Reprinted from Gush Shalom
The service is by definition a central pillar of the Israeli occupation. It is admired by (Jewish) Israelis, feared by Palestinians, respected by security professionals everywhere. The occupation could not exist without it.
And here is the paradox: once the chiefs of the service leave their jobs, they become spokesmen for peace. How come?
Actually, there is a logical explanation. Shin Bet agents are the only part of the establishment which comes into real, direct, daily contact with the Palestinian reality. They interrogate Palestinian suspects, torture them, try to turn them into informers. They collect information, penetrate the most remote parts of Palestinian society. They know more about the Palestinians than anybody else in Israel (and perhaps in Palestine, too).
The intelligent among them (intelligence officers can indeed be intelligent, and often are) also think about what they become aware of. They come to conclusions that evade many politicians: that we are faced with a Palestinian nation, that this nation will not disappear, that the Palestinians want a state of their own, that the only solution to the conflict is a Palestinian state next to Israel.
And so we see a strange phenomenon: upon leaving the service, the Shin Bet chiefs, one after another, become outspoken advocates of the "two-state solution."
The same is happening to the chiefs of the Mossad, Israel's external intelligence service.
Their main job its to fight against the Arabs in general, and the Palestinians in particular. Yet the moment they leave the service, they become advocates of the two-state solution, in direct contradiction to the policy of the Prime Minister and his government.
ALL PERSONNEL of the two secret services are, well -- secret. All except the chiefs.
(This is my achievement. When I was a member of the Knesset, I submitted a bill which stipulated that the name of the service chiefs be made public. The bill was rejected, of course, like all my proposals, but soon after the Prime Minister decreed that the names of the chiefs be indeed made public.)
Some time ago, Israeli TV showed a documentary called "The Doorkeepers," in which all the living ex-chiefs of the Shin-Bet and the Mossad were asked about the solutions to the conflict.
All of them, with different levels of intensity, advocated peace based on the "two-state solution." They expressed their opinion that there will be no peace unless the Palestinians achieve a national state of their own.
At the time, Tamir Pardo was the chief of the Mossad and could not express opinions. But since early 2016, he is again a private person. This week he opened his mouth in public for the first time.
As his name suggests, Pardo is a Sephardic Jew, born 63 years ago in Jerusalem. His family came from Turkey, where many Jews found refuge after the expulsion from Spain 525 years ago. So he does not belong to the "Ashkenazi elite" which is so detested by the "Oriental" part of Jewish-Israeli society.