THE GATEKEEPERS is a powerful and surprising documentary about the seeming endless conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
It's based on interviews with six retired Israelis who ran their country's secret counter-terrorism agency from 1980 to 2011.

You might expect these tough guys to take a hard line against the Palestinians, but instead they all believe in a two state solution to the conflict and they also believe that peace cannot be achieved by military means.
Their current position is all the more surprising considering that  the six former intelligence agency leaders have been responsible for killing terrorists (and sometimes innocent bystanders). And yet all six see the futility of the many years of fighting between the Israelis and Palestinians. And most of them express mixed feelings if not regret for what they've done.

One of them says,  "OK. I made a decision and X number of people were killed. They were definitely about to launch an attack. Nobody around them was hurt. It was as sterile as possible. Yet, still you say, there was something unnatural about it. What's unnatural is the power you have to take three people, terrorists, and take their lives in an instant."

THE GATEKEEPERS roughly summarizes the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict since 1967. The movie includes a lot I didn't know partly because I haven't paid much attention. Why? Because to me it's always seemed that nothing but bad news comes out of Israel: suicide bombings, terrorist attacks and counter-attacks ad nauseam with almost no progress toward a peaceful resolution.

So this movie is a revelation. The job of these retired commanders was to prevent terrorist acts by Palestinians as well as by right wing Jews who don't want the Palestinians to have their own state.
And though killing and even torture were a constant part of their jobs, these men now insist that if the killing continues, there will never be peace in Israel.

Political leaders on both sides should pay attention.

Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now.   e mail: