The Gatekeepers (2012) is a Hebrew,English movie. Dror Moreh has directed this movie. Ami Ayalon,Avraham Shalom,Avi Dichter,Yaakov Peri are the starring of this movie. It was released in 2012. The Gatekeepers (2012) is considered one of the best Documentary,History,War movie in India and around the world.
A documentary featuring interviews with all surviving former heads of Shin Bet, the Israeli security agency whose activities and membership are closely held state secrets.
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In this documentary the film maker interviews six former heads of the Shin Bet, the Israeli intelligence service. The interviews paint a picture of the security situation Israel is facing and the decisions it has made in its conflict with the Palestinians. I was surprised to see that these former Shin Bet heads had a much more nuanced view of the conflict than I expected. Of course, they have been defending Israel and they are still Israeli citizens and they still stand behind decisions that they have made and that have cost Palestinian lives. In that sense they are "pro-Israel". On the other hand some of them openly discussed the possibility of a Palestinian state, they spoke of Palestinians in a much more humane way than many Israeli's do and they were openly critical of Israel's security policy in the past decades, both from a human and from a professional, security perspective. One of the interviewees for example said that one people's terrorist is the other people's freedom fighter, which is not only very true, but it also shows that these people, through their history in Shin Bet have attained a different way of looking at the conflict. I found that a very surprising and interesting aspect of the movie. I saw the film at the International Documentary Festival in Amsterdam (IDFA). The maker of the movie was present at the screening and he took questions from the audience after the screening. There was one Israeli woman in the audience that condemned the maker of being anti-Israeli and painting a too positive picture of the Palestinians and right after that there was a Dutch man in the audience accusing the maker of painting a too pro-Israeli picture. It just shows the incredible sensitivity around the subject. I myself was wondering "which side is he on" when the movie started. The movie however doesn't really show the views of the film maker, but the views of the former heads of Shin Bet, which is an entirely new perspective, because most movies about this conflict are created from a certain political standpoint. I think the maker has done a very good job at getting these six important people to participate in his documentary, because the views of these people are important and hard to ignore. It is not a movie that was inspired by right-wing or left-wing sentiments, it was an unbiased movie that shows the views of the six people that were on the forefront of this war for many years. I am very surprised to see what the reactions to this movie will be in Israel. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
You would normally bet that the chances of six former directors of the Israel Internal Security Service known as Shabak or, in English, Shin Bet becoming left-leaning proponents of a peaceful solution with the Palestinians would be about as likely as Dick Cheney becoming a political consultant for MSNBC. Yet, as depicted in Dror Moreh's powerful and disturbing documentary The Gatekeepers, this is exactly what happened. The film, one of five Oscar-nominated films for Best Documentary, consists of interviews by the director with Shin Bet spokesmen: Avraham Shalom, Yaakov Peri, Carmi Gillon, Ami Ayalon, Avi Dichter, and Yuval Diskin, interspersed with newsreel footage and CGI graphical recreation of the seemingly endless conflict since 1967. Moreh asks tough questions and does not let his subjects off the hook, but there is no need to. The men are forthcoming in their candid assessment of the role they played in the Shin Bet operations which included the recruitment and use of informers, the targeting and drone attacks on suspected terrorists (sound familiar?), use of brutal torture techniques, and controlling the threat of Jewish extremists, a threat that became reality when a right-wing opponent of the Oslo peace agreements shot and killed the architect of those agreements, Nobel Peace prize winner Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin. Two horrific events are dramatized: the assassination of Palestinian terrorist Yahya Ayyash by planting an explosive device in his cell phone, and the skull bashing of two Palestinian terrorists involved in a bus hijacking after they had been subdued and captured, an action that led to the resignations by the Prime Minister and the then head of the Shin Bet. To their credit, however, the security agency called off dropping a bomb on a house filled with Hamas leaders because of the possibility of widespread collateral damage. The men were hardliners to begin with, but each, who has had to deal with the problem first-hand, has come to see the futility of an occupation that seems to lead only to an endless cycle of brutality on both sides. They insist that continuing to talk with the Palestinians is the only option left and that anything else is a dead end street. Though they favor a two-state solution, they recognize that the opposition to dismantling the settlements might cause a civil war. If you are wondering how the six could have reached the same conclusions, Ami Ayalon tells us that "The six of us reached our opinions from different personal backgrounds and different political outlooks, but we've all reached the same conclusion. Many Israelis and American Jews want to deny it, but this is our professional opinion. We're at the edge of an abyss, and if Israeli-Palestinian peace doesn't progress, it's the end of Zionism." Though these men are patriots who believed they were doing the right thing for their country and still believe that a great number of Jewish lives were saved by their actions, they also acknowledge their struggle with the moral dimensions of the job, the thin line between taking a life and saving a life. Shalom's comments are telling, "We have become cruel to ourselves but mainly to the occupation," he says. "We paid a horrible price for our military successes. We are isolated completely from our neighbors, we cannot go anywhere. We are a thorn in the side of the region." According to Ayalon, "The tragedy of Israel's public security debate is that we don't realize that we face a frustrating situation, in which "we win every battle, but we lose the war." The Gatekeepers shows a side of the Israel-Palestinian conflict that we have not seen before and, considering the ultra-secret nature of the counter-terrorist organization, it is remarkable that Moreh was even able to conduct the interviews. Yet the impact of the film has yet to make much of a difference. In his speech prepared for delivery at the Oscars in event the film won the award for Best Documentary, Moreh said, "We pray that it (the film) will echo in the corridors of power in Washington, Berlin, Paris, London, and especially in Jerusalem and Ramallah." To this date, the only echo heard is the sound of doors being closed.
