Everyone is telling us there is nothing to worry about. The international scandal over the assassination of Hamas military commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh will eventually evaporate, explain Israel’s intelligence veterans. After all, this is not the first time that undercover security agencies used foreign passports. The main thing is that Mabhouh has been eliminated, and that all of our forces (according to foreign reports, of course) are safely back home.
What, then, is the problem?
The planning was brilliant.
The intelligence gathering – above and beyond…
The execution went without a hitch.
So why the international brouhaha?
Once again we see that the most advanced intelligence organization equipped with the most sophisticated unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and state-of-the-art technologies, and the most expensive intelligence devices, is no match for the preconceptions of the person making the decisions. Intelligence excellence does not help the organization that is fighting yesterday’s war.
Stalin knew about the imminent German invasion, but his preconceptions did not allow him to use the information that streamed to him on the eve of the attack.
Golda Meir knew – from Jordan’s King Hussein and other sources – about the impending Egyptian/Syrian attack on Israel in 1973, but she was still taken by surprise for the same reason: preconceived opinion, fixed ideas that are not altered by new information.
After 9/11, I wrote a column explaining that America was going to lose the war against Iraq. How did I guess? I wasn’t privy to a fraction of the information that was known to the decision makers in Washington.
The answer is simple: If a person is entrenched in a preconception, all the information in the world will not help him. I saw that the Americans are incapable of understanding an enemy that is not a state. When the U.S. was attacked on 9/11, President Bush looked for a guilty state. With remarkable stupidity, Saddam Hussein provided him with the return address he was looking for. The Americans certainly conquered Iraq for a few days. But they lost the war because their preconceptions do not fit reality.
For the very same reason, Israel lost the last two wars that it fought. And it looks like the same thing also happened to the Mossad in its Dubai mission.
I assume that the people at the Mossad don’t understand what we want from them. For decades they have been using foreign passports, and no problems arose. The enlightened Western world is actually pleased that someone did the dirty work for it, and rid it of a menacing terrorist. So why the international uproar? All the intelligence agencies in the world use foreign passports.
The pundits explain that the Arabs are pressuring the British, so they must let off some steam. Soon, they reassure us, all will return to normal.
But it won’t. Somebody in the Mossad and the echelon that authorized the Mabhouh mission is still living in the 80s. They didn’t notice that the Western world, and particularly the British, no longer sees Israel as the good guy in the story. For them, Mabhouh is a freedom fighter.
If you didn’t notice, Israel’s most senior ministers are wanted in Europe’s capitals for war crimes. No need for sophisticated electronics. All that you have to do is open your eyes to reality. If Israel’s leaders are wanted for crimes against humanity, what does that say about our country? In the eyes of much of the world, Israel is no more than a pirate ship sailing on borrowed time.
The world has changed, ladies and gentlemen. Israel can no longer expect the international community to wink its eye and look the other way.
To the esteemed Mossad Director Meir Dagan: Please turn off your computer and your telephones – and think for a moment about Israel’s place in the world today.
(Translated from the column that appeared on Israel’s NRG website.)
To learn more about Moshe Feiglin andManhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership), please visit www.jewishisrael.org.