Sunday, January 07, 2007

Inside the Secret Service (Shin Bet)

Over the weekend, Haaretz published an interview with a guy called Nissim Levy who has worked for the Shin Bet (Home Security) for over 20 years.

He tells amazing stories like this one....

"Once," he recalls, "I entered a house looking for a wanted man and I was sure he was in the house, because we had sealed it so hermetically. I didn't know exactly where he was. I didn't want to begin to open closets and take them apart or to search under the bed. I approached the mother, because I thought she was a somewhat weaker link. I asked her who her children were, and she told me the names of all the children except one - so I understood that she already knew what we were talking about and why I had come. "I told her: 'That's not all your children, you have more. What about Mohammed?' Then she tells me, 'I forgot Mohammed.' So I ask, 'And where is Mohammed?' And she says, 'Walla, I don't know. I haven't seen him for a long time.'

Now I follow her eyes and check where she's looking. I know that at a certain point her glances will go over him. If he's in the room, her eyes are supposed to speak to me. I saw that she was drawn to the closets. "I said to her, 'You're saying that he's not at home?' She says, 'Yes.' So I said to her, 'No problem. I'm going to fire into the closets now. I'm going to shoot a bullet into each closet. What do you say about that?'

"Now it's a game of nerves, who will give in first. I wouldn't have fired into the closets, but I wanted to save time. To get out of there quickly. Try to imagine the atmosphere. There's absolute silence in the room. Then she says, 'That's enough. Mohammed, come out.'"

So that is his work. However I found two points here exceptionally sinister. The first; that he is fully aware that for every action he performs, he is creating added hatred and future terrorists!

"Let's say that in a certain village there's someone who carried out a terror attack against soldiers. The moment you've traveled to the village, taken the man and left, you've created another four potential terrorists."

That is rather sobering! But here is a second point that really gave me cause for some deep thought. After all, why is he fighting these arab terrorists in their homes?

"My goal as a general security service," Levy continues, "is to reduce the terrorist threat to zero, or almost zero, so that the government in Israel will solve the problem we have, but not when there is a pistol to its head. I and my friends worked like dogs and managed to reduce the problem almost to a minimum. There were almost no terror attacks, and then the government came and said, 'There's nothing, so why make a decision now? Let's postpone it.' And they postponed it. In this equation I kept my part of the bargain and the governments didn't keep theirs."

In other words, he is saying that when e have quiet it is not just for the sake of quiet, because it always spirals to even greater violence. The violence of tomorrow will be worse than today, so the calm is supposed to be used to gain political headway.

IS this just Haaretz talking? Is there any political progress to be made? Whichever way, this was a fascinating piece.

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