The Gatekeepers (2012) Movie Script

As Head of the Shin Bet,
you learn that politicians
prefer binary options.
They don't like having
three or four options.
They want you to
tell them, "Zero or one. "
"Do it. Don't do it. "
As a commander, I find myself
in situations that are
different shades of gray.
Let's say you're
hunting a terrorist.
You can get him,
but there are one or
two people in the car.
You're not sure if they're
part of his gang or not.
What do you do?
Do you fire or not?
There's no time.
These situations last
seconds, minutes at most.
People expect a decision,
and by decision they
usually mean "to act. "
That's a decision.
"Don't do it" seems easier,
but it's often harder.
Sometimes it's
a super-clean operation.
No one was hurt
except the terrorists.
Even then, later, life stops,
at night, in the day,
when you're shaving.
We all have our moments.
On vacation...
You say, "Okay,
"I made a decision
"and X number of
people were killed.
"They were definitely about
to launch a big attack. "
No one near them was hurt.
It was as sterile as possible.
Yet you still say,
"There's something
unnatural about it. "
What's unnatural is
the power you have
to take three people,
and take their
lives in an instant.
The Six
Day War in the Middle East
has echoes along
a second front.
Israeli officials
announce that their victory
voids previous
armistice agreements
and international borders
with their neighbors.
That victory was
swift and total.
The combined Israeli air force and
infantry, artillery and tank corps
swept south across the Sinai
Peninsula to the Suez Canal,
east across the West Bank
to the Jordan River
and north into Syria.
Suddenly, over one
million Palestinians
came under Israeli
military rule
in the West Bank and Gaza.
For Israeli troops, however, the
most moving moments of the war
were the capture of the ancient
biblical sites in Judea and Samaria
and the old city of Jerusalem.
Standing at the
sacred western wall,
Israeli Defense Minister,
Moshe Dayan,
vowed never to give up
the old city of Jerusalem.
How old were you
during the Six Day War?
I was 11.
I remember thinking,
"What is war?"
It's hard to say if
I really understood,
but I remember the feeling
of fear, because
our situation was bad.
Most of all I remember a book.
I read it a lot,
If Israel Lost the War.
It described a very
unpleasant scenario
of us losing the war
and the Arabs
conquering Israel.
It had a profound
impact on me.
I thought about
it a lot as a boy.
In the Six Day
War, I was in Operations.
The Arabs surrendered
and we were suddenly
left without an enemy.
You're like a dog in a race,
looking for the rabbit.
The rabbit goes underground,
and the dog can't find it.
We were like that.
Then we started working
in the West Bank and Gaza
in anti-terrorism, without
knowing exactly what it was
because terrorism
hadn't developed.
We decided to conduct
a census in the Territories
to find out how many people
lived in the refugee camps.
It was important. We used
the information for years.
But you know how it is.
They called up the reserves
and trained them quickly.
What do I mean by quickly?
You knock on the door.
They ask, "Who's there?"
You say, "Soldiers. "
"What do you want?"
"We came to count you. "
That's it. How many words?
It's nothing. Ten words.
The reservist unit comes
and knocks on the door.
They ask, "Who's there?"
What do the soldiers say?
"Soldiers," like they learned.
"What do you want?"
But they made a mistake.
Instead of saying nehsikum
with an unaccented "H"
they used an accented
What's the difference?
"Jinna nehsikum" means
"We came to count you. "
"Jinna nekhsikum" with an accent
is "We came to castrate you. "
We took intensive courses
in spoken and literary Arabic,
reading articles
and manuscripts.
Anyone who took the Shin Bet's
Arabic program seriously
knows Arabic.
He can listen to Arabic
and read between the lines.
He can read notes
from agents...
SHALOM". The Shin Bet looked
for people to talk to
to understand what
motivated the Palestinians.
For the first time,
some Jews raised
the idea of
a Palestinian state.
I loved the idea,
so I went to the
Territories with people
who dealt with
the Palestinians.
We didn't know what
we wanted to achieve.
We received no direction
about our objectives.
When you don't get direction
from the politicians,
you are... just like with
the rabbit... searching.
I started as a coordinator
in the Nablus district.
It was a very pretty area,
full of olive trees.
I liked to get out
of my car and wander
in the field,
refugee camps, alleyways,
visit homes,
sit in cafs, talk...
I really loved the interaction
with the people.
From that exotic encounter
with olive trees,
landscapes, and peasants,
I found myself at the center
of the Palestinian problem.
I was working in
the refugee camps.
Suddenly you see
what refugees are.
Once you look more deeply,
you say, "Wait.
"I'm not an observer,
here to take photos and leave.
"I'm an active participant. "
At first, your security role
is all you care about.
It's easier to
be on that side.
A curfew was
placed on the casbah of Hebron,
where one Israeli soldier was
killed and another wounded.
The two were on patrol
when shots were heard.
One was wounded. The other
chased after the shooters.
He was later
found murdered here.
Gradually there was an increase...
To put it cynically,
luckily for us,
terrorism increased.
Why do I say that?
Because now we had work
and we stopped dealing with
the Palestinian state.
Of course.
As soon as we stopped dealing
with the Palestinian state
and started dealing
with terrorism,
terror became more
sophisticated. So did we.
Suddenly we had a lot of work
in Gaza and the West Bank,
and overseas, too,
so we forgot about
the Palestinian issue.
In Nablus then, wherever
you threw a rock,
there was either
a cat or a terrorist.
