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Week of 7.10.09

Peace and Prosperity in the West Bank?

Can a breakthrough experiment finally bring peace to the West Bank?

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Once one of the most dangerous and violent cities in the West Bank, Jenin was the scene of frequent battles between the Israeli military and Palestinian fighters, and the hometown of more than two dozen suicide bombers.

The Weekly Q
Today, however, there's been a huge turnaround. Jenin is now the center of an international effort to build a safe and economically prosperous Palestinian state from the ground up. On Jenin's streets today, there's a brand new professional security force loyal to the Palestinian Authority and funded in part by the United States. But can the modest success in Jenin be replicated throughout the West Bank, or will the effort collapse under the intense political pressure from all sides?

This week, NOW talks directly with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the international community's envoy to the region and an architect of the plan. We also speak with a former commander of the infamous Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in Jenin about his decision to stop using violent tactics, and to residents of Jenin about their daily struggles and their hopes for the future.

To Blair, the Jenin experiment can be pivotal in finally bringing peace to the Middle East. He tells NOW, "This is the single most important issue for creating a more stable and secure world."

This show is part of Enterprising Ideas, NOW's continuing spotlight on social entrepreneurs working to improve the world through self-sustaining innovation.

Next week NOW on PBS reports from inside the Israeli Defense Force to get the Israeli perspective on peace in the Middle East.

Next week NOW on PBS reports from inside the Israeli Defense Force to get the Israeli perspective on peace in the Middle East.

Related Links

Web Features

Slideshow: Behind the Scenes in the West Bank
Skoll Foundation: Social Entrepreneur Daniel Lubetzky
Lubetzky won a Skoll Award in 2008 for his work fostering entrepreneurial joint ventures between Arabs and Israelis to promote stability in the Middle East through economic cooperation.

Wide Angle: Heart of Jenin
The PBS international newsmagazine tells the story of how a Palestinian boy's tragic death gave five Israelis the gift of life.

The Office of Tony Blair: Middle East

In the News

Associated Press: U.S.-trained Palestinian force is keen for action

BBC: Working the West Bank checkpoints

CNN: Obama: No green light for Israel to attack Iran

Christian Science Monitor: Bottom line for Palestinian entrepreneurs: Reinvent the economy

Daily KOS: Boom Times for West Bank Economy

NPR: Israel Eases Grip on Four West Bank Towns

New York Times: Israelis Cede More Control of West Bank Security

Foreign Policy Magazine: Stand Firm on Settlements

Reuters: Blair sees Middle East deal if Israel acts

Viewer Comments

Commenter: Ollie
I have never understood Israelees who seem to value settlements above security. Land seems to be their be all and end all. Personally, I would like to know that my son or daughter will not have to continue fighting. The price, more land, seems so small to me. I certainly hope that Obama stands firm as urged in the Foreign Policy Magazine. Of course that is not the only thing I don't understand about Israelees. How can they be so insensitive to the needs, desires, and feelings of the Palestinians? True, the Palestinians did not take losing their land with equanimity. Who would? But now, generations later, wiser heads have not prevailed in Israel. After all the Jews did get a country. It was given to them. They did not have to fight for it as has been historically the way most peoples acquired their land. It was given to them at great cost to the Palestinians and may cost the rest of the world much bloodshed before it is peacefully settled.


Commenter: Daniella Cheslow
The West Bank really is turning around. Part of that is the thousands of Israeli-Arabs who have returned to an old habit of shopping in cities like Jenin. For a more in-depth look at that, read a recent Jerusalem Report piece, posted at http://www.thetruthherzl.com/2009/07/shopping-in-jenin.html


Commenter: John Elfrank-Dana
Questions I have:
1. Why were no refusenicks interviewed? There are Israelis who refuse on humanitarian grounds to serve in the occupied territories.
2. Why was there no mention of the "One Shot Two Kills" popular t-shirt worn by IDF members, that shows a pregnant Palestinian woman in a rifle scope? Don't believe it? Read about it in the Israeli Press:
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1072466.html.
Also, not to mention IDF soldiers coming forward with claims of war crimes committed in January in Gaza by their leaders. DON'T BELIEVE IT? READ ABOUT IT IN THE ISRAELI MEDIA: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1073469.html

Having said all of that, I do believe that Israel has a right to exist in peace with its neighbors. What we have to realize as Americans is that we do a disservice to Israel by supporting its illegal and brutal occupation of Palestine.

