Former Israeli security commanders: Netanyahu speech will bring Iran closer to the bomb

Commanders for Israel's Security group says Netanyahu is damaging strategic relations with the US; Likud says in response, "These are the same leftists who supported Oslo."

By ARIK BENDER, MAARIV HASHAVUA, JPOST.COM STAFF
March 1, 2015 16:27
2 minute read.
Commanders for Israel's Security

Commanders for Israel's Security hold press conference. (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI)

 
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A group of more than 180 former commanders in Israel's security apparatus called Sunday for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cancel his speech to the US Congress scheduled for Tuesday.

Commanders for Israel's Security, a group of former senior commanders from the IDF, Mossad, Shin Bet and Israel Police, held a press conference Sunday, in which they warned that Netanyahu's security and diplomatic policies were destroying the alliance with the US, ruining Israel's power of deterrence and serving to bring Iran closer to obtaining nuclear weapons.

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The press conference featured Commanders for Israel's Security founder Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amnon Reshef, former deputy Mossad chief Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amiram Levin, former IDF Central Command chief Maj.-Gen. (res.) Avi Mizrachi, former executive director of the Defense Ministry Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Yaron and senior former IAF pilot, Brig.Gen.(res.) Ran Pecker.

"We called this press conference in order to call on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cancel his upcoming speech to Congress and to stop before it is too late. It is no longer possible to hide the rift with the Americans, a rift that cannot be accepted. We believe that this poses a clear and present danger to the security of the State of Israel," Reshef said.

"When the prime minister of Israel presents a speech as if it can stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, he damages Israeli deterrence because there is not a single security expert that doesn't understand that after this speech, Iran will not be distanced from the nuclear option it is attempting to achieve. The people of the US see the rift between the countries and the leaders, the people of Israel see it, and no less importantly, the people of Iran see it," he added.

Maj.-Gen. (res.) Levin said that while it was difficult for him to speak out against Netanyahu, who served under him in the IDF, the prime minister's navigation is off: the target is in Tehran, not in Washington. "Leaders speak privately, not out in the open. The visit and the speech are exactly the opposite of that. Rather than working hand in hand with the US president we are going there and sticking our thumb in his eye. That hurts not only the president, but, above all, it hurts the citizens of the US that are fans of Israel, but first and foremost are Americans."

He added that Iran was pleased with the fact that Netanyahu was giving the speech because Israel without the unwavering support of the US internationally, was much weaker strategically speaking. "If it becomes clear that Iran is fooling the world, we will need the Americans. The speech brings Iran closer to the bomb and weakens Israel. When speaking of these sensitive issues, a loud PR campaign instead of quiet action constitutes negligence and must not be accepted."

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The Likud reacted angrily to the remarks by the former security officials.

“This is a recycled version of those same generals – leftists who promised peace at Oslo, supported the disengagement, supported the 'Arab Peace Initiative' which is based on dividing Jerusalem, and championed a withdrawal from Judea, Samaria, and the Golan Heights,” the ruling party said in a statement.

“Nowadays, they are being used as messengers by the Left, whose campaign is being funded with millions of dollars flowing into Israel from left-wingers abroad,” the Likud said.

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