Some nights we arrested
hundreds of people.
PERY. We'd take
over a village
and gather all the
men in the square,
usually by the mosque
or in a schoolyard.
We used the
"identifier" technique.
Terrorists who confessed
would be put in a vehicle.
The windows had curtains
and they wore masks.
We'd sit them there,
and the villagers passed
beside the vehicle,
and they'd tell us,
"He's a terrorist
who trained in Syria,"
"He's a terrorist who
got back from Jordan. "
Not everyone cooperated,
but we usually
had a good catch.
Back then, most
intelligence was based on HUMINT,
HUMan INTelligence
we got in two ways.
Either from our agents or the
interrogation of prisoners.
On my first day at work,
the person I was replacing
picked me up at home.
He decided that
the best place to train
an inexperienced
security guy like me was
the interrogation
facility in Jerusalem.
I started learning
intelligence there.
I don't know if you've
ever been inside a prison,
but the one in Jerusalem
is the worst that I know.
It's a very old building
from the time of the Turks.
A normal person
walks through the door
and he's ready to
admit to killing Jesus.
PERY. You need to make
the suspect feel tense.
You need to make
him understand
that when we are done, he
will give up his information,
so the sooner the better.
The Shin Bet has interrogated
tens of thousands of people,
if not hundreds of thousands.
The Shin Bet is
a well-oiled system.
It's well-organized and effective.
It's systematic.
You receive
a territorial unit
and learn it, village by
village, trail by trail,
whether by field trips
or lots of interviews with the
masses of people who come
to military government HQ.
You sit with them and ask
them to tell you about
the village, the clans,
from the number of
people in the village
to what institutions it has...
You eventually reach a point
where you mark who
you want to recruit.
In the end you know
you want X
because X's connections,
his ability to infiltrate places
that you want to watch over
are such that he's the agent
you want to recruit.
Recruiting people means
taking someone who
doesn't usually like you
and making him do things
he never believed he could.
To convince
someone to betray
his surroundings, his
friends, sometimes his family
is no small thing.
SHALOM". All in all, we gained
control over the war on terror.
We kept it on a low flame so the
country could do what it wanted.
That's important,
but it didn't solve the
problem of the Occupation.
What it did was
instead of 20 attacks a week,
there were 20 a year.
All in all,
no Israeli prime minister
took the Palestinians
into consideration,
whether they lived within
the '67 borders or not.
What's the difference between
Golda Meir and Begin? Nothing.
He didn't visit the Arabs.
She didn't either.
She called herself
a Palestinian.
Begin didn't even say that because
they weren't important to him.
In Peres's day,
the atmosphere changed,
but he did the same things
as his predecessors.
Continuing the Occupation?
Peri kept showing
us this chart.
How many people were caught?
How many informers were there?
How many attacks were prevented?
How many weren't?
The picture was always rosy,
but it was point-specific. There
was no strategy, just tactics.
1982. The Lebanon War.
The IDF entered Lebanon.
The Shin Bet
recruited operatives.
In no time, the Shin Bet
controlled Lebanon,
just like it controlled
the West Bank.
Avraham Shalom was
head of the Shin Bet.
After years as the most
prominent intelligence agency,
the Mossad was replaced
by the Shin Bet.
I think that he was
to Prime Minister Yitzhak
Shamir and before him, Begin,
the most important person
in their security circle.
I think what
happened to him was
that he felt he could
do whatever he wanted.
People weren't in awe of Avraham Shalom.
They were afraid of him.
They were scared of him.
He was strong,
forceful, smart,
very stubborn,
uncompromising and a bully.
If he didn't like something,
heads would roll.
PERM I was in Jerusalem when
the 300 bus incident occurred.
The Chief of Central Command
called me on the hotline.
A bus going south from
Tel Aviv was hijacked
and headed to Gaza.
There was a chase
with helicopters.
The bus stopped just
outside my district.
They called that morning to
say that they stormed the bus
and two terrorists were
taken to interrogation.
I turned on the news and heard that
all the terrorists were killed.
I told my wife that
something stinks here.
Please describe what
happened that evening.
You got a call and were
told a bus was hijacked?
I don't remember.
I was in Haifa.
Yes, and...
They said, "A bus was hijacked.
Come. " So I went.
"The Terrorist Beaten to Death
by the Security Forces"
The army handled it.
During the operation,
they killed two, and
two came out unharmed.
I didn't know that then.
They beat the daylights
out of them,
the two of them.
So the Shin Bet took them...
I asked Ehud,
the Head of Operations,
what state were they in.
He said they were almost dead.
Maybe the soldiers said so.
So I said, "Hit them
again and finish it. "
He didn't do that.
He did what he described,
which I found
out a year later.
What did he do?
I think he took a rock
and smashed their heads in,
but they were unconscious.
I don't know what
state they were in.
The photo showed them
before they were beaten up.
The army pounced on them.
The photo was
taken before that.
It's not how they looked
when we got them.
How did they look?
I don't know, but some
thought they were dead.
They broke their bones.
It was a lynching.
You didn't
physically see them?
I didn't see them.
We killed a terrorist,
whose hands were tied,
who no longer
threatened us.
BY What right?
But in the Shin
Bet back then,
there was no such concept
as an illegal order.
Not only did
the Shin Bet fail.
The Cabinet and the
Prime Minister failed,
and to some degree,
they oversee the Shin Bet.
PERM It's a tough question.
