Maclean’s Interview: Efraim Halevy

Former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy on the prospects for peace with the Palestinians, and Iran, and why Israel is indestructible

Efraim Halevy is the former head of the Mossad, Israel’s national intelligence agency, where he worked closely with five Israeli prime ministers—Yitzhak Shamir, Yitzhak Rabin, Benjamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak and Ariel Sharon. He is the author of Man in the Shadows: Inside the Middle East Crisis With a Man Who Led the Mossad.

Q: What are the real chances of peace between Israel and the Palestinians?
A: I think peace between Israel and the Palestinians hinges on the Palestinians proving the capability of nationhood. I don’t think that nationhood can be thrust upon the Palestinians from without. A nation has to be built from within—and it has to be purely Palestinians who create and build their own nation. The way things are at the moment, the Palestinians are not creating their own nation. The nation is being created from without. The United States is training their military forces; Tony Blair is chaperoning them and helping them build their economic and political institutions; the European Union is helping in other fields. In other words, what is being done is the Palestinian nation is being built with outside help. This, I think, cannot succeed. Whether the Palestinians have it within their capacity to transform what they have into a nation that has an in-built hierarchy, that has an in-built structure of discipline and orderly conduct—this is something that we don’t know yet.

Q: Do you have a sense whether they’ll be able to do it?
A: I don’t know. I think that if it is not the case, then they’re in for a lot of trouble. I think it is in Israel’s interest that there should be a Palestinian state—I think it is in Israel’s interest that there should be a Palestinian people that is capable of sustaining a Palestinian state. But what has been going on in recent years is not very encouraging.

Q: Should Israel negotiate with Hamas?
A: I believe Israel should try to work toward a situation where Hamas would be part of the solution, and not part of the problem. Hamas is not a movement with a religious leadership. It is a secular movement. It will take time, but Hamas has already moved from its original positions. What we should be intent on doing is not to beat Hamas ideologically—they will not beat us and we cannot beat them. If we resort to an ideological confrontation, it will go on forever. What we need to do is to bring Hamas to a point where it will understand that it is in its interest to reach an accommodation with Israel. And I believe that they are on the way. I would remind you that when Gorbachev concluded it was in the interest of the Soviet Union to bring an end to the Cold War, it was in the end the Soviets who took care of the Communist party, and actually sent it into opposition.

Q: What signs do you see that would indicate Hamas is moving from its stated goals?
A: First of all, Hamas’s leader, Khaled Meshal, is on the record as saying that he is willing to accept the borders of 1967 as the provisional borders of a Palestinian state. He is not relinquishing the ultimate dream that he will control the whole of Palestine. But he says that, for the moment, he will accept the 1967 borders. This brings him toward the position where he is accepting the reality of Israel. This is the beginning of his understanding, and the understanding of others, that it is not within the capability of Hamas to bring about the extinction of the state of Israel. They understand that Israel is indestructible—they aren’t saying it, but they understand it. And I think this is something we have to encourage and develop.

Q: Is the proposed prisoner swap between Hamas and Israel good news for peace?
A: If there is a prisoner swap, what is clear is that neither side will achieve all its aims. Each side will have to make very painful concessions—Israel is going to certainly make a painful concession if it goes through with the swap, and Hamas will also make painful concessions because it will not get the release of all the people it wants. When you make painful concessions, you begin your march on the road to making an accommodation. Once you make mutual painful concessions, then the parties begin on the path that will bring a degree of conciliation. It will not be a full conciliation at the beginning; the conciliation will take much longer. Maybe more than a generation, maybe two. But the conciliation process will have been launched.

Q: What sort of threat does Iran pose to Israel?
A: Israel and Iran do not have conflicting interests. The conflicting interest is between Israel and the regime in Iran. And the regime in Iran has unfortunately painted itself into a corner. What they have done is, for 30 years or more, they have acted to obtain a direct channel of negotiations with the U.S.—and for decades the U.S. rejected them. When the U.S. changed its policy and decided to engage Iran, Iran announced it had certain demands. It wants to be recognized as a regional power, and it wants to pursue the target of bringing an end to the state of Israel. By its own doing, Iran has created a situation whereby it cannot reach an ultimate accommodation with the U.S. without relinquishing its active pursuit of the destruction of Israel—because the U.S. would never permit this to happen. So, figuratively speaking, by their own doing, the road from Tehran to Washington goes through Jerusalem, which from their point of view, I don’t think is such a wise thing to do.

