Israel pleased with WikiLeaks revelations

Monday, November 29, 2010 |  Ryan Jones

There was much apprehension and concern on Sunday evening as whistleblower website WikiLeaks began publishing nearly a quarter of a million classified US diplomatic cables. Washington had already phoned Israeli leaders to prepare them for any embarrassing information that would be revealed.

But by Monday morning, Israel appeared to be the one nation that had benefited from the stunt.

“If anything, the leaks were positive and did not damage Israel’s image at all,” former National Security Adviser Giora Eiland told Voice of Israel radio. “There was no contradiction between what Israel has said in public and in private.”

In fact, the documents reveal that Israeli officials, especially Meir Dagan, head of Israel’s Mossad spy agency, are regularly sought after by officials from all parts of the American government for their expertise and insight on various Middle East situations. In short, Israel is an enormously valuable resource for America and its interests in the region.

The documents further aid Israel by revealing that it is far from being the only nation in the region calling for military action against Iran’s defiant nuclear program, or at least greater efforts to effect regime change in Tehran.

The authors of several of the cables accuse Israel of overestimating Iran’s nuclear program and how quickly Iran would be able to field a nuclear weapon. They insist that Israeli assessments of the situation must be “taken with a grain of salt.” Former US Ambassador to Israel, Daniel Kurtzer was especially critical of Israel’s assessment of the situation with Iran.

But another document has Israeli Military Intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin stressing to two US congressional leaders that “Israel is not in a position to underestimate Iran and be surprised like the US was on September 11, 2001.”

A slew of other documents reveal that the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and Jordan all share the Israeli sense of urgency regarding Iran, and also want the US and/or Israel to stop Iran’s nuclear program at any cost.

“That program must be stopped,” King Hamad of Bahrain is quoted as saying in one of the documents. “The danger of letting it go on is greater than the danger of stopping it.”

In other documents, Israeli accusations that certain UN bodies have ties to Muslim terrorist groups are justified by the revelation that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered ongoing investigations of UN personnel working in Lebanon and Palestinian-controlled areas.

“Washington wanted intelligence on the contentious issue of the ‘relationship or funding between UN personnel and/or missions and terrorist organizations’ and links between the UN Relief and Works Agency in the Middle East, and Hamas and Hizballah,” the British newspaper Guardian reported, citing several of the documents.

Clinton even ordered a probe of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a revelation that is certain to ratchet up tensions between Washington and the world body.

The only other Israel-related issue in those documents that have been released concerns the 2008-2009 Gaza war. It was revealed that prior to invading Gaza in response to escalating Hamas rocket fire on southern Israel, Defense Minister Ehud Barak tried to convince either Egypt or Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority to step in and assume control of the territory after Hamas was defeated.

It seems neither Egypt nor the PA were interested in bringing an end to the destructive rule of Hamas and the atmosphere of conflict the group continues to foster.

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