The Oscar nominated documentary "The Gatekeepers" interviews all six living former Shen Bet Chiefs. Shen Bet, for those who don't know, is sort of like Israel's version of the FBI and Secret Service.
One of the former Chiefs, Avraham Shalom, made a surprising and controversial comparison to Israel's occupation of the West Bank:
We are making the lives of millions unbearable, into prolonged human suffering, [and] it kills me,” Carmi Gillon says in the film. “[We’ve become] a brutal occupation force similar to the Germans in World War II," adds Avraham Shalom.Do I think Israel and Nazi Germany are equivalent? No of course not. Not even close. However, Israel is, unfortunately, on that continuum of regimes that show a clear disregard for the human rights of a persecuted ethnicity.
Now what makes this statement even more intriguing is Shalom experienced the brutality of the Nazis firsthand:
And, by the way, Avraham Shalom was a young kid in Vienna in the 1930s. He didn’t know that he’s a Jew. He was forced to go to school after the Kristallnacht. He was almost beaten to death by his classmates. He felt firsthand what it means to be a Jew under a racist regime. And when he compares that, he compares the Israeli occupation to the Germans, that—like how the Germans treated the Poles, the Czechs, the Dutch, he knows what he speaks about. And I think that his worry is something that had resonance in me, as well, about what—where will it lead, the occupation—I mean, if it will continue like that.
Israelis have had a more favorable opinion of the settlement movement and the occupation in recent years. Even on the Left Israelis have warmed up to the settlers. Recently the Labor Party nominated Shelly Yachimovich, who has cozied up to the settler movement, over the more anti-settler Amir Peretz.
Israelis have in some respect convinced themselves that they will be able to keep large parts if not all of the West Bank far into the foreseeable future. All the while the American public and political establishment for the most part has remained silent and has been unwilling to show tough love towards Israel.
Hopefully "The Gatekeepers" can wake people up. Abu Mazen won't be around forever. If Israel doesn't come to their senses soon they could be facing another Arafat. It has been said the Palestinians never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity. If things don't change soon the same might be said about Israel...