Q: But what about the nuclear threat?
A It is a serious threat. It is not an existential threat. It is not within the power of Iran to destroy the state of Israel—at best it can cause Israel grievous damage. Israel is indestructible. I believe that Israel has a sufficient capability, both offensive and defensive, to take care of any threat, including the Iranian threat.

Q: Is there a potential diplomatic solution to the conflict?
A: There should be a dialogue between the Iranians and the U.S. Up till now, the dialogue has not produced results—the Iranians are being very obstructive. The U.S. is now launching an effort to bring about a new wave of sanctions against Iran, and the Iranians are retaliating very arrogantly. I believe that the U.S. will pursue these sanctions and will also pursue negotiations at the same time. If the Iranians are foolish enough to reject the outstretched hand of the U.S., and of the entire world, then they will have to pay a very, very severe penalty. There are also elements of last resort, but I don’t want to go into those. My take is that it could well be that the Iranians will make a last-minute decision to not test the last resorts of the other side. The Iranians have changed course before when they felt they were in real peril. I don’t think they feel that way yet.

Q: What is the state of Canada-Israel relations in the wake of Mossad agents being found with stolen Canadian passports?
A: I have more than reason to believe that all the difficulties that were characteristic of the past have been removed. And I believe that there are strong ties and co-operation, at diplomatic and other levels, between Canada and Israel. I think relations have developed in a very substantive manner.

Q: But was there a period of wariness when the passport scandal was revealed?
A: I think we went through a period in which relations were—how should I say?—at bay. But both sides reached the conclusion that it was in their mutual interest to find a solution.

Q: George W. Bush was a strong supporter of Israel. How does Obama compare?
A: In the relationship between Israel and the U.S., we’ve had ups and downs. We had 16 years of Clinton and Bush Jr., which was a sort of golden period. Obama is a different person, with a different style, and I think we have to accommodate those styles. We can’t always believe that there is someone in the White House who is going to be as friendly as some others. But I am sure that President Obama recognizes—and I know that he recognizes—that Israel is a very valuable and important partner in most of the endeavours that the U.S. is involved in globally. And I know for a fact that there are people surrounding him—and I know some of them personally—that would advise him that when it comes to the nitty-gritty the position of Israel as a pivot in the Middle East is of extreme importance to the U.S. Israel is the focal point of the Middle East, at least geographically, and you must assume that being where we are, we perform a very important and unique role. We are a point of sanity, of democracy, of capability, of devotion. We have common values and aims that transcend one kind of an administration or another. And I know Obama respects this.

Q: Do you see another war on the horizon for Israel?
A: I would prefer not to answer the question for two reasons: because Israel has a record of having to go to war in circumstances that have a surprise—the ’67 war was a surprise, the ’73 war was a surprise, the ’96 war was a surprise. The Middle East has this characteristic of suddenly producing a catalytic turn of events. You get up in the morning, you suddenly see shifting sands, and within a very short space of time one thing leads to another and you have a war on your hands. Secondly, in Jewish religion, prophecy is given to fools—and I prefer to not be any more foolish than is absolutely necessary. Having said this, I cannot rule out the possibility of another confrontation. The situation in Lebanon—where Hezbollah is a state within a state, and has amassed an enormous new arsenal of missiles—cannot last for a very long time, and is pregnant with the possibility of a confrontation. And Israel is preparing for it.

Q: You discount the term “occupation” as it references the West Bank and Gaza. Why?
A: In 1947, the UN passed a resolution setting up two states in Palestine. Israel accepted it; the Arab states rejected it. In 1948, there was a war, and at the end of the war Israel occupied a certain part of the territory that was formerly Palestine and the rest was occupied by Jordan and Egypt. In 1967, the Jordanians launched an attack against Israel. We had to move against an attack against us and we took over the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. But the status of these territories is questionable: if you say we occupy them, then we occupy them from an occupier. There was never a Palestinian independent state, so technically speaking we occupied British-mandated territory. But this is absurd. Legally speaking, we are not an occupying force.

