From DEBKAfile, December 15, 2007:
Israeli minister warns “flawed” US intelligence on Iran nuke will lead to “Yom Kippur”
Internal security minister and former Shin Bet head Avi Dichter was the first government member to publicly and harshly question the US National Intelligence Estimate which says Tehran no longer develops nuclear weapons. He warned that it could spark a “regional Yom Kippur” – a reference to the 1973 Middle East War. The minister said Saturday, Dec. 15: “We know the threat to be ongoing and palpable” for Israel and a whole region within the range of Iran’s ballistic missiles, i.e. Europe and North Africa. Israel and other troubled nations must help the US in every way possible, including by their intelligence, to correct a misconception that could spark a “regional Yom Kippur.”
DEBKAfile reports: Dichter voiced concerns which other Israeli ministers have so far expressed only in private (as reported last week on this site), because they conflict with the views of prime minister Ehud Olmert. The NIE report is deemed negative on three grounds:
1. It means the Bush administration has reconciled itself to a nuclear-armed Iran.
2. While Dichter had the courage to open the eyes of the Israeli public to the danger, he too knows there is no way to correct the “misconception” governing the actions of President Bush and Secretary Rice, because the NIE did not come out of the blue; it was the product of a comprehensive strategic reassessment planned to play out up to the end of the Bush presidency. Both its two underlying objectives are detrimental to Israel:
First: America seeks integration in the unfolding Saudi-Iranian axis. This will entail turning its back on Israel.
Second: It will also entail concessions to Syria, Hizballah and the Palestinians at the expense of Israel and its security.
3. DEBKAfile’s Jerusalem sources reveal that Olmert has confided in his close aides his intention of using the White House’s about-face in the Middle East to advance on simultaneous peace tracks with the Palestinians and Syria. In other words, the Israeli prime minister is willing to make Bush a gift of broad concessions on the West Bank and Golan to aid and abet the president’s pursuit of the budding Riyadh-Tehran partnership.
This was hinted at in Dichter’s added caution Saturday that Washington’s “faulty intelligence” and “erroneous conceptions” could warp its judgment as arbiter of the Middle East roadmap between Israel and the Palestinians, by reporting their nonexistent crackdown on terrorists.
At the same time, as long as ministers like Dichter who are clearly at issue with the prime minister stay in his government, Olmert has no incentive to abandon his plans.