Missiles and a portrait of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Baharestan Square in Tehran, Iran.
(photo credit: NAZANIN TABATABAEE YAZDI/ TIMA VIA REUTERS)
Former Mossad chief Tamir Pardo revealed Wednesday evening on Channel 12 news that he considered to resign during his term, following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's 2011 decision to order the army to prepare for a possible attack on Iran with only a 15-day notice.
Pardo then approached the attorney general to examine the legality of the order. "When someone tells you, 'Establish a countdown process,' you realize that he is not playing games with you," Pardo stated.
According to the former Mossad chief, Israel was closer than ever to attacking Iran in 2011. This is when Netanyahu instructed Mossad chief Pardo and then-chief of staff Benny Gantz to prepare for the P15+ plan, which meant improving Israel's defense so that it would be prepared to attack Iran within 15 days of the order.
When asked whether he believed the attack would take place, the former head of the Mossad replied: "Such a plan is not something that you just order for practice. If this is ordered, it is done for one of two reasons: either because you really intend for such a thing to take place or because you want to send a signal to someone out there."
Pardo, who had just taken up the post at the time, decided in an unusual move to examine whether the prime minister was even authorized to issue a directive that could drag Israel into the war.
"I made countless inquiries about every possible course of action. I checked with former heads of Mossad, I talked to legal advisers, I consulted with anyone I could consult with to understand who was authorized to give instructions on any subject connected to starting a war," Pardo explained.
"In the end, if I receive an order, even if it comes from the prime minister, I have to be certain that if something goes wrong and the operation fails, there will be no situation in which I committed an illegal operation."
When asked whether he believes that an attack on Iran is like a decision to start a war, the former intelligence chief replied: "Of course."
Due to the opposition of Mossad chief Pardo and then-chief of staff Benny Gantz, the prime minister withdrew the order.Translated by Juliane Helmhold.
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