Q: What about the fact that Israel is controlling land on which another people, culture and language are prevalent?
A: Israel is not occupying those areas. It is maintaining them. It has not annexed the territories, or declared them part of Israel. We are administering the territories, because they had to be administered when they fell into our hands as the result of a war we did not initiate. We suddenly found ourselves with two territories. We could have handed them back to the Egyptians and the Jordanians, but we didn’t. We could have handed them back to the occupiers—would that have been better?

Maclean’s Interview: Efraim Halevy

  1. Excellent interview and very sensible until the last question, the answer to which is sophomoric.

  2. I am thoroughly impressed with Isreali leaders. I realize that this gentleman was not a leader of state, but he is impressive nonetheless.

    I think that these leaders are so impressive because the small nation is young and constantly in danger.

    Here in the United States, we go from decent to disaster and disaster to decent, in regard to our leadership.

    I guess that is a sign that we are becoming a aged democracy, having passed through our golden period .

    I wonder if Isreal would let me live there, if it gets too bad here…

    • Please, go immediately!

  3. After watching the venemous Islamists bomb civilians to smithereems, take down buildings, blow up embassies, honour-kill women for talking to unrelated men, shoot rockets at civilians, force women to walk around in giant black canvas sacks, murder girls for going to school, and other daily atrocities, it sounds to me like Herzl had a point. While the Arabs needn't be barbarians, large numbers of them choose to be. The Israelis want Israel, but the Islamists want the whole world. As for the whole "ethnic nationalism is a disaster" nonsense, leave Israel alone until the dozens of other nation states based on the ethinic identitiy of the majority are gone. Do you spend your days posting hostile and defamatory screeds against France, Germany, Japan, Italy, Saudi Arabia etc.? Not that I could find – your obsessive focus on Israel gives you away. Be honest – why do you really hate Israel? It's not the unfortunate deaths of civilians (end the Darfur massacre before you worry about Israel); it's not ethnic nationalism (see above); it's not military occupation (if it were, you would spend your days protesting Syria's de facto control of Lebanon through Hezbollah, and various other occupations around the world). Come on, be honest, what is it about Israel that so different from all the other countries you don't bother to protest? Come on, you can say the word – it starts with a J.

    • You meant to say that Blackwater does all those atrocities, didn’t you? And with a cloth around their faces, how easy it is for them to do that and get away with it. Have you ever wondered why the US military have invented remote-controlled cars? To deliver their car bombs into crowded places. That’s why eyewitnesses say the cars were driving so erratically before they exploded. And how easy it is for the homicidal yanks to just strap a body into the driver’s seat.

      Take a good look at yourself, brainwashed zombies. Any country like the US, that goes into another and kills innocent people en masse so self-righteously and in the guise of a ‘war on terror’ that didn’t exist before they showed up – has to be the most evil nation in existence, besides the satanic cult of ‘israel’.

  4. Mr. Halevy says , "Legally speaking, we are not an occupying force" . This is so wrong I do not know where to start. What is most frightening is that Mr. Halevy and like minded individuals actually believe there is no occupation. Alternatively he may have a grip on reality and knows there is a cruel demeaning occupation but to admit same would be inconvenient to their stated goal of removing all Arabs from the so called chosen peoples` land .

    • "Alternatively he may have a grip on reality and knows there is a cruel demeaning occupation but to admit same would be inconvenient to their stated goal of removing all Arabs from the so called chosen peoples` land"

      Um…who is "they" exactly? Halevy explicitly says he supports a Palestinian State, no Israeli government has ever, ever stated that their goal is to remove all Arabs – for christ's sake, Jaffa, which is right adjacent to Tel-Aviv (Israel's most important economic, technological and cultural center AND the location for Israel's Ministry of Defence) was and is an Arab city. If Israel was an ethnic cleanser, if that was their goal — don't you think Jaffa would've been the first to be 'cleansed'?

      On what planet exactly have you been spending most of your time?

