Should Israel negotiate with Hamas?

We speak with an ex-Mossad chief and debate the US-Pakistan relationship with former heads of intelligence gathering.

In the first episode of a new series of UpFront, we speak to three former heads of intelligence agencies.

Mehdi Hasan asks former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy about internal Israeli politics and the prospect of peace with Palestinians.

We also debate Afghanistan, the US and Pakistan with Asad Durrani, the former head of Pakistan’s ISI, and Michael Flynn, the former director of the US Defense Intelligence Agency.

Headliner – Inside Israel’s Mossad: Efraim Halevy on UpFront

Last week, Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon resigned, warning the country had been taken over by “dangerous and extreme elements”.  Yaalon’s resignation was followed by the appointment of Avigdor Lieberman, which brought strong criticism from many who say the Israeli government is moving even further to the right.

Former Mossad director Efraim Halevy has been an outspoken critic of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and once said that Jewish extremism was a bigger threat to Israel than a nuclear Iran.

In this week’s Headliner, Mehdi Hasan asks Halevy about the country’s shift to the right, his time in the Mossad and the prospect of peace in the region.

On Lieberman’s appointment, Halevy says that “the events of the last few days…heralds the beginning of a countdown of the end of the administration of Mr Netanyahu.”

The former Israeli intelligence chief says that he believes there will be “no two-state solution in the foreseeable future”, adding that he doubts such a solution will take place under Netanyahu’s leadership.

Halevy also reiterates that Israel should open a dialogue with Hamas, revealing that some of Israel’s top generals believe having Hamas in Gaza “is the best situation for Israel”.

Efraim Halevy wrote the foreword for the book, War, Peace & International Relations in Islam: Muslim scholars and peace accords with Israel. The book has been published in Arabic, Hebrew and English.

More from Mehdi Hasan’s interview with Halevy in which they discuss Syria and the Iran nuclear deal will be available next week at aljazeera.com/upfront

Reality Check – Hiroshima: Was the atomic bomb necessary?

As Barack Obama becomes the first sitting US president to visit Hiroshima, should the US apologise for dropping the atomic bombs on Japan?

The mainstream view of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 is that it was needed in order to force Japan to surrender and bring an end to the war, but a look at history shows that some prominent military commanders and politicians thought otherwise.

In this week’s Reality Check, Mehdi Hasan asks if use of the bombs was justified; and as President Obama visits Hiroshima, should the US apologise to the victims of the bombings?  

Arena – Pakistan-US relationship: A double game?

Earlier this month it was revealed that the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) suspected its Islamabad station chief may have been poisoned by Pakistan’s military intelligence service, the ISI, following the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

While the reports have not been confirmed, some say such level of suspicion points to growing distrust between the two countries.

Those within US intelligence argue that Pakistan is playing a “double game” by saying it supports the US’ role in the region, while also supporting the Taliban. Pakistani officials have denied these long-standing allegations, while others believe double games are essential because their interests do not always align with those of the US. Such distrust, however, has left many to wonder about the future of relations between the two countries.

In this week’s Arena, we bring together former heads of the two countries’ intelligence agencies to debate their sensitive relationship. Michael Flynn, former Director of the US Defense Intelligence Agency under President Obama and author of, The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies, debates Asad Durrani, former head of the ISI, and one of the main architects of Pakistan’s Mujahideen policy in Afghanistan.

Editor’s note: The Arena was recorded before the US drone strike in Pakistan that killed Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour.

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