Friends don't let friends commit war crimes. It's bad for Israel, the Palestinians and the U.S. Hence, why 70% in your poll says Israel is not beneficial to U.S. security. Actually, the question still lets Israel off the hook. A fourth option should have been listed: U.S. support for Israel is DETRIMENTAL to U.S. security.


Commenter: Sal J. Acevedo
The peaceful nations of the world are very much against terrorism yet the government of Isreal is next to the United States in acts of terrorism. As long as the U.S. continues to send massive amounts of aid and weopons to the Isreali government they have no reason to stay within the Osloe boundries. It is time that the U.S give up the alliance with Isreal before they drag us into world war three. We already have enough wars that we cannot afford. Let's level the playing field for the Palestinians.


Commenter: American
Trey Pedersen:

"Peace with the Palestians will be kind of a mute point once Israel flattens Iran's nuclear program.

The ball though has been in the Palestinians court since Clinton was President. The starting point is for Hamas and Hezbollah to recognize the right of Israel to exist.

Hamas and Hezbollah are what is keeping the Palestinian people down, not Israel."

Really? Tell me why should Hamas recognize the right for Israel to exist when Israel does not recognized the right for the state of Palestine to exist and is actively taking every measure possible to make such a possibility unfeasible like settling their land, cutting it into million tiny pieces and forcing palestinians to go through an Israeli check-point just so that they can take a single step in their own land? Yes, Israel is keeping it down. Everyone is ready to accept what King Abdullah proposed and recognize the State of Israel, but it is only Israel and US that rejected it.


Commenter: LarryK
Excellent program. I don't know why no female reservist was interviewed nor a religious reservist. The three soldiers understand that wars tend to beget more war without resolution. The dead die and are memorialized while the living go on to fight yet another war or conflict. So to value life is to stop the cycle of death which is the responsibility of the civilian governments to establish diplomatic negotiations and to find ways to resolve conflict and to find peace so that these gentlemen can live their lives without having to end the lives of others.


Commenter: Sammy TT
Israel receives $2.5 billion each year in direct aid.
Egypt receives $1.9 billion each year in direct aid.

Who spends the money more wisely. Israel is under constant threat militarily, yet has built a modern, diverse economy, an open democracy (with Arabs represented in parliament). Egypt is a dictatorship, has an archaic economy.

Who is wasting American support? Stop the propaganda and look at the facts. But I suppose Israel is always held to a double-standard, so it is really hard for normally open-minded, left-of-center folks to see beyond their ideologies as well.


Commenter: Robert Day
I am even more confused about USA's policy with Israel!

Just read this article from the newspaper "American Free Press":

'ROBERTS VOICE OF MANY AMERICANS
Former Under Secretary of the Treasury Paul Craig Roberts speaks for many Americans. He speaks for me and I feel outraged because the United States is the puppet state of Israel. If you think only in terms of money, consider this: California, which has become a failed state, has been denied bailout money from Washington. Israel, which has been a failed state for 60 years, can, unlike the American state of Californika, always count on Washington to deliver the money and the weapons. The same week that "our" government in Washington told the governor of California "not one red cent," President Barack Obama handed over $2,775 billion to Israel.
VIRGINIA AABERNETHY
Tennessee'


Commenter: Carole LK
The sucess of one small industry in the face of so much misery was interesting but hardly a cause for celebration. There was no mention of the settlers who, protected by the IDF regularly harvest the olives from the Palestinian groves or how much greater this little industry would be if the Palestinians had access to much of their land now ocupied by settlers or cut off by barbed wire or a wall deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice or roads which the Palestinians are prohibited from using. The Israelis along with the PA have at least temporarily pacified the West Bank, but as Israeli settlements increase in size and number, collective punishment prevails and the deprivationa created by the occupation contine the Palestinians will be driven to react.
Tony Blair may think that economic development is one large part of bringing peace but there is little hope for development when so many restrictions exist and freedom is denied.
Of course we all have witnessed the Bush-Blair plan for bringing Democracy to the world. Who would have thought that they would instead bring us two was and a world-wide econmomic disaster.