      • Maybe Jaffa wasn't 'cleansed' but Arab Israelis are delegated to 2nd class citizenship. Repeated denied construction permits, specifically denied freedom to marry Palestinians who live on the other side of the green line (this little jem was upheld by the Israeli Supreme court), and of course, denied the chance to become high level leaders in the country where they're citizens. Separate but equal in the truest Alabama sense.

        As for ethnic cleansing, Israel has done its fair share — just ask Benny Morris.

        I guess you've been away from Earth for a while. Welcome back.

  5. What about Deirr Yassin , Kafr Kassem, and Qibya? These are examples of Israeli terrorism/

    • Deirr Yassin- During a war to open the road to Jerusalem in 1948 War

      The other two happened during war time as well. You must be one of those who thinks Hiroshima was a war crime

      • I did not realize Israel had made peace with the Palestinians. I thought Israel considers itself to be at war. Thus if you can justify "Israeli terrorism" as justified by war, why not apply the same logic to "Palestinian terrorism?"

  6. Halevy seems a sensible and grounded man. It is unfortunate that there is no one to engage with on the Palestinian Arab side. No amount of talk with their present representatives is going to bridge the reality gap that exists. Any concessions on the part of Israel must rest on recognition by the Palestinian Arabs that they have lost six wars and that their so-called "Arab brothers" have left them twisting in the wind. Instead of leaving their Palestinian brothers in wretched refugee camps for over 50 years, any decent "brother" would have taken them in. God knows, with all their oil revenues, they could certainly have afforded it. But, no, they'd rather have them as a bargaining chip and squeeze toy at an international pity party. We need to decline the invitation to that party and turn our attention to problems that offer some prospect of resolution,

    • Ah yes, so easy to blame the victims. Surely, the key question is why an essentially defenceless people who have been declared "belligerently occupied" by the UNSC, the US State Dept, the International Court of Justice etc., are required to "negotiate" with their occupier, Israel. Kuwait was not expected to bargain with Iraq and for that matter, during WWII, occupied France et. al. were not expected to negotiate with their occupier, Germany. I have searched high and low throughout international law (much of which came about as a result of the horrors committed by the Nazis, including the slaughter of 6 million Jews) and have not found a special provision that renders Israel free to violate it.

      • They are required to negotiate b/c UNSC 242 says that all parties – that includes the Palestinians and Arab States – must terminate "all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force" – remember the Arabs rejected initially both this UNSC as well as the UN Partition plan. Israel is NOT required to leave everything, without a peace agreement, and without recognition of its right to exist in peace and security.

      • "Kuwait was not expected to bargain with Iraq and for that matter, during WWII, occupied France et. al. were not expected to negotiate with their occupier"

        Kuwait was taken and annexed by Iraq — as Halevy points out, the West Bank was not taken from the Palestinians but from the Jordanians – and – the Arab states had been in a state of war with Israel since 1948 and when Egypt blockaded the straits of Tiran and ordered the UN Peacekeepers out of Sinai, that was an act of aggression and war — but of course, being an international law expert, you must already know that.

  7. Oh Jon, seriously — you need to stop with the hyperbole and falsehoods — it does no one any good and certainly not the Palestinians themselves.

    "Efraim is still giving us the 19th century language of demeaning indigenous people who can't figure out how to run a state."

    First, this word "indiginous" is a trope — what makes someone indiginous? I accept that Jews and Palestinian Arabs are indiginous to the land and region — but all peoples have varying lines of descent — some Palestinians used to be Jews who converted to Islam and adopted the Arabic language – they are certainly indiginous — but what of those Arabs who, in a region without State borders just 80yrs ago moved in? They indiginous? What of the Palestinians, some very prominent families who are descendants of the Arab forces of Saladin who expelled the Crusaders? They indiginous? How about we stop with this "indiginous" language and just accept that people with a historical connection of land and people born or whose parents were born in that land (majority of both Israelis and Palestinians) are indinigous.

  8. Second, he didn't say "Palestinians can't build their own state because they are palestinians" or b/c they are Arabs, or Muslims, or whatever — he said point black that Palestinians should have a state, it would be a good thing — but that no one can foist a State on them, they ultimately must build their own State and sense of identity and political order. You apparently like to read in things that are not there.

