Why This Man Supports Iran Deal — Despite Bibi’s Bluster

By (aayalonKNESSET.GOV.IL) (אור17) [CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

Ami Ayalon, former director of Shin Bet, Israel’s national security agency. By (aayalonKNESSET.GOV.IL) (אור17) [CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

“There is no ideal world, and there are no ideal agreements,” says Ami Ayalon, a former director of Israel’s Shin Bet internal security service. “And let me add that there is no ideal Middle East.”

Given the imperfections in the world at large and the Middle East in particular, the imperfect nuclear agreement that was concluded with Iran this week in Vienna is “the best possible alternative from Israel’s point of view, given the other available alternatives,” Ayalon told me in a telephone interview. He finds the agreement “hard to defend,” but he defends it anyway.

His views are worth listening to because they represent the mainstream of Israel’s security establishment. A decorated commando, onetime commander of Israel’s navy, former cabinet minister and sometime peace activist, he’s often been a bellwether, staking out positions early on that other security chiefs are thinking but haven’t yet said.

Image: getty images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo: getty images)

Ayalon has been out of the security service for 15 years. After a career in the naval commando, ending up as chief of Israel’s navy, he was brought into the Shin Bet in 1996. His job was to rehabilitate an agency that was reeling in the wake of the 1995 assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, which it had failed to prevent.

After a four-year term, which overlapped with Netanyahu’s first term as prime minister, he retired in 2000 and devoted himself to an unlikely second career as a peace activist. In 2003 he and Palestinian academic Sari Nusseibeh published a one-page proposal for two-state peace agreement and circulated it as a petition, gathering about a half-million Israeli and Palestinian signatures.

That November, he initiated a roundtable conversation with the other three living ex-heads of the Shin Bet that was published in the mass-circulation daily Yediot Ahronot. Stretched over four pages of newsprint, the discussion found the four in forceful agreement that Israel’s continuing occupation and settlement of the West Bank was endangering the country’s future as a Jewish democracy.

Read more at The Forward

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Categories: Foreign affairs, Foreign Policy, History, Iran, Israel, Middle East, National security, Nuclear arms control, Opinion/Editorial, Political commentary, Politics, World news

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3 replies

  1. Israel needs a number of this realistic man to impinge upon the political dellution that she can win and proceed with intrasigent policies

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hello, Fada. I absolutely agree. No society can expect to live in a state of perpetual hostility with its neighbors and survive. This treaty with Iran does empower the radical clerics who rule that country; but I think that the many moderate voices in both Israel and Iran are empowered too. The warmongers in Iran, America and Israel, who profit power by selling fear and hatred, will despise any negotiated peace because it does not satisfy their self-serving agendas.

      Liked by 2 people

      • This is exactly how I speculate the outcome of the deal and the motives of those who agree and disagree about it. I think that Iran and Israel are not a true threat to each other and that they both benifit from playing the victim of inevitable threat

        Liked by 2 people

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