“Visa for Key Israeli Aide Still in Doubt” – Richard Sale

 6759050a_1237323351 As the governments of America’s President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continue to take soundings of each other’s stances, outlooks and agendas, notable points of conflict have emerged, according to several U.S. officials.

    “There is a distinct chill in the air,” said a State Department official.

    Tensions began with the recent election of former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a second term in that office. Netanyahu immediately expressed opposition to a two-state solution for the Arab-Israeli conflict, saying that the Palestinians had to recognize Israel as a Jewish state as a precondition for talks.

    This rankled Washington where President Obama stated, “Lasting peace requires more than a long cease-fire, and that’s why I will sustain an active commitment to seek two states living side by side in peace and security.

    ” Netanyahu and his new Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman gave no ground, refusing to talk of any sovereignty issues, including the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

    Washington made its displeasure felt in late March when Israel’s chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Gaby Ashkenazi, was denied interviews with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and was forced to cut short his visit, according to U.S. officials.

    Ashkenazi was able to meet with National Security Advisor Gen. James Jones and Iran envoy Dennis Ross, these sources said.

    Obama later talked with Ashkenazi at the G20 meeting in London and invited him for talks at the NATO summit in Strasbourg where the Israeli was informed of U.S. plans of strategic collaboration with Iran in the Afghanistan war, according to U.S. officials.

    There was more bad news for Israel, however, including recent statements by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asking that Tel Aviv halt Jewish settlements in the Occupied Territories, America’s easing of its attitude towards Iran’s nuclear program, combined with the U.S. administration’s fixed and unyielding determination to obtain measurable progress in achieving an Arab-Israeli peace agreement. Taken together, they make for a combustible mixture.

    Yet one of the most important tests of wills appears to center on the matter of a U.S. entry visa for Dr. Uzi Arad, the prime minister’s top advisor on Israel’s national security.

    Arad’s post of director of Israel’s national security council is one that will require frequent and sensitive consultations with senior U.S. policymakers, U.S. officials said.

    The appointment spread dismay through major portions of the U.S. intelligence community because of Arad’s involvement in the AIPAC scandal in which Larry Franklin, a Pentagon analyst, leaked highly classified U.S. intelligence on Iran directly to Dr. Arad.

    Arrested in May 2004, Franklin was convicted in 2006 and sentenced to 12 and a half years in federal prison where he remains.

    Arad, a long-time Netanyahu loyalist who resisted Israel’s 1995 pull-out from Gaza and who has long opposed any political or territorial concessions to the Palestinians, provoked an awkward moment during Secretary of State Clinton’s visit to Israel just after Netanyahu’s election.

    As first reported by the Inter Press Service and confirmed by State Department officials, Clinton had been briefed about Arad’s background and told that he was the “foreign person” identified as Franklin’s accomplice in U.S. court records. She was planning to meet Netanyahu, Arad and other aides, but her most important new contact was to be Yitshak Molcho who is expected to act as an unofficial back channel from Netanyahu to the White House.

    According to U.S. officials, Clinton, accompanied by Special Envoy George Mitchell and U.S. Ambassador to Israel James Cunningham, suggested to Netanyahu that each side in the meeting should limit itself to three people. Netanyahu agreed, and then, unaccountably, asked the Israeli Ambassador Sallai Meridor to leave the room. “It was either totally tone deaf, tactless or designed as an insult, and Clinton reacted accordingly,” said a U.S. official.

    She had no liking for Arad and his presence smothered any chance of openness of discussion, U.S. officials said.

    The humiliated Meridor resigned a few days later.

    For the past two years, Arad has run up against a stone wall every time he has applied for a U.S. entry visit. He has publicly denied that he accepted classified data, characterizing the meeting in a Washington cafeteria where the data was passed as “superficial,” and that he and Franklin had coffees and “discussed the agendas of the day.”

    But he had worked for the Israeli spy agency, the Mossad, for 25 years and is notorious as a far-right wing hard-liner. Recently, he said of the Arab-Israeli dispute, “We want to relieve ourselves of the burden of the Palestinian populations, not the territories.”

Asked about Arad’s visa, an Israeli Embassy spokesman referred the ME Times to the State Department, saying that he did not know the status of the visa dispute, and a State Department spokesman referred us back to the Israeli Embassy, noting that information on visas is classified.

Richard Sale

(Intelligence correspondent of the Middle East Times)

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10 Responses to “Visa for Key Israeli Aide Still in Doubt” – Richard Sale

  1. curious says:

    Arad is pretty deep mole (think-tank, policy on nuclear strategy during cold war? lol. ) . My guess he was recruited during his college year.
    wait….wait…Is he part of Rumsfeld Team B? That would be hilarious. Anybody knows cold war history around early 70’s, who build the nuclear policy paper?
    Dr. Arad became a Professional Staff Member with the Hudson Institute in 1972, working under its legendary directors, Herman Kahn and Dr. Donald Brennan. At Hudson, he carried out policy work on nuclear strategy, arms control, energy and security.
    Dr. Arad returned to Israel in 1975 and was offered senior positions with the Mossad and with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He chose to join the Mossad, where he spent most of his professional career. All that is publicly known about his tenure in the Mossad is that he served in two divisions, one of which was the Research (Intelligence) Division, which he eventually headed (at the rank equivalent to Major General). At the Mossad, he also dealt with foreign liaison and his assignments also included posts abroad.

