Yuval Diskin, som gikk av som Shin Bet-leder for halvannet år siden, sier at Bibi Netanyahu ikke har gitt Mahmoud Abbas en sjanse, men tvert om svekket han og dette har kommet Hamas til gode.
Diskin mener Abbas er genuint interessert i fredsforhandlinger, men at Netanyahu ikke gir ham sjansen.
In a lengthy interview published in the weekend section of the daily Yediot Ahronot, Mr. Diskin said that Mr. Netanyahu’s declared support for the two state solution amounted to «kalam fadi»—Arabic for empty words.
In response to the interview, an official in the prime minister’s office said the remarks were baseless, recycled, politically motivated and stemmed from frustration Mr. Diskin wasn’t appointed as chief of the Mossad.
Mr. Diskin’s assessment marked a blunt departure from Mr. Netanyahu’s assertions that Mr. Abbas is primarily to blame for the impasse in the peace process by insisting on the precondition of a settlement freeze and seeking unilateral diplomatic gains through a November resolution upgrading the status of the Palestinians at the United Nations.
Mr. Diskin came to the defense of Mr. Abbas, saying he is genuine in desiring a peace accord and accused the prime minister of deliberately weakening the Palestinian leader.
He warned that the combination of the current negotiations freeze with continued settlement expansion by Israel had left the Palestinians seeing only a «dead end,» which has created combustible conditions for a new Palestinian uprising in the West Bank.
He also declared that Israel’s recent war in Gaza against Hamas had strengthened the Islamic militant rulers of the Gaza Strip.
The former Shin Bet director also undermined assertions made by Mr. Netanyahu political allies that Mr. Abbas’s reluctance to accept an Israeli peace offer in 2008 is evidence that the Palestinians prefer to not cut a deal.
Mr. Diskin said Mr. Abbas didn’t respond to former prime minister Ehud Olmert’s peace offer because he feared Mr. Olmert was too politically unpopular to conclude a deal.
Mr. Diskin, whose criticism was often highly personal, is part of group of ex-security chiefs to publicly call out Mr. Netanyahu, and he is one of six former Shin Bet leaders featured in an Israeli documentary film, «The Gatekeepers,» which began showing in local cinemas a week ago and criticizes decades of policies toward the Palestinians.
The remarks come one week after Israeli President Shimon Peres broke with the customary nonpolitical role of his ceremonial office, and prodded the government to pursue peace talks with Mr. Abbas.
But the Shin Bet former director’s remarks carry extra weight because he served as the government’s point man for maintaining daily security, providing intelligence, and giving strategic advice on the situation in the Palestinian territories.