Daniel Levy: I have quoted ex-Mossad Chief and Israeli National Security adviser, Efraim Halevy, in the past as an advocate of engaging with Hamas in line with arguments I have used many times. I have a great deal of respect for Mr. Halevy although we do not agree on many things and I particularly remember having my ear chewed by him when we met to discuss the details of the Geneva Initiative. Laura Rozen, a highly impressive young journalist here in DC, has just done a great service to the cause of advancing more level headed thinking on Israel-Palestine issues by producing this interview with Halevy in Mother Jones. The interview is well worth reading in full but here are a few choice highlights. [...] Israels Mossad, Out of the Shadows: Washington Dispatch: Former Israeli intelligence chief Efraim Halevy explains why he advocates talks with Hamas. By Laura Rozen, "It's fair to call Efraim Halevy—who served three Israeli prime ministers as chief of the Mossad, Israel's national intelligence service—a hawk. He negotiated a covert peace deal with Jordan that preceded the countries' public treaty in 1994. Nine years later, he resigned as head of Israel's National Security Council over policy differences with then-prime minister Ariel Sharon. And when he left the Mossad, Halevy received the prestigious CIA Director's Award from then-director George Tenet for his assistance to the U.S. intelligence service—the exact details of which Halevy cannot disclose. This month, St. Martin's Press published a paperback edition of Halevy's riveting 2006 memoir of his 35 years in the Mossad, Man in the Shadows: Inside the Middle East Crisis with a Man Who Led the Mossad. I interviewed Halevy by phone and email about his career, details of covert channels in his book, and his recent public call for both the Bush administration and Israel to talk with the Palestinian militant group, Hamas. [...]
"Mughniyeh, assasinations and their normalization" [Helene Cobban]: We should be clear about the moral quality of the blood-drenched career of Imad Mughniyeh, the high-level Hizbullah security operative who was assassinated in Damascus on February 12, apparently by Israel. Mughniyeh has been credibly accused of having master-minded a number of acts that have to count as significant atrocities: the bombing of the US Embassy in Beirut, and then of its annex, in 1983; the bombings of a Jewish community center and an Israeli consular center in Buenes Aires in 1992-94; the kidnappings of western civilians in Beirut, and perhaps the killing of Malcolm Kerr, the president of AUB. (I am not counting here actions taken against military personnel who have after all placed themselves in a position where they have a "right" to kill under certain circumstances and also knowingly accept the risk that they might be killed.) What should one seek to do with or about a person like Imad Mughniyeh? My main answer when considering the question of what to do with the perpetrators of atrocities-- and let's face it, gratuitously launching a war of invasion against a foreign country is also an atrocity; and was certainly recognized as such in the operations of the Nuremberg and Tokyo Tribunals-- is that we, human society in general, clearly need to be protected against the future depredations of such people. We need to be able to credibly and verifiably incapacitate their ability to re-offend.