  9. "They are the only justification that can be used to maintain the supremacy of a race over another….Israel is now officially an apartheid regime."

    What "race" are we talking about here? Palestinians and Jews are both semites, they both have almost identical genetic markers, they look alike — the only one obsessing over race (like a racist would do) is you! Further, what "supremacy"? Israeli Arabs (Palestinians) vote in Israeli elections, they are represented in Parliament, they have their own political parties, including an Islamist one, Arabs have been ministers in the Israeli government, Arabs have achieved high ranks in the Israeli Army, an Israeli Supreme Court Justice is Arab (Salim Joubran) — exactly what kind of voting rights did blacks have in South Africa Jon? Could you name me any black supreme court justices in Apartheid-Era South Africa? (hint: there were none). You know, you can criticize Israel and Israeli actions, as I often do, and we can all agree that Israel, like all countries, is imperfect and makes many wrongs and mistakes — you can do all that w/out resorting to nonsense and lies.

  10. "Ethnic nationalism is a disaster, especially if it excludes the indigenous people."

    So, I guess we'll be seeing you at an anti-Turkish demonstration eh? I guess you believe Turkey should be wiped off the map — b/c there (Turkey) we have a country which it is a crime, punishible by prison sentence, to "insult Turkishness" or publish in the Kurdish language and the Turks swept in to Anatolia from Central Asia, displaced the 'indiginous people' (Turkey is today 99% Muslim…whereas Israel is 20% Arab, and the WB and Gaza is, if you do not count Israeli settlers, 100% Arab — and w/Israeli settlers, maybe 98%). Just 80 yrs ago, all of western Turkey was ethnically cleansed…..but Jon, for some reason, b/c I know people like you, you will not be questioning Turkey's right to exist or hating on it any time soon.

  11. And the reason that ‘israel’ has made the yanks and allies systematically murder all the Muslims and create a massive propaganda campaign against them, is because the Jews have found the Ark of the Covenant. Now, they want to rebuild the Temple of Solomon. To do that, they have to kill all the people opposed to it, because the Dome of the Rock is built on the site where the temple is to be built.

    The Jews will place the antichrist (King of the Jews) on the throne of Solomons Temple and call him their ‘messiah’. Don’t be fooled by all the bullsh** in the media.

    But, due to the amount of people rising against ‘israel’ now, I’d say they’ll wipe out six billion people with plagues and poverty and provoked internal riots via their secret service and those of allies – just to make the way clear for the antichrist to take his throne. ‘israel’ is evil and anybody who supports them is a brainwashed zombie.

    • Back from your book burning rally I see

    • This is crazy talk from some sort of wacko jacko.

  12. Part 2:
    (C) In accordance with the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, ratified by Israel, and further underscoring the illegality of the settlements, Part 2, Article 8, section B, paragraph viii of the Rome Statue of the International Court (1998) defines "the transfer directly or indirectly by the Occupying power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies" as a War Crime, indictable by the International Criminal Court.
    (D) On 24 February 2004, the U.S. State Department reaffirmed its earlier position in a report entitled Israel and the Occupied Territories, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: "Israel occupied the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights after the 1967 War…. The international community does not recognize Israel's sovereignty over any part of the occupied territories."

  13. (E) In its 2004 ruling, the International Court of Justice ruled that “No territorial acquisition resulting from the threat or use of force shall be recognized as legal.” The World Court denoted this principle a “corollary” of the U.N. Charter and as such “customary international law” and a “customary rule” binding on all member States of the United Nations. On this crucial point none of the Court's 15 justices registered any dissent

    Also, Halevy is apparently not aware that Israel has annexed East Jerusalem, including its illegally extended borders, which comprise a huge chunk of the occupied West Bank. (Israel has also annexed Syria's Golan Heights)

  14. "I think peace between Israel and the Palestinians hinges on the Palestinians proving the capability of nationhood. "

    Am I the only one that finds this statement offensive?