Like it or not--and some will despise it--"The Gatekeepers" is MUST SEE for anyone concerned about Israel's future. While it is true, as one reviewer has pointed out, that excerpts from the interviews with six former heads of Shin Bet, Israel's spy agency, have been assembled and, therefore, shaped by the director, what emerges is nevertheless astounding. To be sure there are significant differences of opinion on some issues -- like the efficacy of targeted assassinations, for example--and those differences have been obscured in some reviews of this documentary. But what unites the six is a good deal more significant than what divides them. They all regard the occupation as a disaster. They are all pessimistic about the future. They have contempt for most of Israel's politicians, who, they say, are consumed by tactical considerations but have no strategy. To a man, they want peace and see it slipping away. To a man they blame settlers and extremist rabbis, together with the politicians who have enabled them. (Only Yitzhak Rabin is admired by any of the six.) Yes, it's depressing. But reality is often depressing, and this is a necessary dose of reality from men who have spent their lifetimes in Israel's service.
This film makes a big assumption that its audience has at least a practical knowledge of the history of the Israel/Palestinian conflict. There's almost no context offered other than a brief recap of the 6 Days War in 1967 when Israeli forces under the leadership of the charismatic Moshe Dayan invaded and conquered Palestinian controlled lands on two fronts, including Syrian, Lebanese and Jordanian lands. To the south on the border with Egypt is the Gaza Strip and to the east is the West Bank encompassing the lands extending to the Jordan River and includes the ancient city of Jerusalem. These ostensibly autonomous regions were officially under Palestinian rule but nearly every aspect of daily life was controlled, monitored and regulated by Israeli agencies and forces. Never mentioned are the contentious circumstances of Israel's establishment as an actual nation following World War II, and thus a key aspect of the conflict is conspicuously absent, presumably because it would require at least 2 or 3 hours just to review this subject, even superficially. Needless to say, it's a complex and convoluted history, and prior biases and prejudices are inevitable, and the film is certainly not innocent of this transgression, but this in no way diminishes the impact and resonance of the film's superbly executed theatrics. Yes, the film relies extensively on the old documentary trope of the well lit talking head, but The Gatekeepers triumphs in its masterful incorporation of actual Israeli military footage of aerial and ground attacks, and even more so by the photographs which through remarkable computer enhancement are rendered sculptural. The way these black & white still photos are made to spring to 3 dimensional life is a sublimely potent metaphor for the ability of artful storytelling to reanimate presumably long dead history. The words of the various former leaders of the Shin Bet carry an undeniable gravitas and echo in the mind and soul as we are visually guided on a tour of their previously little known realm. By focusing on the subtle variations and contradictions of each speaker's version of events and policies and tactics we are made acutely aware of the generations old conflict's profound effect upon the psyches of everyone involved. The most confident and stoic of the former leaders is possessed of a deep sense of tragedy. Avraham Shalom - who headed Shin Bet from 1981 to 1986 during the time of an incident where two Palestinian prisoners were ordered killed while being held in captivity - casually denies his culpability but it's apparent that the incident has inflicted deep wounds which even today are still very tender. The mind bending paradoxes of the seemingly intractable conflict have left their mark on all these competent, eloquent and even brave men, and some are willing to admit that perhaps they have behaved immorally and even criminally while also acknowledging the irony of their cruel treatment of Palestinians as inexcusable behavior for a people as historically mistreated as the Jews. It's a desperately poignant moment when the individual men all express their doubts and even contempt for the political leaders who so brazenly exploit the horrific conflict for their own ends. These six men who were charged with the gruesome task of eliminating threats to Israel's security are oddly some of the most compelling critics of their nation's treatment of the Palestinians.
I saw this film the first weekend it is showing to limited release in LA. The theater was packed. The directer was there for Q and A afterwords which helped get feel of how unlikely it would have seemed to get 6 former Shin Bet chiefs to all agree to speak openly in Public. ShinBet is like THEFBI and CIA together. Each in their own way showed their acceptance that guns and drones don't really get peace. Israel keeps winning battles but not the wars You know it was good film if liberals think it was too accepting of Israeli violence against Palistinians. And hawks think it was too critical of Israel. A friend of mine walked out silent. Politics aside if that is possible it was a talking heads film with lots intersperst videos All said and done it was a powerful challenge to Israeli and American faith in violence to solve polotical conflicts.