Did the Prime Minister know
about the premeditated murder,
the plan to kill the terrorist
caught on the 300 bus?
Did the head of Shin
Bet have the authority
to do that, to make
those decisions?
Under what circumstances did
Shamir give you permission to kill?
There were one or two cases,
when I couldn't find him,
and it had to be done.
What had to be done?
We had to deal with Arabs who
were about to launch an attack,
or that launched an attack.
He said, "if you can't find
me, decide on your own. "
When did you realize
that you had to resign?
I offered my resignation
to Shamir the next day.
He said, "Don't you dare. "
He was afraid that if I resigned,
he'd have to resign, too.
He went to Shimon Peres.
Rabin was Defense Minister.
He said, "You gave
similar permission to kill,
"so if you leave
us to the wolves,
"we'll drag you down with us. "
They kept telling me what
to do and how to respond.
I didn't do anything
without coordinating it.
I never imagined that after
a year of coordinating,
they'd drop the issue
and say, "We didn't know. "
I don't take politicians
seriously anymore.
Because I saw that
they couldn't be trusted.
They abandon the wounded in the field.
That's not for me.
You are the wounded?
Not just me.
The whole Shin Bet.
The Shin Bet's operatives said,
"We're sent on missions 24/7.
"Some are of questionable legality.
Some are barely legal.
"Some are legal.
"No one gives
us any backing.
"As soon as the press finds
out about an operation,
"if we don't get any support
from the politicians,
"it's a sign that
they abandoned us. "
Head of Shin Bet to resign... "
The Shin Bet's exposure as
a result of the 300 bus incident
and the sense that,
"Guys, we're not omnipotent.
"There's a legal system
above us" began to sink in.
Why did you give the
order to kill them?
I didn't want any more
live terrorists in court.
It would only increase terrorism.
It increased it anyways.
Was it right to kill the
terrorists on the 300 bus?
Based on the results, no.
Only because
of the results?
Only because
of the results.
So, if there was no
reporter, it would be okay?
Are you asking me,
or are you telling me?
I'm asking you.
If he hadn't come,
no one would have known.
What about the
morality of it?
With terrorism
there are no morals.
Find morals in
terrorists first.
And if he surrendered?
It's not a moral problem.
Then what is it?
It's a tactical problem,
not strategic.
So for you, the decision to
kill the two terrorists...
You keep painting it black and white.
There are decisions that...
Two captured terrorists
were killed.
Why are you
caught up on that?
I'm trying to understand
the morality of it.
There is no morality
in a case like that.
In the war against terror,
forget about morality.
When there's a one-ton bomb,
forget about morality.
The First Intifada was the
charge that blew up this room,
with all the explosives,
because it occurred
A nation rose up and tried
to launch a revolution,
to kick us out.
I was second in command here
in the Southern District.
A wave of mass
protests erupted,
bigger than
anything we'd seen.
Hundreds and thousands of
people took to the street.
Only live fire
could stop them.
The number of people
on the Shin Bet's wanted list
may have been the largest of any
intelligence agency anywhere.
Dozens in every region,
hundreds, thousands...
PERY. Explain how the Shin Bet,
which controlled the territory,
didn't foresee an insurrection
of this magnitude.
What intelligence agency foresaw
the fall of the Berlin Wall?
To complain that the Shin Bet
should have foreseen it...
Formally, in principle,
yes, it should have.
That was the expectation.
That's why you
operate systems,
maintain enormous intelligence
factories... Correct.
But you have to
tell the truth.
Almost all the intelligence
agencies in the world
failed to foresee
major historical events.
You ask yourself,
"Where did I go wrong?"
Not in the sense
that I rule over them,
but should I have
let this happen,
or should I have left before
they said, "Get out. "
But those questions are more
philosophical than practical.
the most interesting.
Yes, but listen.
You can't...
Most of them don't
have definitive answers.
I don't need
definitive answers.
There were plenty of instances
since 1967, when, in my opinion,
and I thought
it then, too,
we should have reached
an agreement and got out.
Why didn't you say so?
We all have our criticisms,
but it's not
within my mandate
to convince the Prime Minister to
go to the Palestinians or not.
It also depends on who's
dealing with the issue.
Prime Minister Yitzhak
Shamir never believed
that an agreement with
the Arabs was possible.
Yitzhak Rabin
really did believe it.
If we ever
want a serious chance
at solving the
Palestinian-Israeli problem,
the time is now, and the
partner is the PLO,
which rid itself of the principles
that I despised them for.
The signing
of the Oslo Accords
between Israel
and the Palestinians
marked the first time that the
PLO officially announced that
it had abandoned
terror and violence
and recognized Israel's right
to exist in peace and security.
In return, Israel committed
itself to withdrawing its forces
from Gaza and
the Jericho region
and to transferring ail civilian
authority in the West Bank and Gaza
to the Palestinian
For us, the Oslo Accords
erupted in a single day.
Peri was head of
the Shin Bet then.
He updated me about Oslo.
He said, "Avi, listen.
We have to act quickly,
"to speak to the PLO's
representatives in the field
"and deal with
all the suspects
"because we can't keep
going after PLO suspects
"after we sign an
agreement in Washington. "
PERM It was amazing. The
first meeting was in Geneva.
Sitting in the lobby
was Jibril Rajoub,
and I, not me personally
but the Shin Bet,
put him in prison
when he was 16.
He sat in prison
for 18-20 years.
