Dagan: Political Shifts Open Door for 'Rare Opportunity'
Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan, attending the 2013 Presidential Conference in Jerusalem, said there are rapid shifts taking place in the political map of the Middle East.
"There are dramatic changes taking place in the region," Dagan said during the conference on Wednesday, reflecting on the departure of a number of long-time Arab and Islamic leaders including Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gadhafi.
"There are processes that are ongoing, and they don't stop. It is very hard to determine what the result will be."
"I think Israel has a rare opportunity to forge various alliances in the region," the ex-Mossad chief said. "I don't like every aspect of the Arab Peace Initiative, but the need to negotiate is crucial in my view. The Arab League today is less hostile to Israel. The Arab Initiative should form the basis of renewed negotiations. We need to look for opportunities at a time like this."
Dagan called for Israel to engage in "serious" negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.
"To say that this is not possible is very damaging to Israel," he maintained. "There are many serious questions and it will take time to solve them. These issues can't be solved through direct talks with the Palestinians, but there is a need to get the Arab League involved."
He also reflected on the Iranian elections, saying that he does not believe that incoming President Hassan Rohani was Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's first choice of candidates.
Dagan maintained that there still remains a possibility for dialogue with the regime, even if, at this point, not official.