Middle East Monitor / August 29, 2023
A major dispute has apparently arisen between Israel’s Mossad spy agency and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after news of a secret meeting between Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and his Libyan counterpart Najla al-Mangoush was leaked.
According to national broadcaster Kan, “The Mossad staff who worked in secret for years on the Libyan file have been greatly damaged by the leak about the meeting between Cohen and Mangoush. There is a debate about the level of this damage, as no one knows yet what the situation will be in the future.”
The channel also noted that, “If what was confirmed by political sources in Israel is proven to be true regarding the head of the government of national unity in Libya, Abdel Hamid Dbeibeh, knowing about the meeting, then relations with him have now been damaged.” In fact, it is reported that there is currently “intense tension” and accusations flying between Mossad and the ministry on this issue, “and on everything related to Israel’s sensitive relationship with countries with which it does not have diplomatic relations.”
Kan’s political correspondent Amichai Stein said on Monday evening: “Israel wanted to publish [details of] the meeting between Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and the Libyan Foreign Minister last week after the meeting took place, but Libya asked the Israelis to postpone the publication. The Libyans were afraid of a negative reaction from the general public, so they asked for a delay.”
After the news was leaked, explained Stein, the Israeli Foreign Ministry told Libya that had “no other choice” but to release details of the meeting. The ministry denied earlier that it was responsible for leaking news of the controversial meeting. Both the foreign minister and his ministry are “committed to expanding Israel’s foreign relations,” it was pointed out.