Commenter: David
Thank you for this show NOW. When was the last time any show dared to have a film crew venture in to the West Bank, talk with people there, and portray their situation under the Israeli occupation? I certainly don't recall any. The Mainstream media hardly dare set foot in the place because they buy in to all the usual racism and fear-mongering (hell - they're responsible for it!), and because they know they'll catch hell from the Pro-Israel lobby back home if they do show what's actually happening there. I'm sure you've discovered that the danger from the 'terrorists' that supposedly run the place is as nothing compared to the hammering you get from all the usual knee-jerk pro-Israel folks when you reveal what you saw upon your return. Thanks for taking that risk and for your good work!


Commenter: Jafra
another answer:
http://www.wiserearth.org/resource/view/f529bcd0176bb10a8898c78188534d71


Commenter: Samuel R. Thomas
After watching NOW, I was not surprised to learn and see that the Palestinian aspirations do not include peaceful co-existence with Israel. From the map of "historic Palestine" on the wall to the gun-carrying former member of AAMB, I was left with little hope for a future Palestinian State that would want to live in peace with Israel.

Your report also used inflammatory language towards Israel repeatedly while taking little notice of the inflammatory statements made by your Palestinian interviewees. And I don't see how a NOW episode with the IDF is the "other viewpoint".

Shouldn't you speak to my cousin Malka in Haifa who used to work with fellow educators from Jenin during the 1990s and after the Intifada of 2001. She will tell you exactly how hurt and deflated she, as a regular Israeli, felt when she realized that all her work for co-existence over the years was for naught when she was told time and again how there would never be an acceptance of an Israeli (Jewish) presence in control of any portion of the Middle East.

THIS IS THE PROBLEM! Everyone focuses on Israel's need to accept Palestinians and give them equal rights, but few ever focus on what rights the Palestinians think Israelis deserve in turn. NOW that is a germane question.


Commenter: Dogbert
Regarding your weekly survey question: would PBS ever ask such a question about South Korea, Taiwan, or Saudi Arabia? What a loaded question.


Commenter: Diane Adkin
Dear Anton and John and others,

Palestinian olive oil is available from Canaan Fair Trade on their website, www.canaanfairtrade.com. Other outlets are listed under About Us, Distributors and Partners. Nationwide, Canaan olive oil can be found in Whole Foods under the Alter Eco brand name.

It is well worth a look at the website to see how fair trade is transforming the lives of farmers on the ground in occupied Palestine, and enabling them to stay on their land against great odds.


Commenter: Bill Johnston
Can I buy Palestinian olive oil in New York city? If so, can you suggest how I would find where it is sold?


Commenter: jackumup
How come when doing documentaries on Israel there are no mention the fact that the people who started and occupied palestine are eastern Mongolian decent and not from the middle east. tony Blair is a idiot, jimmy carter is the only western authority on the middle east


Commenter: JOHN MAYFLOWER
As an American...I don't like Israel being one of the biggest welfare recipients of the U.S. taxpayer while there are American citizens in the U.S. starving. Israel has never done anything for the U.S....except exploit our propagandized corporate media, bribed our politicians, and run our corrupt banks...they are not America's friend the the owned American puppets say....rather blood suckers of the average U.S. citizen.


Commenter: David F.
First Blair gets into bed with the Bush's to stir up a hornet's nest in the Middle East and now he's a peacemaker. I'll bet his conscience weighs heavily. I wonder if he also lays in bed at night thinking about what he has done to the European economy. I used to respect this man in the '90s, so, since he no longer has a collar around his neck, maybe he's back. The Israelis and Palestinians can only benefit from his brilliance.


Commenter: Sheila
So, according to your report, the Jenin Palestinians have a non-corrupt military, the terrorists have stopped attacks and military actions and that economic jobs will bring peace to the region. After Oslo, I believe that a tremendous amount of money was donated to create this economic environment and that the money went into the corrupt PA leaders, right? Nothing was mentioned about this. Also, nothing was mentioned about the people of Jenin being thrilled to live in peace with a Jewish state. Also, as a teacher, I am very curious if the teachers are teaching a new curriculum about tolerance and peace. If that is not happening, it doesn't matter how great the military is, hate will continue.


