Ex-Mossad chief Tamir Pardo: Netanyahu broke policy with Iran, US

Netanyahu's non-strategy led to 60% nuke enrichment

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during his Iran news conference on April 30, 2018 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during his Iran news conference on April 30, 2018
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Former Mossad director Tamir Pardo on Wednesday said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has broken the country’s strategy for dealing with Iran with the support of the US.
Speaking at the Meir Dagan conference at Netanya Academic College, Pardo said it was a massive strategic error for Netanyahu to be in open conflict with the Obama and Biden administrations over Iran.
The former Mossad chief asked how Netanyahu could dare to say Jerusalem will completely ignore Washington, when it is America which provides both the aircraft and the weapons which the Jewish state uses and needs to defend itself.
Pardo said, “we must do everything to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon,” but that it was a mistake for Netanyahu to call it an existential threat as if, should the Islamic Republic someday get such a weapon, all of the Jews would need to flee from the Middle East.
He said that Netanyahu’s policy had helped push the Trump administration to leave the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which now has led to Tehran passing the 60% nuclear enrichment level.
According to Pardo, “Iran never would have dreamed” they would have gotten to this unprecedented high level of uranium enrichment in prior eras, but that the lack of strategy on the part of Israel along with the Trump administration, has led to the ayatollahs being potentially only weeks away from a nuclear weapon.
In contrast, he said that the Sharon and Olmert governments made their primary principle in dealing with Iran to coordinate with the US.
He accused Israel under Netanyahu of having “top notch tactics, but zero strategy.”
Earlier at the conference, former state’s attorney Shai Nitzan said that despite statements by Netanyahu’s defense lawyers, the case against him is nowhere near crashing and that he still “has plenty to worry about.”
Nitzan was responding to a decision on Wednesday by the Jerusalem District Court presiding over Netanyahu’s trial that the prosecution had failed to turn over significant aspects of evidence relevant to the defense.
Further, Netanyahu’s defense team has succeeded in recent weeks in undermining aspects of the credibility of key prosecution witness Ilan Yeshua, the former CEO of Walla.
Yet, Nitzan said that the comments from the judges so far were still narrow criticisms which would not impact the broader verdict, which will depend on around 300 witnesses besides Yeshua.
In addition, he said that Yeshua had scored many strong points against Netanyahu during his direct testimony for the prosecution.
Nitzan also rejected the idea of splitting the powers of the attorney-general, saying that weakening his office could have negative impacts such as what has been seen in the US when former US president Donald Trump fired his attorney-generals at will.
Also at the conference, former police chief Roni Alsheich said that Public Security Minister Amir Ohana has crossed redlines interfering with non-political professional aspects of the running of the police.
Alsheich said that, “I hear lines have been crossed, I am extremely worried,” about such interference.
Asked if the impact of having a temporary police chief for two years had caused the police to lose their independence to the public security minister’s political considerations, he responded, “unambiguously yes, for sure. Someone [the police chief] waiting for an appointment [by the public security minister] cannot be independent.”
After two years, the police were “falling apart,” as a temporary chief has no long-term strategic plan, budget plans and “no independent power and cannot tell the minister, you cannot be involved on this issue.”
Alsheich added that there was no way the public security minister – which Ohana has served as for over a year – could be stopped from politicization by a temporary police chief.
The former police chief also cited the outgoing speech of Moti Cohen slamming the interference of Ohana and the political class – who had been temporary police chief – and what he has been told by current police commanders.
Ohana has been caught on tape threatening police officials regarding their handling of protests for and against Netanyahu.
Concluding the conference, former prime minister Ehud Olmert lashed out at Netanyahu for trying to scare Israelis about national security dangers so that they would feel dependent on him as prime minister as their lifelong protector.
Olmert also said that the IDF’s budget is too large and that it could be a smaller and smarter military.
Further, he said that integrating Haredim into the broader society should be through national service and not through the IDF.
Regarding the Palestinians, the former prime minister said that Israel lost the last round to Hamas because of the public relations achievements of the terror group.
He added that after the seventh day of the war, the IDF had no quality targets left and just continued aimlessly until the eleventh day to try to look tougher.
Olmert attacked Netanyahu for favoring dealing with Hamas in Gaza over empowering and negotiating with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.