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You asked about The Gatekeepers

Reader comment on item: Erdo─čan's Decade as Prime Minister of Turkey
in response to reader comment: Who Knows

Submitted by Ron Thompson (France), Mar 15, 2013 at 08:34

to John McGinley

I went to see The Gatekeepers over its first week-end and found it intriguing and useful.

While it is advertised as showing six former heads of Shin Bet opposed to Israel's policies toward the Palestinians, I found the documentary much more subtle and complicated than that simplistic, erroneous characterization.

Whatever Dror Moreh intended, I saw his effort as about men of action and conscience trying to deal with difficult moral issues imposed on them by a foe governed by an ideology sanctioning mindless brutality and emphatically, even proudly, without any conscience at all.

For every dovish statement by each individual, the same man in another part of the documentary showed himself resolute, bold, and unapologetic in acting to protect Israelis and Israel's national security.

Possibly the most interesting statement was made by a member of a Palestinian delegation who went up to the head of Shin Bet at a meeting in London and said, "You don't understand us at all. Victory for us is making you suffer." Nothing else is necessary for us (paraphrase). Including this chilling quote was something of a saving grace for the filmmaker, given his overall critical tilt.

There was even a humorous element, in the description of the decision-making behind one dramatic event. The Israelis were debating the use of a one-ton bomb to take out a "dream team" of Hamas leaders meeting together in a densely urban area of Gaza when Sharon (of all people) vetoed the use of more than a quarter ton bomb, in order of course, to minimize or prevent civilian deaths.

And the result was exactly what dissidents to his decision predicted. The bomb demolished the second story of the building, but since the targets were on the first floor, none became casualties as they fled in all directions.

I strongly recommend The Gatekeepers (which had an audience of about two-thirds capacity in a Bethesda, MD theatre).

Ron Thompson

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