Commenter: Mouli
The olive oil discussed in this story is Canaan Fair Trade product. It is available in the USA at Canaan's own web-distribution www.canaanfairtrade.com . It is also available at Wholfoods Market in a bottle with Alter Eco label that displays on the front Canaan Cooperative, Palestine. The olive oil is one of the best tasting olive oils out there and is certified Fair Trade, Organic, and Zero Carbon. This olive oil coming from Jenin by Canaan Fair Trade is as good as it gets in Quality, Social Responsibility, and Environmental Responsibility in addition to offering the hope for a better future for the people of the region.


Commenter: JGCanada
The Pal security force is doing well and that is a great start. Remember, the reason the border was closed off because of the suicide bombers crossing into Israel. There haven't been any new bombers from Jenin in two years because of the security fence and security forces.

I quite turned off by the one-sided portrayal of the conflict. The worst thing for the Pals was the intifada that forced the crackdown and limiting the opportunities for the Pals. The Pals live in poverty because their leaders refuse to accept a Jewish state and Jewish self-determinism. In doing so need the suffering within their territories to continue, both to justify the "resistance" and to provide fodder for the violence.


Commenter: Owldog
Abbas is a stooge for the present Zionist right wing regime in Israel. He supported the Western/Israeli embargoes of food to Gaza, his own people, only because he was a sore loser, while he ate big dinners with Olmert.

We need new dynamic leadership in Palestine/Israel for the natives, not remnants of the corrupt, self-serving past leadership.

Palestinians do not want "their own State" they saw what happened to Gaza, and don't think it will work.

In a recent poll conducted by Birzeit University in the West Bank two-thirds (2/3rds) of Palestinians are calling for an end to the structural distinction between Jews and non-Jews and the foundation of a single democratic and secular state in all of historic Palestine, with equal rights for all citizens regardless of their religious belief oringin. [source: PALESTINE INSIDE OUT (copyright 2008) Saree Makdisi, p.282]


Commenter: Marshalldoc
While it was pleasant to see an upbeat story originating in the West Bank, it was also only half the story. The 'success story' of the Palestinian security force fails to include the fact that it was created by the U.S. with Israel's grudging agreement and would not exist were it to act primarily for the Palestinian's needs rather than for those of the U.S., Israel, and Mahmoud Abbas. To wit; a large part of the so-called 'criminals' this force has been directed at are the elected officials of Hamas in the West Bank, many of whom languish in Palestinian Authority jails or who have been killed 'resisting arrest'.

Further, while showing an orderly 'political protest' over the separation fence, it failed to tell the story of the brutal Israeli suppression of similar protests at Ni'lin


Commenter: C. Wright
It amazes me how a program like this one brings out the anti-Semites! The Palestinians are hurting, not because of Israel, but because their own governments keep them in poverty while the members of their governments live in the luxury bought by their oil. How easy it is to use Israel as the scapegoat, again and again. Much easier than to own up to greed and duplicity, and God knows, what else? Arabs know better than to trust each other. How can non-Arabs trust Arabs? Wake up, people. Don't believe the Arab rhetoric! Think!


Commenter: Marcia
Very nice piece. Consider, Palestinians are the descendants of the peoples who lived there 2000 years ago in biblical times. They are the indigenous people of the land, these are the demographic facts. So their olive oil must be doubly blessed, and what an appropriate product for them! So sad, that Israeli Jews who are mostly derived from converts to Judaism outside that land (read Shlomo Sand's book) invaded, expelled most of the native people, and turned it into a place of ethnic cleansing, massacres, torture, political repression, pollution, gross overconsumption along western lines leading to environmental degradation, apartheid, rampant religious discrimination and nuclear weapons. It is especially sad, considering what evils the Jews suffered from the nazis, that their army would take on attributes of the nazis, such punishing whole towns and villages for an individual's defiance - Ariel Sharon was known for killing people by blowing up houses with the people still inside and for mass murder of helpless civilians. Many similar acts were committed by the Israeli army in the recent invasion of Gaza (read the recent Amnesty International report among others), just as they were in former invasions of Jenin, other towns and villages in the West Bank and Lebanon.

Well I thought this piece was encouraging in showing the friendship of the Israeli and Palestinian mayors (even though many Israeli towns are built on or near razed Palestinian villages where the people in the Jenin refugee camp came from), but it left out the horrid parts of the Israeli rule over the native people (like the afore-mentioned punishment of whole villages and mass killings, Israeli troops shooting Palestinian kids for sport and such). I know not all Israelis are that way.