You see that you
are meeting people
whose desire for
peace and quiet,
whose desire
for an agreement
is no less
ambitious than yours.
It was very hard for me.
I felt like I was
doing something that...
I couldn't be doing this.
I chased after those people.
How could I sit
with terrorists?
They killed people.
Could I sit down with them?
To them, by the way,
I was also a terrorist.
As a Palestinian, he looks at you and
says, "You're a terrorist, too. "
How can that be?
Then you realize that...
"One man's terrorist is another
man's freedom fighter. "
The number one terrorist
enemy of Israel
until the day that
Arafat entered Gaza
was Fatah, the PLO.
All at once, the PLO
left the circle of terror.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad
filled that vacuum.
We wondered how the
Palestinians will function.
How committed are they
to fighting terrorism
in those areas
that they control.
We also asked how we
could prevent terrorism
if we no longer control
the Territories.
The first bus bombing
I saw was the 5 bus in 1994.
It was the first suicide
bombing in Tel Aviv.
I'll never forget it.
It was the first time I felt
I couldn't isolate myself
from that sight, from the
stench of burning bodies.
I'll never forget it.
Later it passed. I saw
many other bus attacks.
It continued with the horrible
attack at the Beit Lid Junction
and the Stock Exchange
and the 18 bus in Jerusalem.
The feeling in the Shin Bet
whenever there's an attack
that we couldn't prevent
is a horrible sense of
failure, disappointment,
especially if the
attack is a large one.
There's a real sense
of disappointment.
How did we fail
to prevent it?
It was the lowest
point in the Shin Bet
that I remember in my 32-33
years in the organization.
As the suicide
attacks increased,
as long as Hamas played the
main role in these attacks,
the need to use moderate physical
pressure in interrogations increased.
Interrogating Hamas and Islamic
Jihad is much more difficult.
Anyone willing to
sacrifice his life,
whether it's for the virgins
in paradise or not,
has nothing to lose.
Things get more complicated
with a "ticking time bomb. "
it basically means that you
have information or a lead
about a possible
terrorist attack,
whether suicide or other.
In any event, people will die
and the way to find out,
"Yes, no, if so, where?"
lies with the person
you're interrogating.
You use all sorts
of techniques
that reduce his
ability to resist.
The interrogation techniques
we were allowed were
sleep deprivation,
sitting handcuffed in a painful,
degrading, exhausting position.
What do you get
out of covering their heads?
It's pitch black, and you lose
your sense of where you are.
You don't know
what's around you.
You can hear, but you
don't know what's there.
And shaking?
Shaking is used to
establish presence.
It's threatening.
It doesn't hurt.
What it does is
intimidate you.
An interrogator picks you up and shakes you.
You feel threatened.
What happened was that
someone named Harizat,
from Hamas, was a small
man and he was shaken.
It was a case of
shaken baby syndrome.
His brain hit his skull
and he died as a result.
This resulted in
bitter arguments
between me as head of Shin Bet and
Attorney General Michael Ben-Yair,
who thought it was
immoral and unethical.
In response, I said
that if we don't use it,
if we prevent 90 percent
of suicide attacks now,
we'll prevent 70
percent instead,
which means dead Israelis.
Prime Minister Rabin
had to decide.
He once got out of
his chair furiously
and shouted at Ben-Yaw,
"You keep telling
me what I can't do!
"Tell me once what I can do!"
It was a very
contentious issue.
Rabin was a security
man in every bone in his body,
not someone we have to
explain to when we said,
"We don't have the tools
to provide security. "
He understood it perfectly.
You saw that he
was torn up over it,
but he made a
decision that said,
"We will fight terror as if
there is no peace process
"and continue the peace process
as if there is no terror. "
As the
attacks increased,
the Right, and not
just the extremists,
took to the streets
against the Oslo Accords.
It was exactly what Hamas
wanted, and they succeeded.
With blood and
fire, we'll throw Rabin out!
You promised us peace
and you gave us war!
You promised us life
and you gave us death!
You promised us tranquility
and you gave us terror!
Most opposition to the peace
process was from the religious camp.
Their leaders targeted
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
The incitement
was focused on him.
As a young army
recruit in 1974, they took us
to stop the first Jewish
settlers in the West Bank.
We stood there, rows of soldiers
gripping each other's arms.
The settlers started
hitting us in anger.
I remember that I really
didn't like that.
The illegal settlements
were built despite
or in opposition to,
government decisions,
but there was no
Israeli government
that didn't accept them,
or come to accept them.
The fact that most
Israeli governments
did nothing gave the settlers
the sense that they're
slowly becoming the masters,
that they're gaining
the freedom to act
because the government
looks away.
If they do that with
an illegal settlement,
it can extend into
illegal activity.
In 1980, a Fatah cell
attacked worshippers leaving
the synagogue in Hebron.
A revenge attack
occurred 30 days later.
They attacked Palestinian mayors
Bassam Shaka 'a in Nab/us
and Karim Halaf in Ramallah.
Another bomb blinded
someone from the bomb squad
in the home of Ibrahim
Tawil, mayor of al-Bireh.
We knew Jews did it.
We didn't think it was some
rival Palestinian group.
You check the Jewish
files and find no clues.
At some point you realize
that you have a problem,
that it's an
intelligence failure.
We put our entire Operations
Unit into action.
Operations put in
tens of thousands of hours,
until, 6 months later, we
were in the right direction.
We knew who did it.
They were a very ideological
group, really top quality.
