Former Mossad officer calls Israel’s flotilla raid ‘stupid’

Victor Ostrovsky

Victor Ostrovsky

A former officer in Israeli intelligence agency Mossad has criticized Monday’s raid by Israeli forces on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla as a failure “on every level”. Victor Ostrovsky, who worked as a case officer for the Mossad during the 1980s, described the raid as an act that was “so stupid it is stupefying”. Speaking to The Washington Post’s Jeff Stein, the former Mossad operative suggested that the early-morning operation, which killed at least 10 and wounded nearly 100 aid volunteers of various nationalities, was probably carried out by Shayetet 13, an elite commando unit of the Israeli Navy. He described Shayetet 13 as “one of the top units in the Israeli military”, which nevertheless failed in its mission to take over the ship convoy without resorting to a bloody mayhem. The fiasco is even more puzzling, said Ostrovksy, considering that the Mossad “probably had more than one man on board” the ships, most likely tasked with providing Israeli military planners with real-time intelligence on the situation on the vessels. This, however, did not appear to have assisted the Israel Defense Forces, which engaged in a series of “mistakes […] on every level”, said Ostrovsky, starting with the order to “forcefully board outside the territorial waters [of Israel] to the actual attack”. Ostrovsky is one of very few eponymous former Mossad officers to publicly comment on the agency’s operations. He rose to prominence in 1990 after publishing By Way of Deception, a book drawing attention to the corruption and operational shortcomings that Ostrovsky claims he witnessed while working for the Mossad.

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