A former Mossad chief says hawkish Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the military back in 2011 to prepare for a possible attack against Iran, but he later withdrew the order due to opposition from the spy agency and the army.
In the excerpts of an interview with Israel’s Channel 12 news released on Wednesday, Tamir Pardo, who headed the Mossad spy agency back then, said Netanyahu had ordered him and then Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz to prepare the military for an attack on Iran within 15 days.
Netanyahu’s abrupt order promoted Pardo to examine whether the prime minister had the authority to issue such a directive, he said.
“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.
“When someone tells you, ‘Establish a countdown process,’ you realize that he is not playing games with you,” Pardo stated.
Concerned over the grave consequences that such a military action could entail, Pardo even considered tendering his resignation at the time.
“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,” the ex-Mossad chief said.
Netanyahu, he added, eventually dropped that order due to resistance from Pardo and Gantz.
The interview comes around a month after the Israeli parliament (Knesset) adopted a controversial Netanyahu-backed law, giving the prime minister the authority to declare war after only consulting his minister for military affairs and without cabinet approval.
The law has sparked an outcry in Israel, with opponents saying the law effectively gives free reign to the prime minister.
Speaking after the law was approved, chairman of Israel’s opposition Zionist Union, denounced the legislation and called on coalition partners to support an amendment that would cancel the law.
“Do you understand how absurd that is? For any small change to the normal laws we need the majority of the Knesset. But for this? To go to war? Just Lieberman (the minister for military affairs) and Netanyahu,” he said.
Israel’s thirst for war
The regime in Israel, which has a long history of waging wars and occupying sovereign states, has been trying to portray Iran, which has not attacked any nation for hundreds of years, as a threat to world peace.
Over the past years, the regime has been intensely lobbying with its American and European allies to dissuade them from engaging in diplomacy with Iran over its nuclear program and support instead a military action against the Islamic Republic.
The adoption of the law coincides with rising Israeli military threats and belligerent rhetoric against not just Iran, but also Lebanon, Syria and the blockaded Gaza Strip.
The Israeli military has frequently launched military attacks against various targets inside Syria in an attempt to hamper army advances and promote the terrorists operating against the Damascus government. The regime has used Lebanese airspace for many of those raids.
Israel is especially angry over the presence of Iranian military advisors, who have been helping Syrian government forces in their fight against Tel Aviv-backed terrorists.
In recent months, Israel has repeatedly threatened Lebanon with a new war, with Lieberman saying in February that Beirut would “pay the full price” for its ties with Tehran in such a military offensive.
The Gaza Strip, which has been the victim of three bloody Israeli wars over the past decade, has also witnessed a new massacre at the hands of the regime’s military during the Great March of Return rallies in the past weeks.
Over 110 Palestinian protesters lost their lives and thousands of others were wounded as Israeli forces used snipers, live ammunition, tank fire and airstrikes to suppress the anti-occupation protests.