Moreover, some of
them were even leaders
of the communities
in which they lived.
That gave them access
to the Prime Minister.
They had access
to the Knesset.
They had access
to ministries.
They were friends
with ministers.
They're part of
the Israeli establishment,
the respectable establishment
of the State of Israel.
We said, "if we don't catch them in
the act, we'll never catch them. "
The decision came when
they planned to put bombs
in Palestinian buses in a
parking lot in Jerusalem.
The attack they planned
on the buses was insane.
They intended to kill
250 Arabs all at once.
PERY. We followed
them all night.
I commanded the
operation in Jerusalem.
It was another night
I'll never forget.
We arrested them at 4:30 a.m.,
putting bombs on the buses.
We got out of our cars and
said, "Come, join us.
"If you don't want anything
to happen to our bomb squad,
"dismantle the bombs. "
We did our first wave of
arrests, of 17 members.
Then we investigated and
found out that since 1978-9,
they were planning an
attack on the Temple Mount
to blow up the
Dome of the Rock.
At first, the idea
was based on the belief that
as long as the "abomination" stood
over the site of the Jewish Temple,
there will be no Redemption
and therefore, they have
to get rid of that Dome.
They prepared the bombs.
They used a very sensitive
type of explosive, Semtex.
It was planned
by Menachem Livni,
who was a demolitions genius.
The charges would be placed so that
the entire force of the explosion
would be directed at
the support structure.
This would result in
the collapse of the Dome.
The consequence of blowing up the
Dome of the Rock, even today,
is that it could lead to total
war by all the Islamic states,
not just the Arab states,
not just Iran, Indonesia, too,
against the State of Israel.
I'm not talking about the risk to the
Jewish minority around the world.
These people decided to do it
out of some mystical belief
that this would be
the War of Armageddon
that would usher in the
Messiah and a Jewish kingdom.
After we exposed
the Jewish Underground,
Prime Minister Shamir called my
unit the "diamond in the crown. "
We received compliments
and support from everywhere.
Then the lobbying on
their behalf began.
They were put on trial. Three
of them got life in prison,
different sentences. They all
got out of prison very quickly.
They went home as
if nothing happened.
They went back to
their previous positions,
some to even higher positions.
The main question is how
history will judge us
in the annals of
the Jewish People.
I am sure that
the Dome of the Rock
will not remain
on the Temple Mount
and the Temple Mount
will return to us,
just as I am sure that
those same murderers,
whose legs I took
part in removing,
deserved their fate.
The entire Underground was
released by the Knesset.
The Clemency Law for the Jewish
Underground is signed by
Yitzhak Shamir as
Prime Minister of Israel.
It wasn't just a few members
of the Opposition.
At first it was, "Oh, no!
They broke the law.
"They killed people. They wanted
to blow up the country," etc.
Later they said, "They are
our own flesh and blood. "
Then, the delegitimization process
was transferred to the Shin Bet.
The story of the Jewish
Underground is an episode
that really shook up the
Shin Bet intelligence-wise.
It established the intelligence
mechanism that, since then,
keeps an eye on those Jewish
suspects worth watching,
in our opinion,
in the West Bank.
You watch it closely.
You work hard
and up comes Yigal Amir, who was
never on any list of suspects.
He gets up one morning and
shoots the Prime Minister.
July-August 1995,
I started to feel that we
were faced with an increase
in the potential for the
assassination of the Prime Minister.
Rabin's a traitor!
Rabin's a traitor!
We're fighting
against a government
that's leading
us into a chasm!
The Right's activity
in Israel was no secret.
You don't need the head
of the Shin Bet to explain
what Bibi Netanyahu
or Arik Sharon said
to the demonstrators
in Jerusalem.
You don't need the head
of the Shin Bet to explain
to the Israeli public and
especially the Prime Minister
the significance of Rabin's
coffin at a mock funeral.
With blood and fire,
we'll throw Rabin out!
Things started
heating up more and more.
There was an attempted attack
at the Wingate Institute.
After that, I went
over to him and said,
"Listen, Yitzhak, it
doesn't work like that.
"They'll hurt you in the end.
"I'm asking you to start
wearing a bulletproof vest
"and to drive in
the armored car.
"We'll increase
your security detail. "
He slammed me down.
"I was a soldier
before the State.
"I won't wear
a bulletproof vest. "
Did you speak to the
rabbis and the settlers' leaders?
Yes. I met with rabbis. I met
with the leaders of the settlers.
We spoke about incitement
and insurrection.
The government has no right
to force people to do
anything that runs counter
to the Torah and Jewish Law.
All Of you here,
by your presence
at this gathering,
that the people
really do want peace
and oppose violence.
I went to Paris on
Thursday, maybe Wednesday,
on an assignment that was
forced on me by Rabin.
I got a call from
my bureau chief,
who told me that
Rabin was wounded.
I was in shock, of course, but
I was surrounded by people,
so I had to function.
On a personal level, until I sat
on the plane in the dark at night,
on the flight to Tel Aviv,
I think it was the first time
that I started to feel in my
heart what I knew in my head.
Thank God for
those four hours
because it gave me
a chance to absorb the loss
of a man who really
was extraordinary.
"I'm ashamed. "
In retrospect, I can say that
it changed my whole world.
I suddenly saw
a different Israel.
I wasn't aware of the intensity
of the chasms and hatred,
of the rifts that
exist between us.
How do we see our future?
What do we have in common?
Why did we come here?