  15. How can the Palestinians form their own state when all they want to do is kill each other? Who would Govern it? The PLO? Hamas? Some other band of terrorists? A state with a stable Government would be good because logically it would be interested in surviving as a viable state. Launching terrorist attacks or wars against Israel wouldn't be conducive to its survival. However, back to the problem. Palestinians are too interested in killing each other when they are murdering innocent Israelis's to form a stable state. Also you notice the question about Obama. The Israelis seem to know they have an adversary in the White House. One constrained by U.S. politics, but Obama is not a friend of Israel. They should never forget that!

  16. Says Efraim Halevi, "In Jewish religion, prophecy is given to fools". That statement of his should be rephrased this way: "Jewish tradition has it, that since the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem, prophecy has been given to fools". I'm sure he didn't mean to offend the Biblical Prophets of Israel…

  17. Part 1:

    Halevy: "Israel is not occupying those areas. It is maintaining them. It has not annexed the territories, or declared them part of Israel."

    (A) Security Council Resolution 446 (22 March 1979) “[Affirms] once more that the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949 is applicable to the Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem,
    “1. Determines that the policy and practices of Israel in establishing settlements in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967 have no legal validity and constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East;.."
    (B) Security Council Resolution 465 (1 March 1980) "determines that all measures taken by Israel to change the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure or status of the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, or any part thereof, have no legal validity…"

  18. there are a number of reasons why, israel argues, the 4th geneva convention should not/does not apply to the occupied territories.

    (1) the geneve convention applies to conflicts between states. "palestine" is not and never has been a state.

    (2) the geneva convention is talking about forced transfers and deportations. it was ratified, rather explicitly, as a reaction to the nazi practice of deporting jews and other "subhumans" to concentration camps (and extermination facilities). it is pretty tenuous to compare those sorts of deportations to the choices made by israelis to live in the territories.

    (3) other un resolutions (sp. 242) and agreements like the oslo accords specify that sovereignty over the territories should be decided by peaceful negotiation between the parties. thus, the argument goes, these resolutions/agreements at least tacitly tolerate israeli presence in the territories until such negotiation is completed.

  19. i'd say that people of good faith probably can differ on the issues, but from my perspective, israel makes some very strong points, particularly on #2 – no one in israel was forcibly transferred or deported to the territories. it's really a reach/special pleading to interpret the geneva convention that way. that said, most of the world does. can all the world be wrong? i think so, but it's difficult to make such a case to most people.

  20. Ask any Arab: Macleans is Pro-Jewish and Anti-Arab-Islam. Why didn't the interviewer ask this Sharon look-alike about Israel's Nuclear Program? Why is Iran a a threat and Israel is not? This was rehearsed Macleans style. I have Jewish friends and frankly their is huge difference between Judaism and Zionism. One is a religion and the other is a killing-machine in disguise. Follow the money, you will know the truth.

    • "Why didn't the interviewer ask this Sharon look-alike about Israel's Nuclear Program? "

      Maybe because it wasn't the topic of conversation…when people, particularly high ranking ones grant an interview, there is usually a set number of topics. You may as well ask why Maclean's didn't ask him about his favorite kind of pasta dish.

    • "Why is Iran a a threat and Israel is not?"

      Because Iran signed the NPT, and thus is bound under international law not to produce nuke weapons – it is given access to nuclear technology however. So, if a country can use the NPT, which was meant to stop nuclear proliferation, to gain enough knowledge to produce nuclear weapons and actually produce them — the entire NPT regime falls apart. Further, Iran is a religious-theocratic regime, one that executes homosexuals and has supported terror groups not just against Israel and the US but against the Sunni Arab regimes. No one would care or should care if a secular, democratic state happens to have nukes (would anyone in the world lose sleep if Canada or Sweden acquired nuclear weapons?) — it is a whole new ballgame when the nuclear armed country is run by religious clerics and threatens other countries with annihilation [in contravention to UN Charter art 2(4)].

      • Israel already violates International law, while claiming it does not. Thus stating it signed the NPT is a fallacious argument.

        If democracy promotes stability with regards to nuclear weapons, I guess you are comfortable with a nuclear Pakistan?

        Do you consider Israel secular? I generally see it described as a Jewish state, not a secular one.

    • You ask rhetorically -"Why is Iran a a threat and Israel is not?" For the same reason a nuclear Britain or France or even India is not a threat. Nuclear weapons in the hands of a democracy are always less of a concern than are nuclear weapons in the hands of a totalitarian regime. But you already knew this.