Commenter: Edward Nelson
I think the USA should provide more funding and other assistance to the Palestinians. I also think that we should reduce our funding for Israel unless they stop the occupation of Palestinian land. We should also exhibit much more support for the existence of Palestine as a separate country.


Commenter: owldog
The Palestinians can have their own state(s) like New Jersey or Rhode Island, but the Israelis will never give them total sovereignity.

The solution is not a two-state solution one, but two or more States United under a Secular Nation of Israel, not a "Jewish" State, but a Secular nation, whose citizens have full and equal rights and Priveleges regardless of religion or ethnic origin.

The "Jewish State" can be a relatively small district within the United States of Israel, similar to the Vatican, where they can keep the same obsolete religious/ethnic attitudes and restriction, that the modern world has fully abandoned as State enterprizes.


Commenter: Kate
I didn't have any problem with some segments such as on the olive oil, but "background" given in this piece. They utterly distort the facts, inserting the usual pro-Israel bias. For example, stating Jenin used to be known for violence: at least 90% of the violence was Israeli, whose tactics included killing people by bulldozing their homes on top of them. Stating that the Israeli "invasion" of Jenin was a "reaction" to suicide bombers, leaving out that the suicide bombers were a reaction to Israeli murders of Palestinians, much of it, like the recent attacks on Gaza, were deliberate attacks on non-combatant civilians - the first attacks by any Palestinian in Israel of the recent intifada were months after the start, after Israel had killed hundreds of Palestinians. Giving air time to the Israeli IDF spokesperson to say he doesn't trust the Palestinians to protect Israelis, yet failing to note that the statistics say Palestinians are so much more in need of protection from Israelis. Never questioning why armed Israeli settlers who have invaded Palestinian territory and confiscated their land are deserving of protection by Palestinians, never noting the otherwise peaceful Palestinian protesters who have been targetted by Israeli forces and killed.


Commenter: SpringGirl
You can buy Palestinian olive oil and items made of olive wood at Ten Thousand Villages stores across the country.


Commenter: Karmel
The Olive Oil discussed in this story is available at www.canaanfairtrade.com


Commenter: Martin Melkonian
"Peace and Prosperity in the West Bank"presents a very distorted view of what is necessary for those two laudable goals.Conquest and occupation are the main barriers,not acceptance of the status quo and not marginal improvements for a few investors, as advocated by that bungler and arguably war criminal,Tony Blair.NOW has done better in the past;give your viewers an honest appraisal as to why Palestine and Israel continue to suffer.There's an old middle eastern proverb:"No matter how far you have traveled on the wrong path,turn back".
Martin Melkonian


Commenter: August W.
The nation of Israel belongs and should forever remain a Jewish controlled state. The U.S supporting Palestinian security forces loyal to a palestinian authority is dishearting as I believe that those who defend Israel will be blessed and those who fight against her will find their hell coming through the clouds as the nations of the world decend on Israel. The U.S. and EU are appeasing terrorist and terrorist supporting nations like Iran. Wake up world! The Bible clearly shows the citizens of this world the past, present, and future of Israel. Spliting the holy land will bring great tribulation and war to the earth. Though peace will be established it will only be for a season. Only Gods return to Irael will bring true peace. Do not be fooled by embellished media that makes a hardened terrorist seem as though he is only a victim of jewish occupation. Study the Bible and learn the true history and fate of Israel. Learn what will happen to her enemies and study the events that lead to the spliting of Israel. You will then understand how each day the world heads closer and closer to it's darkest hour. Pray! come quickly Lord Jesus


Commenter: Mary Hughes-Thompson
US long standing bias toward Israel is an obstacle to both our security and our credibility around the world. It's time for the US administration to begin rejecting pressure from well organized and well financed zionist lobbies in the US. US support for and financing of Israeli brutality and apartheid is damaging and endangering us.


Commenter: Anton Grambihler
Ditto on John McConnell question.

Can anyone tell me what outlets in the U.S. provide the olive oil discussed in this story?

I do not use olive oil, but I will buy it and give it to the Food Bank.


Commenter: Anton Grambihler
If Israel is an example of a democracy in the Middle East, then why would any other State in the World want to be a Democracy?

