Dr. Moshe DannMoshe Dann is a writer and journalist with a Ph.d in history, who lives in Jerusalem.
If one wants to know how Israel lost the war against Arab Palestinians during the last 3 decades, one might look at the leaders of the Shin Bet (Shabak, ISA).
This period includes the first uprising (Intifada)(1988), the Oslo Accords (1993) which brought the PLO terrorist network to power, gave them territory and an army, terrorist attacks and violent riots that swept through the country during the 1990’s, the withdrawal from South Lebanon in 2000 which gave Hizbullah territory and power, the terrorist war launched by Arafat in 2000, the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip 2005 which gave Hamas territory and power, and the ongoing struggle against terrorism, Hamas and Hizbullah.
All of the of the leaders of the Shabak who appear in the film “The Gatekeepers” were in charge during this critical period. All opposed building Jewish communities over the “Green Line,” and all backed unilateral withdrawal. No wonder they failed in their mission, not only to prevent terrorist attacks, but to block the establishment of a terrorist infrastructure that was linked to a terrorist state.
One of these “experts” was so incompetent that he allowed PM Rabin to be assassinated; others were clueless as Israeli buses were being blown up. All were actively complicit with characterizing religious Zionists as responsible for Rabin’s assassination and those that lived in settlements as “obstacles to peace.”
Carmi Gillon’s incompetence was so extraordinary that some have suggested that he was involved in a conspiracy to kill PM Rabin.
His successor was not much better. He sent a hit team to assassinate the head of Hamas, Khaled Mashaal, in Jordan, by placing poison in his ear. They succeeded in their task, but someone noted the unusual license plate of their getaway car: it was from the Israeli embassy! This fiasco included reviving Mashaal with an antidote, and the arrest of the Shabak agents who were eventually exchanged for Hamas terrorists.
Ami Ayalon and Avi Dichter who headed the Shabak in 2000 knew or should have known that Arafat had planned and ordered the Second Intifada. Their failure to plan for the wave of terrorist attacks is a bloody testament to their failure.
Meanwhile, a special unit of the Shabak was focused on “Jewish terrorists” and make-believe conspiracies intended to discredit religious Zionists and especially settlers. That unit is still notoriously active and even engages in provocations, like dressing up as Arabs to confront Jews, arresting Jews and ordering long periods of administrative detention and house arrest with little or no evidence of a crime.
As an astute observer of the Israeli scene commented, “The story of the Gatekeepers is the story of the Shin Bet shadow state that would like to replace Israeli democracy with its own oligarchy and return it to the 1950s. Menachem Begin said it should have been abolished. The Shin Bet and its leaders are personally responsible for an untold number of crimes and the fact that this film makes them heroes for peace is just another example of the moral failing and idiocy of this country. “
Israel does not need a secret police, especially not one that is virtually independent, without oversight or control. It is blight on Israeli democracy and principles of open, transparent and responsible government.
Threatened by terrorist attacks, Israel needs an effective security force. Unfortunately, the“Gatekeepers” and its director did not explain or explore this challenge and are therefore responsible for perpetrating the lies and distortions of Israel’s enemies.