"Israel must present an initiative to the Palestinians,” or else Israel will find itself “backed into a corner,” said Dagan, who retired in January.
The Saudi peace proposal, first submitted in 2002, would trade full diplomatic normalization from all Arab countries for a pullback to the boundaries Israel held before capturing the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and Golan Heights in the 1967 Mideast war.
It calls for the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza and a “just solution” to the problem of Palestinian refugees who lost their homes in the war over Israel’s 1948 creation.
Netanyahu has not embraced the Saudi peace proposal and vehemently opposes a complete withdrawal to pre-1967 lines.
Peace talks broke down in late 2008 and resumed only briefly this past September before collapsing over Israeli settlement construction. The Palestinians are testing an alternate strategy of seeking UN recognition of a Palestinian state.
Last month, President Barack Obama said that border talks should be based on the pre-1967 war lines, with some modifications through mutually-agreed land swaps. Netanyahu has indicated opposition to the proposal, rejecting the concept of withdrawal to the pre-war lines.
Dagan also said restated his opposition to a military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, saying it would engulf the region in war without destroying Tehran’s nuclear program.
“It is important to consider all options and not to run straight for the war option,” Yediot Ahronot newspaper quoted Dagan as saying. “At the moment no decision has been made to attack Iran, and I am not familiar with any decision to attack in 2011 or 2012.”
Israel, like the West, believes Iran’s nuclear program is meant to develop bombs - a claim Tehran denies. While Israel says sanctions are the preferred option, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated, in the US last week, his opinion that the threat of a military strike is the only way to pressure Iran to curb its nuclear ambitions. He stopped short of saying Israel should carry out a strike.
Source: Arab News