan required to return diplomatic passport'

Channel 2 reports former Mossad chief forced to turn in diplomatic passport; MK Hasson slams Netanyahu's "campaign of revenge."

By JPOST.COM STAFF
June 19, 2011 21:01
1 minute read.
Mossad chief Meir Dagan.

meir dagan 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
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The government demanded that former Mossad chief Meir Dagan turn in his diplomatic passport, an unusual request that follows controversial remarks by Dagan in which he criticized the country's leadership for its treatment of the Iranian threat, Channel 2 reported.

Dagan had requested to keep the passport because of a slate of upcoming trips he had planned outside of the country, but his request was denied, according to the report.

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The diplomatic passport offers, among other benefits, diplomatic immunity.

The Prime Minister's Office said that it was normal procedure for officials to return their diplomatic passports following the conclusion of their service, and Dagan was asked to do so after failing to return the passport himself.

According to Channel 2, the step is highly unusual and other officials have been allowed to keep their passports until their expiration date has passed.

Last month Dagan said that an Israeli military attack on Iran would not stop its nuclear march, at an event at Tel Aviv University.



He also said that Israel should have accepted the 2002 Saudi peace plan that called for a return to the pre-1967 lines in exchange for normalization of ties with the Arab world.

He was quoted in the media as saying that he decided to speak out because with his retirement in January, as well as with the recent retirement of both chief of general staff Gabi Ashkenazi and Israel Security Agency head Yuval Diskin, “there is no one to stop Bibi [Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu] and [Defense Minister Ehud] Barak.” Dagan was quoted as saying that when he was in office he, Diskin and Ashkenazi could “block any dangerous adventure.”

Kadima MK Yoel Hasson called the decision to revoke Dagan's passport "a revenge campaign to settle a score with one of the best Mossad chiefs this country has known."

He added, "Revoking his passport endangers Dagan's security and prevents him from enjoying the basic defense of international diplomacy in any situation that can happen to him while he is on a trip abroad. This is unexpected behavior from a prime minister and its goal is to personally hurt Dagan and to limit his activity. This is a terrible and unacceptable thing, reminiscent of tyrannical regimes."

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