      • Exactly, Alan. Democracy is very important.

        • Israel is more a Jim Crow democracy than a Canadian-style democracy. 20% of the population is non-Jewish and denied equal access to land, education, and high-level positions in the government. As Thomas Friedman has pointed out, Israel need to decide whether it’s a true democracy or a Jewish-state.

  21. Mossad's motto is " By way of deception, thou shalt do War." IOW, deceit is Mossad's baldly stated m.o. That said, how much of what Efraim Halevy, "former" Mossad head tells us is an intentional lie, tactical disinformation, a misdirecting hall of mirrors? We shouldn't trust Helevy any further than we could throw him. Halevy says: "Israel is not an occupying force" … that it is (ahem!) "maintaining" Palestinian territory (meanwhile, of course, building Jews-only roads and infrastructure on it, including its massive apartheid wall, bulldozing Palestinians homes and olive groves, making the movement of Palestinians between home and work site agonizing with long waits at scores of checkpoints, and so on). That's like saying to the thousands of Palestinian prisoners, including the hundreds of children Israel has locked up: "Folks, the reason you're here is for, er, your own good: you're in, uh, protective custody now. Behave meekly and co-operate, and everything will be just fine!" When a rep from an organ that plainly tells you it lies to achieve its goals, surely the wise thing would be to remain skeptical and cynical of every words he utters, including (to quote Mary McCarthy on Stalin-era, serial liar and propagandist, Lillian Hellman) the "and" and "the."

  22. I am disturbed at Halavey's view of the Palestinian people…They are a disbanded people because of the circumstances of their exodus . How can a nation be formed when the Palestinians are being constantly undermined by attacks that ruin their infrastructure and kill their friends and family. It is easy to see in Halavey's rhetoric the neo-colonial thought that the Palestinians are not ready for democracy. Wasn't that the thought of the occupying powers in the early 20th century in the Middle East. I would argue that the problems do not exist internally within the Palestinian people, but externally from the constant pessimissm tied to the Palestinian cause… Also if I can recall correctly wasn'y Israel established by British mandate and funded by Western Nations(Israel is subject to about 3-5 billion USD every year…hence all the diplomatic talk spewing from Halavey's mouth about the US). It is disgusting to see the arrogance that has perpetuated this situation for too long. I'm sorry but interview was far from amazing or intelligent. It was frustrating and sad to read the discriminating words of an Isreali in high office.

    • I am all for a Palestinian State…but the Palestinians, to form a State, do have the support of the international community, the US, UK, France, and even successive Israeli governments and receive hundreds of millions of dollars each year. The do not not have a state for lack of funds.

  23. By the way, I would like to clarify the rejection of the 1947 partition plan. Since when have the Arab nations looked after the Palestinian cause. I think any educated mind that knows remotely anything about the situation can determine that Arab leaders are arrogant themselves and can not see past facilitating the extension of their own power. The Palestinian people did not reject the 1947 UN Partition Plan, it was the Arab leaders…and to vindicate them (although some do not derserve it) The Palestinian people made up more than 70% of the population yet they recieved only 47% of the land, which did not include the coast and the primary ecomomic areas within present day Israel. Why would any group except secondary status?

    • Check the records of the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) established in 1947, of which Canada was a member. It spent visited the area extensively and met with all parties. The leaders of the Palestinian Jewish community were extremely co-operative and made a vert favourable im[ression. The leaders of the Palestine Arab community gave little or no co-operation at all. As a result UNSCOP recommended the partition plan that was brought forward to the General Assembly and passed in November, 1947. The pivotal committee vote was Canada's, whose representative, Judge Rand, was a known anti-Semite. However he was so impressed with the Jewish community's efforts and so unimpressed with the Arab;s efforts he tipped the balance.

  24. So Israel is not occupying territories, it's colonizing them? That is term applied when natives do not have equal legal right but occupying force favours own settlers.

    Well, if you want to call yourself "democracy" in 21st century, you have to give them full citizenship, something which can be described as fair compensation for confiscating property and allow return of refugees. How can some Ethiopian or Russian vaguely describing himself as "Jew" having more legal right then person who was forced to leave by war?

