June 9, 2011 - 12:00am

Zvi Zamir, Israel's Mossad chief in the years 1968-1974 is criticizing the government over its way of handling the 'Naksa Day' events which saw 23 Syrian protestors killed.

In an interview with Israel Army Radio, Zamir attacked the decision to open fire at the Syrian protestors who tried to breach the border fence and said: "I'm concerned by the fact that soldiers, my grandchildren, are firing at unarmed people."

Zamir said: "I believe that if the barbed wire fence was 30 meters (100 foot) wide then they wouldn't be able to pass through it and we could have prevented the events without opening fire. We are eroding the purity of arms."

During the interview, Zamir also addressed the "Dagan affair" that broke 10 days ago following comments made by former Mossad Chief Meir Dagan. Zamir defended Dagan but also noted that he was surprised by the way Dagan chose to express his opinions.

"I'm sure Dagan was distressed and that could be seen in the way he expressed himself. Formally speaking, he hasn't broken any laws, though he may have broken some ethically. I can't recall a Mossad chief that had this kind of outburst. I was as shocked as any reader and wondered why this was in the newspaper but he didn't reveal any secrets."

Recollecting his own term as Mossad head, Zamir said that he had been in a similar situation during the Yom Kippur War. "Everyone thought we were heading for war and I couldn't break through the inability of the defense minister, military intelligence director and chief of staff to see other options, it was impossible."

Zamir noted that "the lessons of the 1973 war haven't been implemented and I cannot forgive that, I am a part of that. There is disregard and misunderstanding by the echelons who should be aware that it rests upon our shoulders."


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