|VIEW FROM THE FIELD: CHARLES KRAUSE ON THE MIDEAST PEACE PROCESS|
November 18, 1997
in this forum:
Is Israel on the verge of a "nervous breakdown?" If the peace process deteriorates, what will happen to U.S. interests in the Middle East? Will the Israeli government ever address the economic problems of the Palestinians? Are the leaders the barriers to peace, or is it the general will of the Israeli and Palestinian people?
November 7, 1997:
Charles Krause investigates the political pressure facing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
November 5, 1997:
Charles Krause explores the political pressure facing Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
November 3, 1997:
Israel's Prime Minister on the latest round of Mideast peace talks.
Browse the NewsHour's coverage of the Middle-East.
Ricky Zenith of Butte, MT asks: Did you find differing attitudes toward the press? There has been a lot of criticism about the mainstream press' coverage of the Middle East. Were the Palestinians and other Arab groups wary of you as a member of the American press? How do you gain their trust?
Charles Krause responds:As a journalist who's been at this particular line of work for nearly 20 years, I am not so naive as to think that everyone I interview bares his or her soul to me or tells me his or her deepest and darkest secrets. Obviously, different groups and individuals make different assessments as to the fairness and objectivity of the journalists, publications and other media they're dealing with.
On this trip, we had the opportunity to interview Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as Palestinian officials close to Chairman Arafat. In as highly charged and politicized a situation as the Arab-Israeli conflict, it is to be expected that each side will tell you its version of events and not always tell you everything you might like to know.
That having been said, however, there was no one we asked, except Arafat (who is ill), who turned down our request for an interview on this trip. The NewsHour has a superb reputation for fairness, which opens doors shut to many others. Indeed, one of Prime Minister Netanyahu's aides barged into the room just as we were to start our interview with him to say that he had a more pressing engagement and would have to end the interview before it started. After several rapid-fire exchanges in Hebrew which I didn't understand, the Prime Minister turned to me and said in English, "let's go." I found out later he had over-ruled his aide, deciding that the NewsHour was more important than the Chinese ambassador.
On the other side, I'm sure some of the Palestinians were wary of us. But again, Arafat and many of those around him have been interviewed by the NewsHour many times in the past. They seemed more than willing to talk to us again on this trip---largely because I think both the Palestinians and the Israelis believe the peace process is collapsing and that what the U.S. government does about it will be crucial. They believe an interview on the NewsHour provides a direct conduit to policy and opinion makers in the United States.