The former head of Israel's Mossad spy agency says the establishment of an independent Palestinian state is crucial to Mideast peace, joining the ranks of retired security men to urge the government to seek a two-state solution.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday in northern Israel, Tamir Pardo says he does not believe Israel can reach any agreements with the Arab world without solving the Palestinian issue.

He notes that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has endorsed the idea of Palestinian independence and called on the Israeli leader to "follow that path."

Dozens of former Israeli commanders have urged Netanyahu to push harder to resolve the Palestinian issue. Many have accused him of mishandling the matter, though Pardo's vague comments stopped short of doing so.