What do we want to become?
All that was self-evident,
and it all fell apart.
PERY. Rabin's assassination
shattered all hope.
It showed very clearly
that some punk of an assassin,
with a pistol that
could barely shoot,
could eliminate hope,
an entire peace process.
He could change everything.
First of all, I decided,
after consulting with my wife,
that I would take
ministerial responsibility,
and submit my resignation.
I did that immediately.
What does
she tell you?
She... tries to keep me alive.
It was a very
difficult period.
Yigal Amir succeeded.
He changed history.
He changed history.
He succeeded big time.
Until today.
Until today.
On the contrary,
it's only getting worse.
I believe that we'll see another
political assassination
surrounding the withdrawal
from the West Bank.
It will come from every direction,
mainly from the rabbis,
because the rabbis have
no reason to learn any lesson.
As far as the extremist rabbis are
concerned, the system proved itself.
Rabin's assassination
brought me to the Shin Bet.
A year earlier,
I turned Rabin down,
when he asked me to be
head of the Shin Bet.
After Yitzhak Rabin's assassination,
I realized I had no choice.
It was obvious the Shin Bet
faced a serious crisis
and everyone in
the Shin Bet knew it.
Everything about the Shin
Bet's operations collapsed.
Security surrounding the
Prime Minister collapsed.
The intelligence that should have
prevented the assassination collapsed.
The Shin Bet's strong suit,
preventing Palestinian
and Islamic terror,
could no longer
provide the goods.
The organization was
down for the count.
The Shin Bet needed new tools
and they had to be developed.
We also realized that
we were relying on force,
rather than our brains.
We began to implement
an organizational shift,
from field operations
to people sitting in offices
in front of their
computer monitors.
We prevented more
attacks each year.
We achieved greater
security every year.
How did it happen?
It had a lot to do with changes
we made in the Shin Bet,
but the truth must be told.
The more significant
was cooperation between
us and the Palestinians.
I met with all the top
Palestinian security officials,
all of them, once a month,
to coordinate intelligence.
They always told me,
"We're not your agents.
"We don't put Hamas members
in prison for your sake.
"We only do it because
our people believe that,
"at the end of the day, we'll
have a state beside Israel.
"When we no longer believe
that, forget about us. "
Just as there was a strong
desire, a firm decision
and real intent by Peres and
Rabin to reach an agreement
after Rabin was gone,
the desire,
or Israel's intent to reach
a real agreement dwindled,
to put it mildly.
There was
no good faith.
There was no good faith
from the Palestinian side
and not from the Israeli side.
We wanted security
and got more terrorism.
They wanted a state
and got more settlements.
When we started the Oslo
process in 1993-1994,
100,000 settlers lived in
the West Bank and Gaza,
not including the new
Jerusalem suburbs.
At the end of the process,
6-7 years later,
in the summer of 2000,
when the process collapsed,
there were over
220,000 settlers.
Ehud Barak is very proud
to have built more settlements
than Bibi Netanyahu
or any other Prime
Minister before him.
So the question isn't
whether there's a partner.
Arafat doesn't have a partner.
Barak doesn't have a partner.
The question is what both
sides do to have a partner.
It was obvious we were heading
toward another Intifada,
another round of violence by
a group, a society, a nation
that felt that it
had nothing to lose.
In 2002,
I went to London.
The Intifada was raging. It was
hell and we went to London,
a group of Israelis and a
group of Palestinians,
in order to see if
we could do anything.
At some point, I was making
myself a cup of coffee
and I was approached by a
Palestinian acquaintance
named wad Satay,
a Doctor of Psychiatry.
He said, "Ami, we
finally defeated you. "
I said to him, "Are you mad?
What do you mean, defeated us?
"Hundreds of you
are getting killed.
"At this rate thousands
of you will get killed.
"You're about to lose whatever
tiny bit of a state you have
"and you'll lose your dream of statehood.
What kind of victory is that?"
He said to me, "Ami, I
don't understand you.
"You still don't
understand us.
"For us, victory is
seeing you suffer.
"That's all we want.
"The more we suffer,
the more you'll suffer.
"Finally, after 50 years, we've
reached a balance of power,
"a balance,
"your F-16 versus
our suicide bomber. "
lyad Saraj's statement
gave me a very clear insight.
I suddenly understood the
suicide bomber phenomenon.
I suddenly understood our
reaction very differently.
How many operations did we
launch because we hurt,
because when they blow up buses it
really hurts us and we want revenge?
How often have we done that?
Yahya Ayyash was
the most senior terrorist
that ever operated
against Israel,
certainly the most
senior member of Hamas.
He was an engineer.
He knew how to make bombs
out of improvised explosives.
Those were the bomb belts
that blew up in buses.
Secondly, he knew how to convince
someone to commit suicide.
Finally, he had survival skills
that beggared description.
For years, every IDF soldier
carried his picture.
He was undoubtedly our
number one most wanted man.
Yahya Ayyash moved
from Samaria to Gaza.
It took some time
to get that intelligence.
Then we started basic surveillance to see
who was around him, where he might go.
Of course, everyone
has his weak points.
Yahya Ayyash's weak point
was his wife and son.
After a long time living alone in
Gaza, he asked them to join him.
We knew the whole story, and I
decided to let them into Gaza.
I thought, once they were in
Gaza, he'll want to see them.
Maybe the mouse would
come out of his hole.
Then we found out that
he really misses his father.
How did you know that he
wanted to talk to his father?
