Not only are high officials and former officials of the Israeli security establishment pushing hard back against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s seeming rush to war with Iran, they appear actually to be attempting to unseat him, as it becomes possible that Israel may go to early elections in September.
Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert has become the latest former high-ranking figure to savage Netanyahu and his defense minister Ehud Barak, for their threats to attack Iran unilaterally and soon.
In contrast to Netanyahu’s circles, who have threatened a unilateral Israeli strike this summer, Olmert said categorically in a television interview that this is “definitely not to initiate an Israeli military strike.” Olmert, no dove, had himself launched the 2006 Lebanon and the 2008-9 Gaza Wars. But neither went well for Israel, and Olmert may have learned something from that.
On Friday, the former head of Israeli domestic intelligence, Yuval Diskin, warned that attacking Iran would likely impel it to begin a nuclear weapons program, which Israeli and US intelligence believe it does not now have.
Kadima Party leader Shaul Mofaz defended Diskin from criticism and said that Netanyahu is afraid to face him.
Former officials and opposition leaders have also been scathing about Netanyahu’s lack of interest in negotiating in good faith with Palestine Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, alleging that Netanyahu has zero interest in genuine peace talks.
Now that Netanyahu is talking about holding early parliamentary elections, it is particularly hard to see the rising chorus of attacks as anything but an attempt to convince the Israeli public that Netanyahu is a wild man who should not be re-elected. It may be that some of them are also close to the Obama administration position, which is that it is possible to deal effectively with Iran through sanctions and negotiations.