Israel was created by a terrorist uprising and has never abided by the United Nations resolution which authorized the taking of land from the Palestine People and giving it to the Terrorists. Israel does not have a signed Constitution. In addition this land called Israel illegally invaded its neighbors and illegally occupies this land and continues to destroy Palestine Homes and builds illegal settlements. Israel treats the Palestine People inhumanely and calls them Terrorists when they try to get their land back from the illegal Israeli Invasion. Why has the United States blocked the investigations of possible massacres of the Palestine People by Israel?

Israel has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT or NNPT). Israel has unregulated Nuclear Weapons. The United States provided Israel with missiles to deliver the Israeli Nuclear Bombs. The United States and Israel threaten Iran with sanctions and possible bombings. I wonder why Iran might want Nuclear Bombs. Why is it wrong for North Korea and Iran to maybe supply weapons to the Palestine Freedom fighters trying to get their land back from the illegal Israeli invasion and occupation, while it is considered OK for the United States a member of the NPT to provide missiles to Israel, a non-member of the NPT, for the delivery of Israeli Nuclear bombs?

Israel Bombed the United States in 1967 and it was covered up. Israel has killed United States Citizens and not been held accountable. Israel has Kidnapped American Citizens and President Obama has not spoken out about it, but he did speak out about recent internal affairs of Iran.

Why is the United States helping fund the rampant racism which allows the Genocide of the Palestine People and denies their right of return for the creation of a Jewish Homeland? Did the United States learn nothing about what happens when land is taken from one people and given to another? Do they not recall what happened when land was taken from Czechoslovakia and given to the Nazis, and the Genocides committed by the Nazis? How many people must die before this Israeli Genocide is called a Holocaust?

Where is the News Media that is suppose to keep the Citizens informed?

If the 100% citizens were informed, do you think they would have supported taking land from the Palestine People and giving it to Terrorists? Do you think that they support funding the continued Racism and Genocide being committed by these Terrorists?


Commenter: Anton Grambihler
The missing question:

Does the United States relationship with Israel HARM United States Security? YES


Commenter: John Stack - Florida
What many people wont understand about this situation (it was ot covered in this report) is that 10% of the militants control 90% of the Palestinian people out of fear. The "former" fighter admitted terrorism will return. The Israelis want SOLID proof that if they take the wall down


Commenter: Katherine MacQueen
I don't know why I should bother with such highly pro-Israel bias - for example leaving out the many attacks on Palestinians that occured well before there were any suicide bombers, or the many Palestinian civilians deliberately murdered by the IDF. Instead you emphasize Palestinian violence as usual.

Stating that the "wall" is built around the West Bank is a flat out lie. Most of it isn't.

Why didn't your interviewer even challenge Tony Blair's blatant racism, the view that he's bringing "civilization" to the Palestinians?


Commenter: Joseph M. Royal Palm Beach
I was surprised that you did not include the ONLY beer producer in all of the West Bank...TAYBEH BEER in Bethlehem. The owner is also a Palestinian-American that moved his family back to Palestine to help with the economic situation. Please check them out. I'm sure it will be easy to locate them. The beer is sold throughout Israel


Commenter: Douglas Angus Campbell
I almost had to laugh at the question "Does the U.S relationship with Israel help our national security?"
Has everyone forgotten Israel's attack on the USS Liberty in 1967 that killed 34 sailors and wounded 134?
Or how about Jonathon Jay Pollard the convicted Israeli spy who gave who gave US naval intelligence to Israel in 1986.
Or Rachel Corrie, the 23 yr. old peace activist from my home state of Washington who was killed in 2003 by an Israeli soldier who drove over her with an American made bulldozer while she was trying to stop the demolition of a "suspected" insurgent Palestinian doctor's house in Gaza.
Or the indictments of Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman for accepting and passing national security secrets to Israel...while employed by AIPAC...and recently, the charges were conveniently dropped.
Or Lawrence Franklin or Ben Ami Kadish...spies who also were let off the hook. Not a fat chance if they were muslims. D. Campbell Port Townsend, Wa.


Commenter: Trey Pedersen
Peace with the Palestians will be kind of a mute point once Israel flattens Iran's nuclear program.

The ball though has been in the Palestinians court since Clinton was President. The starting point is for Hamas and Hezbollah to recognize the right of Israel to exist.

Hamas and Hezbollah are what is keeping the Palestinian people down, not Israel.


