Former Mossad Director: Netanyahu Almost Declared War on Iran

YERUSHALAYIM -
Former head of the Mossad, Tamir Pardo. (Haim Zach/GPO, File)

Former Mossad Director Tamir Pardo said in an interview that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in 2011 had ordered the IDF to a state of alert for a potential attack on Iran – and that the attack could come as soon as 15 days after he issued that ordered, Pardo told Channel 12. Asked by interviewer Ilana Dayan if he believed Netanyahu was serious, Pardo said that he did, because “this is not something you do for practice or to test the army’s capabilities. Either you are sending a signal, or you mean it.”

Pardo said that he was opposed to the order, and told Netanyahu so. He also considered resigning his post. “When the political echelon makes a decision, you have two choices – one is to carry it out, and the other is to walk away. I am happy I never followed through on that, although I did consider it.”

In the interview, Pardo also revealed that he had undertaken to determine if the prime minister even had the authority to send the army to war, or to make a decision that would cause a war. “I examined the issue as much as I could, I checked with previous heads of the Mossad and conferred with many senior people. In matters like these, you have to rely on your ministers and advisers. When a prime minister starts the countdown to war, I am supposed to follow through. But I have to be sure that if something goes wrong that I did not do something illegal.”

Pardo said he believes that Netanyahu’s intention was not to start a war with Iran, but to intimidate the Islamist state into backing down from its development of nuclear weapons. In the end, Netanyahu backed down from the plan, due to the opposition from himself and others, Pardo said. Had the plan gone through, Israel would “definitely” have been at war with Iran, Pardo added.