amanpour | Six former heads of the Shin Bet, Israel’s secretive internal security service, have spoken out as a group for the first time and are making stunning revelations.
The men who were responsible for keeping Israel safe from terrorists now say they are afraid for Israel’s future as a democratic and Jewish state.
Israeli film director Dror Moreh managed to get them all to sit down for his new documentary: “The Gatekeepers.” It is the story of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian Territories, as told by the people at the crossroads of some of the most crucial moments in the security history of the country.
“If there is someone who understands the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it’s those guys,” the director told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.
Against the backdrop of the currently frozen peace process, all six argue – to varying degrees – that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land is bad for the state of Israel.
The oldest amongst the former chiefs, Avraham Shalom, says Israel lost touch with how to coexist with the Palestinians as far back as the aftermath of the Six Day War of 1967, with the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, when the country started doubling down on terrorism.
“We forgot about the Palestinian issue,” Shalom says in the film.
A major impediment to a meaningful strategy, they say, are the Jewish extremists inside Israel – people like the Jewish Israeli who assassinated Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin, or the 1980 plot to blow up the Dome of the Rock Islamic shrine in Jerusalem.
A central theme of the documentary is the idea that Israel has incredible tactics, but lacks long-term strategy. That is to say, the security apparatus is able to pacify terrorists, but if operations do not support a move toward a peace settlement, then they are meaningless.
Moreh said he was shocked to hear Avraham Shalom, Austrian-born and a refugee of the Nazis, compare the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories to Germany’s occupation of Europe.