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Islam and the West ( 1 Feb 2013, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Men Responsible for Keeping Israel Safe from Terrorists Are Afraid for Israel’s Future as a Democratic and Jewish State



Six Israeli Security Chiefs Stun World

By Samuel Burke

January 28th, 2013

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.

“Bear in mind that Avraham Shalom was born in Vienna,” Moreh said. “And at the Kristallnacht he was forced by his mother to go to school and was beaten almost to death by his classmates… He said ‘I experienced firsthand what it means to be under a racist regime.’”

Moreh knew that he had to include that part of the interview in the film. “I said to myself I have to keep it, because he understands what he speaks.”

“Only Jews can say those kinds of words,” he told Amanpour. “And only they can have the justification to speak as they spoke in the film.”

The filmmaker said that this is “the most pro-Israel film” he could have created. “When you see the Titanic heading toward the iceberg, what would you do?”

A spokesperson for current Israel Prime Minister said Benjamin Netanyahu had not seen “The Gatekeepers,” and had no plans to do so.

“I think the fact that the PM of Israel is not willing to watch a film with six former heads of shin bet speaking and conveying a message to the Israeli public – to him and to the world. I think it just speaks about his personality,” Moreh said.

Critics accuse Moreh of cherry picking to advance a political agenda that falls on the left-wing of the Israeli political spectrum.

“They are all pragmatists,” Moreh told Amanpour about the subjects. “These are the six heads of the secret service of Israel saying in one and clear voice enough of the occupation – you cannot argue with that.”

Moreh said that none of the former chiefs has come to him with any problems with the final product and all of them told him they stand behind the film.



Did the Israeli military defy PM Netanyahu?

By Samuel Burke

November 9th, 2012

A sensational story is rocking Israel this week – alleging that the Israeli military defied orders from its commander in chief, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Leading Israeli journalist Ilana Dayan is reporting that Netanyahu ordered his military to prepare for an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities nearly two years ago. Dayan's story documents that both the army chief and the head of Mossad (Israeli intelligence) refused to comply with Netanyahu’s order.

In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour Thursday, Dayan said the information came from officials who were in the room with Netanyahu when the conversations took place, during a meeting of Israeli ministers.

“It happened in the course of 2010 and all of a sudden, just when they are at the door, the chief of staff [of the Israel Defense Forces], then Gabi Ashkenazi, and the head of Mossad, Meir Dagan, are given an order by the Prime Minister Netanyahu to step into a pre-attack alert and be ready to strike in Iran.”

Dayan told Amanpour that she believes this is the closest Israel has ever come to striking Iran, but the dramatic rift between the military and political establishments stopped it.

“You have on the one side Prime Minister Netanyahu with a deep conviction…. And on the other hand, you have the chief of staff and the head of Mossad who very courageously set off the alarms and say, ‘Guys, this is not the right thing to do now. And if we step into this pre-attack alert, this is noisy; this can lock us into war.’”

Also speaking with Amanpour on Thursday, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister, Danny Ayalon, would neither confirm nor deny some parts of Dayan’s report.

While Ayalon implied there was not an order from Prime Minister Netanyahu, he did allude to disagreements between Netanyahu and the military.

“Israel is a democracy. And although we have very opinionated high brass…we're very proud that they can very freely actually give their opinions,” Ayalon said. “But at the end of the day, it's the commander in chief… to make the decisions. But the very fact that nothing happened means that the commander in chief in Israel did not give the order.”

What the world is telling Obama now

Israel’s tone on the issue of Iran’s nuclear program appears to have very quickly changed since President Obama’s re-election on Tuesday.

The Deputy Foreign Minister gave what could only be described as a ringing endorsement of the Obama administration’s handling of Iran.

Ayalon told Amanpour that despite past differences with the Obama administration over Iran, “I think today we can safely say that we are very much on the same page and will continue to follow the lead of the U.S.”

But Israel has not always said it would follow Obama’s lead. Israeli journalist Dayan says Ayalon’s comments to Amanpour are in stark contrast to what Netanyahu had told her just days before Obama’s re election.

“[Netanyahu] very, very strongly said if the United States doesn’t do it, we’ll have to do it ourselves.”

Dayan now believes Israel has postponed a deadline on Iran until the spring of 2013.

The Iranian Ambassador to the U.N., Mohammad Khazaee, responded to the report Dayan’s program in a letter to the Security Council, saying, “The Islamic Republic of Iran expresses its strong protest and condemnation of such a provocative, unwarranted and irresponsible statement by the Israeli regime's prime minister. I wish to reiterate that the Islamic Republic of Iran has never had any intention of any attack on any other nation."

Mending fences with Obama: Israel says it follows U.S. lead on Iran