Monday, February 11, 2013

Gatekeepers a Most Important Documentary Film

Dror Moreh

Oscar-Nominated “The Gatekeepers” a Very Important Film

By Skip Sheffield

Even if it weren’t nominated for an Academy Award as Best Documentary Film “The Gatekeepers” would be very important for everyone who cares about humankind.
“The Gatekeepers” tells the tale previously untold of the Shin Bet, Israel’s ultra-secret internal security service. Filmmaker Dror Moreh convinced six former heads of Shin Bet to tell their story. The conclusion all six men come to is bound to make “The Gatekeepers” controversial. The fact that Shin Bet is the first line of dense against terrorism in Israel and throughout the Middle East makes that conclusion even more significant.
“It is an eye-opener as a Jew,” said Dror Moreh by telephone. “These six men fought all their lives for Israel. This film is in no way pro-Palestine. That is a short-sighted opinion. Go see the film and decide for yourself.”
Moreh interviewed every head of Shin Bet from 1980 up to 2010. The video interviews are interwoven with newsreel footage of war, terrorist strikes, recreated events and civilian interviews. Computer-generated charts and graphics are employed the make the problems easier to comprehend.
The conflict between Jews and Arab members of former Palestine date back to biblical times, but the conflict sharpened with the formation of the State of Israel from formerly British-occupied Palestine in 1948. The conflict ratcheted up after the Six-Day-War of 1967, in which Israel defeated Palestinian attackers and seized land to create a buffer zone called the Gaza Strip between Egypt and Israel.
Moreh’s documentary covers the violence and carnage that has been carried out in the name of religion and national sovereignty. Israel withdrew from the Gaza in 2005 and the radical Muslim Hamas took over in 2007. The most intense area of conflict is the disputed West Bank, which has been walled off from the rest of Jerusalem.
At times it seems to Shin Bet faced hopeless, thankless dilemmas, yet it is the unanimous conclusion of the six Shin Bet leaders that dialogue must continue between Arab and Israeli factions. One of the most telling reveals of the film is that there are certain Jewish religious groups that are every bit as radical and potentially destructive as radical Muslims.
“One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter,” notes one of the leaders. “In the war against terror forget about morality.”
A lifelong resident of Jerusalem, Moreh, 51, explains further.
“The conflict really began when Jews began returning to their homeland 20, 30, 40 years before the creation of the State of Israel,” said Moreh. “The intention of this film is in the best interests of Israel, sincerely promoting dialogue that means what you say and say what you mean.”
The unanimous conclusion of the six leaders is that the Israeli occupation of the West Bank is not only immoral, but ineffective. Those are strong words, but they are based on firsthand experience.

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