    BTW, please don't invoke Germans in post-WWII Europe. Palestinians did not even started war in 1948 and certainly never committed comparable attrocities.

  25. Why anyone would think that placing 6 million Jews in a tiny enclave surrounded by 180 million hostile Arabs would lead to anything other than what we have — unending geopolitical strife — is a mystery to me. The Final Solution will be either another Holocaust as Israel is "wiped off the map" by a nuclear Iran and others (Egypt, Iraq, Syria) or, if the Jews wake up to their untenable position, a final Exodus from the land of Arab Palestine which they now occupy to a land that can provide true security, that being the USA and Canada.

    • The U S created Israel to ensure control of the middle east and its reaources. Is did not play out as nicely as they had planned. The U.S sends three Billion dollars to Israel each year to ensure it does not fail. The U S is a me myself and I sort of country. Their unbalanced support for Israel cannot be justified. If the U S could find another middle east with unlimited fossil fuels that they could exploit with ease their support for Israel would evaporate .

    • I completely agree – it's interesting that this type of comment is rarely made … in these terms.

    • russ: there is another 'solution' for your set of foolish ones: Israel looses its patience and wipe out Iran from the map, by doing so it would be a knife on the throat of other hostile neighbours.
      Since Iran still does not have the bomb, and Israel does, it seems more possible this option rather than your favorite one, russ.
      You are pathetic.

  26. actually the peace between israeli and palestinian depence also on the policy of israel-i am sure that if israeli goverment will be a lil more concerned about rights of palestinians the relations of our people will be improved.

  27. Keep on bending over for Israel, western media – its fully expected of you by all of us now.

  28. This man (AN OCCUPIER) makes me feel sick … as simple as that.

  29. "I think peace between Israel and the Palestinians hinges on the Palestinians proving the capability of nationhood."

    I'm sorry but I find that statement offensive and condescending.

  30. The point that that the ex-leader of an intelligence agency should not be taken at his word is a good one, but much of what he says rings true. Of course it is in Israel's interest to have a peaceful and stable Palestinian nation as its neighbour- and the expression that they have to choose this course for themselves is far from condescending. Condescension (and colonialist) would be the idea that their governance should be imposed on them. This is the opposite- it is explicitly stating that the only stable Palestinian nation will be one they build for themselves. They have had decades to do so but have chosen to extend war itself.
    That said, the Israeli settlement extensions is an absolute disaster for the peace process, emboldening the radical Palestinians and weakening the peacemakers, something which is being done purely to satisfy domestic Israeli politics. Sharon showed finally the backbone to stand up to the settlers, but Netanyahu absolutely must do the same. It is possible that Palestinian peacemakers can emerge in this context, but it is much less likely.

  31. Well, at least they are allowed to live in their homes, vote, have political parties..as compared Jews who are prohibited from living in Arab countries. In 1948, close to 800,000 Jews were kicked out of their homes where they had lived for over 2000 years, billions of dollars were confiscated from them. Luckily, their Jewish brethren in Israel took them in with open arms. Can't say the same for the Arab refugees of the 1948 wars. There are two sides to every story buddy.

  32. Palestinians rely on constant financial aid due to their inability to be self-sufficient. They cry for an expansion of their land yet they cannot even manage what they already have.

    If they were smart, they'd get their act together and build their economy and goverment to become a serious force. But their is not enough cooperation among them to accomplish great tasks, they stab each other in the back and shoot rockets at israel, then they cry foul when Israel decides they don't like you shooting rockets at them anymore so they're going to put a stop to it.

    Palestinians will always blame they jews for their problems while they contribute nothing to the world. The US and Canada were occupied by the british, we don't blame them, we take care of ourselves.

  33. Q: George W. Bush was a strong supporter of Israel. How does Obama compare?

    I very much enjoyed this question and I very much like the reply.

  34. Very much enjoyed the entire interview session.Thanks for the awesome work.

  35. Have an israeli leader EVER….EVER appologize or admits their unlawfulness?
    israel is a threat to world peace no doubt..

Sign in to comment.