Saturday, November 29, 2003

Two weeks ago the Israeli daily Yedioth Aharonoth published an interview with four former heads of the General Security Service, known by its Hebrew acronym Shabak. Of course several government offcials and many of those outside Israel who consider and/or call themselves supporters of the Jewish state immediately tried to diminish the importance of the criticism directed by these four security specialists against the destructive policies of the ( current ) Israeli government regarding the Palestinians ( for several reasons I have problems using the phrase 'the Palestinian problem' ), by pointing out controversies surrounding or failures ascribed to each of these four ( e.g. Carmi Gillon was head of Shabak when Yitzhak Rabin z"l was murdered, Avraham Shalom was linked to the Bus nr. 300 affair ). Still, I believe that each of them has a more than impressive record when it comes to fighting terror, and criticism from such experts should be listened to, whether you agree with it and with its possible political implications or not. I read the Hebrew original ( by chance it was the first Israeli newspaper that my wife bought here, more than two months after we came to Paris ), but only now did I find an English translation, on Aron Trauring's Israel Peace Weblog. The final lines of the interview contain an expression of the essence of today's primary problem, very well phrased by Ami Ayalon, the former commander of the Israeli navy whom I admire very much and whose National Consensus-initiative - together with professor Sari Nusseibeh - deserves every possible attention and support: "...if the captain doesn’t decide where he wants to go, there is no wind in the world that can take him. [...] The sea is always stormy. And you can’t take advantage of the wind if you don’t know where you want it to take you."

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