Carmi Gillon, ex-head of Shin Bet - the Internal General Security Service of Israel (ISA) - passed though Hong Kong on a speaking tour in October, 2011. He speaks with some authority on Israel-Palestine issues as he was head of the ISA at the time of the political process with the Palestinians in the early 90s - while at the same time Hamas suicide bombers were newly on the street.
It was said then that: ‘You have to continue with the political process as though there was no terrorism; and you fight terrorism like there was no political process’. He still says, “I think from then until now, 2011, that is the best way to tackle the situation and the best way to deal with it.”
He was not speaking to Jewish Times Asia on behalf of the Israeli government but as a very loyal citizen of Israel, as he stated his position: “I believe we should proceed with the peace process with the Palestinians taking any opportunity possible. I think that the risks are not that high and we should take the risk.”
“On the other hand, we need to be strong when we combat terrorism in our different ways,” he continued. “And, because of this latter stance and opinion, I was publicly attacked by human rights organisations like Amnesty and others. But, I feel those terrorist acts of killing children, women, and old people - on behalf of an ideology, a criminal ideology - that by adopting such policies as we did, then we could give the right answers to those rockets from Gaza as we had to redeploy settlements and carry out other such problem operations. I believed Israel had no alternative.”
Jumping into the present Jewish Times Asia asked: what are the most promising avenues for peace in the immediate future?
Gillon: “To answer that let me begin by saying, to hark back again, that the good thing about Yasser Arafat was, he was very powerful. The bad thing about Yasser Arafat was, he had no intention to reach peace, not inside him. I met Arafat at least one hundred times - and that’s a real number - when he came into Gaza now and then, from July 1994 onwards.