We heard.
From a source?
We hear rumors.
He never used a cell phone.
People made calls for him.
After weeks of persuasion,
he agreed to speak to his
father for a few minutes.
At this point, we started
laying the groundwork
for our cell phone to
infiltrate his surroundings.
Then we started doing
all the backup work,
making sure that an innocent
cell phone had explosives in it.
The Shin Bet are
technical experts,
experts at making small
appliances with lots of power,
not so much broadcast power
as explosive power.
Since it was difficult for us to
make direct contact with Ayyash,
we used the services
of a middleman.
He gave him the cell phone.
One Friday,
everything was in place.
We set off the explosive
charge in the phone
and nothing worked.
Everything we built up over eight
months fell apart in front of us.
Everything worked perfectly.
Then we click to get the coffee
and it doesn't come out.
Nothing happened.
Within days, the phone was back
in its natural environment.
We saw that no one
suspected anything,
that things went on as normal.
We all got together again.
On Friday morning,
his father called him.
The wire tapper recognized
Ayyash's voice and told us.
Someone hit a button
and the cell phone exploded
while it was right next
to Yahya Ayyash's ear.
He was killed on the spot and
no one around him was hurt.
More importantly, no one on the
ground floor heard the explosion.
The operation was coordinated with
the Air Force. It went very nicely.
It was very clean... elegant.
I like operations like that.
They're nice and tidy.
To some people, the
assassination of Yahya Ayyash,
at a time that seemed
relatively free of attacks,
some said it was a mistake.
Sometimes it feels quiet
and you say, "Oh!
We disturbed the calm. "
Two months later, it seemed
like the whole country was exploding.
Don't you see
the connection?
Yes, we know for a fact,
after Ayyash's assassination
a group crossed the fence
and left Gaza to organize
attacks from the West Bank.
Of course I see
the connection.
But if we make the equation,
if we assassinate them, they'll
commit suicide attacks,
if we don't assassinate
them, they won't.
The second part of
the equation is false.
After we pulled
out of Gaza,
we couldn't enter
the Palestinian areas,
unexpectedly, with a small
force, and exit safely.
How do you surprise a terrorist?
From the air, from a distance.
He has no idea where
the missile came from.
But to fire a missile
from a distance,
you need very precise intel
and not for one split second,
but for the entire operation.
What is targeted
Where do we
break the chain?
Okay, we'll injure.
If necessary, we'll even kill
whomever comes to kill us.
What happens to the people
surrounding him?
What happens to the people
who make the explosives,
who transport him,
who make the plans,
who gather the intel,
and who just preach the idea?
They don't kill.
They preach an ideology
that, in the end,
creates jihad and leads
to the death of Israelis.
Salah Shehadeh was what
we called the "hairspring,"
that set Hamas's entire terror
operation in Gaza into motion.
The hunt for him
was very difficult,
with lots of intelligence
tools invested in it.
At some stage, it was
clear that he was home,
that his daughter wasn't,
and that only his
wife was with him.
We agreed by phone,
the Chief of Staff, me, the Defense
Minister and the Prime Minister.
The Air Force dropped a
one-ton bomb on the house.
Unfortunately, because of
inaccurate intelligence,
innocents were killed.
No one knows
the final number, 9-14.
When you drop a one-ton
bomb on a densely populated area,
like in the Shehadeh incident,
obviously bystanders
will be hurt...
No, it's not obvious.
No. You gather intelligence.
Where do people live?
How many? Who? What are the chances?
Where do you shoot from?
The implications of this incident,
in terms of collateral damage,
led to criticism of how
we could drop a bomb
on a home in
the middle of Gaza.
An American
asked me about it.
I said, "We know about your
methods in Afghanistan.
"You bombed a wedding
and 70 people were killed
"and no one knows if
the target was killed. "
Overkill! It's security stupidity!
It's military stupidity.
I don't know what to call it,
but it makes no sense that to kill
the most important man in Gaza
you have to drop a
one-ton bomb on a house
surrounded by homes with
families and children.
That can't be moral,
it's ineffective militarily
and it's certainly not humane.
Is it just? Not that either.
There's a concept,
"the banality of evil. "
When you start doing it en
masse, 200, 300 people die
because of the idea of
"targeted assassinations. "
Suddenly the processes become
a kind of conveyor belt.
You ask yourself less
and less where to stop.
September 6, 2003, was, for me, my
toughest day as head of the Shin Bet.
On that day the
State of Israel had
a chance to get rid of the
biggest terrorist group
in a single blow.
We had very reliable
and precise intel
that the Hamas leadership
was going to hold a meeting
like they never had before,
and probably never will.
I think there were ten
or twelve people there,
but the crme de la crme,
the merde de la merde.
Really... everyone was there.
Suddenly I was told,
"Listen, the army is opposed.
"A one-ton bomb would
cause collateral damage. "
There was a bitter argument.
Finally, after several hours,
the Prime Minister was convinced
to cancel the attack.
I called the Prime Minister to
convince him that it's unreasonable.
The compromise
was a quarter-ton.
It was based on
The house had two stories.
If they were on the second
oor, it would kill them.
If they were on the first
floor, it wouldn't kill anyone.
The bomb was dropped.
It was a direct hit.
The second story
was destroyed
and the entire "Dream Team" fled
the house on their own two feet.
Some people insist they saw
crippled Sheikh Yassin running.
