DVD Review: The Gatekeepers
The Gatekeepers is a fascinating documentary that takes an in-deph look at Israel’s Shin Bet from the end of the 6 day war to the present day, through the candid interviews with six former heads of Shin Bet.
Shin Bet is Israel’s internal security service, and was designed to be Israel’s “unseen shield,” primarily directed to keep an eye on the occupied territories that Israel found itself in control of after the brief war. Everything changed however, after one incident, the Bus 300 Affair, where Palestinian terrorists hijacked an Israeli bus. The ensuing arrest and murder of two of the suspects whilst in custody forced a harsh spotlight not only on Shin Bet but also the possibility of terrorists activities against Israel.
After the dust had settled, Shin Bet picked itself back up and changed focus on finding and eliminating terrorist threats rather than working with the Palestinian’s to find solutions.
It’s this change that all 6 former heads seem to agree on, was Israel’s biggest mistake, and their insistence on retaliation and using sanctified murder as a means to protect their own people, was just fuel adding to the smoldering hotbed of disenfranchised people seeing their hope slowly slip away.
It seems like what most Palestinian’s wanted, was the existence of a hope of their own neighbouring state.
As we follow each of the six heads as they recount some of the highs and lows of their careers, there exists a paradox as they all agree that the methods used, and still in use today, are the wrong methods, whilst at the same time some saying that they don’t regret, nor would do anything different.
This candid honesty seems to get to the heart of the heated history and present day reality of Israel: that whilst many only want piece and their own homeland, many also want to seek revenge for sins both imaginary and real that were wrought against them.
Towards the end, one of the former heads of Shin Bet confesses that Israel itself is no different to Nazi Germany in their treatment of occupied territories back in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s. Not the kind of statement you’d expect form a former head of Israel’s internal security service.
In essence, The Gatekeepers shines an even handed light on the very complex situation of Israel and her occupation of Palestinian territories., and is essential and gripping viewing.
Rating: M Violence.
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