Israel's Dagan backs Saudi peace plan

JERUSALEM, June 3 (UPI) -- Former Israeli intelligence chief Meir Dagan's announced support for a peace plan built on the Saudi peace initiative has drawn mixed reaction within Israel.

Dagan said Wednesday in a speech at Tel Aviv University Israel must accept the 2002 Arab proposal that calls for normalizing relations between all Arab states and Israel in exchange for Israel's complete withdrawal from all areas it occupied after the 1967 Six Day War and Arabs' right of return. He also counseled against an Israeli attack on Iran, Haaretz reported Friday.


The speech appeared to position Dagan on the political left, in opposition to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who he warned is leading the country into dangerous territory.

It drew a positive response from Yaakov Peri, a former head of the Israeli security agency Shin Bet, who said Dagan's comments show a clear understanding of Israel's situation, Ynetnews reported.

Dagan "left office after many years of service. You have to listen to him very carefully. His words are very calculated. Set in stone. He can back everything up," Ynetnews quoted Peri, who signed on to last month's Israeli peace initiative, as saying. "We are heading for complex times. Taking initiative means retaining control and power."


"We need creativity," he said, "we need to foresee the future."

However, Maj. Gen. Giora Eiland, a former head of Israel's National Security Council, responded by saying the Saudi plan is "irrelevant" and "the least pro-Israeli" proposal around.

"This initiative clearly states that if and when Israel reaches an agreement with the Palestinians and the Syrians, and returns to 1967 lines, then the Arab world would acknowledge Israel," Eiland said. "It's ridiculous. Even without the initiative, if you've reached an agreement with the Palestinians and Syrians, your enemies, then Bahrain, Qatar and Morocco won't acknowledge us later? This entire thing seems irrelevant."

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