If there's a moment
you realize,
not that we missed,
but that we were mistaken,
because of what happened
with Salah Shehadeh,
we paid the price
with the "Dream Team. "
it took a long time to get
to some of the people there,
like Sheikh Yassin
and others.
God knows how much
damage they caused
until we managed to take
out the ones we did.
Some of them were never taken
out and are still active today.
I've often said, "Terror is
a barrel with a bottom. "
You can reach the bottom. You don't
need to reach the last terrorist.
You reach a critical mass, and
that's enough of a deterrent.
I can prove to you that
Hamas did not become more moderate
after Sheikh Yassin
was eliminated.
I can prove to you
that when we killed Abbas Musawi
and Nasrallah took over instead,
the security situation in
Israel didn't really improve.
That's why, when we deal, not with the
one coming to kill us immediately,
but with the person preaching,
we are headed toward a place, which
is forbidden by international law
and basic justice poses huge
question marks as to its ethics,
but I'm talking to you
as head of the Shin Bet.
It's ineffective.
I was born near
the Sea of Galilee.
I grew up in
a children's house,
like all children who lived
on kibbutzim did back then.
I had a wonderful childhood.
I knew that there's
a house in Jerusalem
and on the second floor
there's a long corridor.
At the end of the
corridor, there's a door
and behind the door is a wise
man who makes decisions.
He thinks.
My parents called him
the "Old Man," Ben-Gurion.
Years later, after
the Yom Kippur War,
I went to Jerusalem, and I
went to that same building.
I was on the second floor
and found no door at
the end of the corridor
and behind the missing door,
no one was thinking for me.
You see that void,
that lack of initiative,
that willingness to let
things take their course,
without you stepping
in and saying,
"This is as far as it goes,
in this direction or that. "
You can't make peace
using military means.
Peace must be built
on a system of trust,
after, or without
using military means.
In the end you must build
it on a system of trust.
As someone who knows the
Palestinians well, I claim that
there should be no problem
building a system of trust
with them, a genuine one.
For Israel, it's too much of a luxury
not to speak with our enemies.
As long as they decide not to
speak to us, I have no choice,
but when we decide not to speak,
I think we're making a mistake.
Do you support
speaking to anyone?
Anyone we can, even if they answer
rudely, I'm for continuing.
There is no alternative.
To what?
To talking.
Hamas? Islamic Jihad...
Including everyone.
I said everyone,
so it includes...
Even Ahmadinejad, whoever.
I'm always for it.
It's a trait of a professional intelligence
operative to talk to everyone.
Things get clarified.
I see you don't eat glass.
He sees I don't drink petrol.
That's how it is.
I want to
read something that
Professor Leibowitz,
a critic of the Occupation,
wrote a year after
the Six Day War, in 1968.
"A state ruling over a hostile
population of one million foreigners
"will necessarily become
a Shin Bet state,
"with all that this
implies for education,
"freedom of speech
and thought
"and democracy.
"The corruption found
in every colonial regime
"will affix itself to
the State of Israel.
"The administration will have to
suppress an Arab uprising on one hand
"and acquire Quislings, or
Arab traitors, on the other. "
What do you think about this prediction,
given where Israel is today?
I agree with every
word he wrote.
There's nothing to explain.
Every word he said
is etched in stone.
Is that what Israeli
society is like today?
I think it's an accurate depiction
of the reality that emerged
from 1968 until today.
I wouldn't say that
it became a Shin Bet state,
but no doubt, our current
situation with the Palestinians
undoubtedly created a reality
that is very similar
to what Leibowitz wrote.
You knock on doors
in the middle of the night
and wake a sleeping family,
all cuddled up in bed.
The mother's tears
or the last goodbyes of the suspect
you take from his family's embrace...
It's not easy. You see
the family suffering,
those difficult moments
between parents and children,
between children and parents.
These moments end up
etched deep inside you
and when you retire you
become a bit of a leftist.
We are making the lives
of millions unbearable,
into prolonged
human suffering.
We leave the decision
about what's appropriate
to a soldier who's spent
a few months in the army.
A year earlier he finished
high school, at best.
He's standing there facing
a father holding his baby girl
deciding, does he search him or
not, does he let him pass or not.
It kills me.
The future is bleak.
It's dark, the future.
Where does it lead? To a change
in the people's character
because if you put most of
our young people in the army,
they'll see a paradox.
They'll see that it strives
to be a people's army,
like the Nahal unit, involved
in building up the country.
On the other hand, it's a
brutal occupation force,
similar to the Germans
in World War ll.
Similar, not identical.
And I'm not talking about their
behavior toward the Jews.
That was exceptional, with its
own particular characteristics.
I mean how they acted to the
Poles, the Belgians, the Dutch...
To all of them... The Czechs.
It's a very negative
trait that we acquired,
to be... I'm afraid
to say it, so I won't.
We've become cruel,
to ourselves as well,
but mainly to the
occupied population,
using the excuse of
the war against terror.
Clausewitz, who was wise
even though he wasn't Jewish,
or at least we haven't
discovered his Jewish roots,
said almost 200 years ago...
I'm translating, but the
essence of what he said is,
"Victory is simply the creation
of a better political reality. "
That's victory.
Victory doesn't dictate that
we have to conquer Gaza
or Ramallah or
Nablus or Hebron.
I think my son, who served for
three years in the paratroopers,
participated in the conquest of
Nablus at least two or three times.
Did it bring us victory?
I don't think so.
Did it create a better
political reality?
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.