  2. John says:

    That picture of Arad is creepy!!!

  3. J says:

    Uzi Arad willingly collaberated in the harming of U.S. National Security, and for that reason alone, should NEVER EVER be given a U.S. Visa, from now till Hell freezes over!

  4. Hannah K. O'Luthon says:

    Without disagreeing with any of the above comments, I would expect Dr. Arad soon to be visible in photos of Netanyahu’s visit to the White House, and to see HRC smiling dutifully in similar photos, as she exchanges pleasantries with Avigdor Lieberman.

  5. Siun says:

    Questions were also raised while Netanyahu was forming his government about Avigdor Lieberman’s ability to enter the US given his membership in Kahane’s party prior to its banning in Israel since it was identified by the US government as a terrorist organization.

  6. mt says:

    Too funny. I foresee many things sprouting from this relationship. It’s a Jerry Springer show on bad family disputes where in the end the DNA tests indicate no one is related.

  7. Tom Griffin says:

    A couple of bits and pieces on Arad I came across in the course of compiling the Neocon Europe profile on him.
    In an article he published in ‘Ma’arakhot’in 1979 he criticized the department, which was set up at the recommendation of the Agranat Commission. Mossad’s research department and the Foreign Ministry’s political research centre “were fashioned almost exactly along the lines of the IDF’s [Israel Defence Forces] Intelligence Branch. Organizational pluralism does not mean multiplying, doubling, and trebling intelligence bodies,” Arad wrote in the article entitled “On strengthening weak links in the intelligence process” …
    …Arad believes that the senior political level should not just ask for warnings about war, but also for “the information needed to improve the ability to formulate policy, with an emphasis on the international environment” . In the light of the Mega affair, his recommendation to emphasize “intelligence on friends” , as opposed to ” intelligence on foes” is noteworthy. “Intelligence on friends may generate operational possibilities, because the ability to conduct an active foreign policy may depend on the availability of comprehensive and extensive intelligence.”

    Netanyahu’s new political adviser Uzi Arad profiled, BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 24 May 1997 Source: ‘Ha’aretz’, Tel Aviv, in Hebrew 1439 gmt 22 May 97.
    Eldar notes that the most important thing for Arad is to make an impression on Netanyahu. Less than a year ago, he writes, Arad joined Netanyahu on a trip to the United States, where he startled the American intelligence agencies with the sensational news that Iraq had enough materials to produce its first nuclear bomb. Another who was startled was Mossad head Danny Yatom. The US administration was furious when it learned the Israeli estimate was inaccurate, to put it mildly, writes Eldar.
    “Netanyahu was unfazed. What was important to him was Arad’s persuasive skills. The content of what he said was marginal,” says Eldar.

    HEBREW PRESS REVIEW, by Michal Yudelman, Jerusalem Post, 26 August 1997
    Israel’s Channel 2 television network revealed that last year Binyamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister, mistakenly informed the US Government that Iraq was much closer to having nuclear weapons capability than it was.
    The false Israeli report was exposed only when it was challenged by the Americans, who had their own intelligence showing that Iraq’s acquisition of nuclear weapons was not as imminent as Mr Netanyahu claimed. He was relying on a briefing given to him by Uzi Arad, a high-ranking Mossad agent who is now his political adviser.
    In the Iraqi affair, Mossad had pretended to have hard information from sources in Baghdad that did not exist. Israeli commentators pointed out that, had there not been a sharp counter-assertion by the CIA, the false Mossad report on the Baghdad regime’s nuclear capability could have prompted a similar pre-emptive strike to that launched by Israeli warplanes against the Iraqis’ Osirak reactor in 1981.
    Details of the latest scandal were broadcast just as Israelis were attempting to digest the almost farcical details of the lengthy deception over Syria perpetrated by veteran agent Yehuda Gil, 63, who nearly led the Israeli Army into war against the Syrians last year by misleading his superiors about the motive for Syrian troop deployments.

    ‘Pensioner spy’ fooled Mossad for ten years, by Christopher Walker, The Times, 8 December 1997
    I would have thought the latter episode deserves more attention than it has got. We are told that Netanyahu never accepted the Clean Break strategy, but it would seem to be significant that he and Arad were pushing false WMD intelligence on Iraq to the US government as far back as 1996.

  8. Complications complications! If intel is all about capability and not motivation and intentions, then when is the last time the equivalent of an NIE was done on Israeli and did that review include capabiltiy to undermine US national security? If never done perhaps it should be?

  9. J says:

    Uzi Arad’s Mossad porfolio included as a primary the stealing of U.S.’s military technology, at every given opportunity. Why our IC doesn’t DEMAND that the Israeli Mossad apparatus both their overt and covert be forced to leave our U.S. soil defies common sense. While the Israeli common man and woman may not be an enemy of our U.S., their Government especially their espionage/intelligence apparatuses sure as heck are! And if the Israeli Mossad overt and covert assets won’t quietly leave our U.S. soil, then they need to be introduced to U.S. coroners at every given opportunity.
    Israeli Mossad is an Enemy of our U.S., there is no other word for ‘them’.

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