Commenter: Brother Jack Curran, FSC, PhD
This is an "interesting" portrayal of "Blair's initiative" -- but he seems to be missing the MAIN POINT, the MAIN PROBLEM that needs to be addressed: it's the on-going ISRAELI OCCUPATION that festers the problems and prevents the economic and "regular" development of Palestine.

End the occupation -- and the violence will end and peace will be a reality. Why? Peace comes as the fruit of acts of justice. Acts to end the occupation are acts of justice.

What can Blair and the USA do to end the occupation? Stop the US $$$ going to Israel as long as Israel continues to build the wall (illegally INSIDE of Palestine) and as long as Israel continues to expand the illegal settlements!

When the occupation and its related injustices (i.e., the illegal Israeli settlements, the illegal and unjust path of the wall, the more than 600 Israeli checkpoints WITHIN the West Bank, the nightly Israeli invasions into Jenin and any other place in the West Bank, etc) are ended, then the "natural growth" of the Palestinian society will come to be a reality and peace will come to the pland of Israeli and Palestine. Why? Peace comes as the fruit of justice!


Commenter: Diana
Thank you so much for tonights show on the Palestinian Territory of West Bank. So many know so little of what is really happening in the Palestinian Occupied Territories. Thank you for giving a voice to those that need to be heard. I so hope to see peace and freedom for those who know it not.


Commenter: Julie Purcell
PEACE AND PROSPERITY IN THE WEST BANK was well done! What a treat to have such a clearly presented, detailed illustration of one story from a region which is often hard to follow because it is most often portrayed on a larger, frenetic scale!
Great Job


Commenter: Larry K.
The story of JENIN is encouraging from the standpoint of the Palistinians interested in security and economic development as the basis for establishing a State and from the standpoint of those Israelis who understand that their well being and safety will be more secure with the prosperity of their neighbors and not in walls and fences. As the peaceful demonstration against the wall demonstrated Israel will not be defeated in its occupation by guns or suicide bombers as much as by Palistinians asserting their rights within the context of an Israeli democracy and laws. If Palistinians get real frustrated they may just ask for a one state solution that allows an Israel/Palistine consolidation with a hefty Arab population. If the two state solution is realized there will have to be enormous coooperation in natural resource, economic development and infrastrucure planning that will effectively join these two states at the hip.


Commenter: John McConnell
I found this to be a very interesting and informative piece. Thank you. I hope to see peace in this area in my lifetime. It still puzzles me that the governments and fanatics of each side keep getting in the way of the majority of the common people and their desires to live together and get along. I hope that the city and people of Jenin can continue to progress and prosper. I commend the Palestinian and Jewish mayors on their efforts.

Can anyone tell me what outlets in the U.S. provide the olive oil discussed in this story?


Commenter: B. Higgins
"Peace and Prosperity in the West Bank?" captures my hope and prayer for Palestine and its peoples. Following two graduate study tours of "The Holy Land" during May of 2001 and during August of 2002 I am convinced that America's unilateral support of Israel has compromised our national security.


Commenter: Frank DiMasi
A hopeful program, but it fails to address the effects of the many brutal and oppressive tactics the Israelis have been subjecting the Palestinian people to. The brutal assault on Gaza earlier this year, is yet another roadblock to peace, puposely laid by the Israelis. There is more to be considered than Israel's absolute security.

Why do the Israeli's continue to confiscate occupied Palestinian land for additional settlements, if they want peace in the region? I fear they do not want peace, but want the Palestinian people to disappear, and they are doing everything in their power to make this happen. I fear that the detente described in the small region of Jenin discussed in today's program, may be for public relations and nothing else. I certainly hope I am wrong.


Commenter: David S
While the plight of the Palestinian is a tragedy in our time, it does not fall solely on the shoulders of the Israelis as the media commonly portrays. All things being equal Israelis want to live in peace. It is the constant threat against life and livelihood by state sponsored militant groups who keep this conflict alive. Let's not forget that the main beneficiaries of a destabilzed Middle East are the oil producing nations who use it to keep oil prices high. The Palestinians are merely a pawn who are sacrificed for the mighty petro-dollar. It is short sighted to think that simply revitalizing the Palestinian economy will magically make things better. It's a step in the right direction, but until terrorist factions stop being funded by the extremist states and the world pulls away from a fossil fuel based economy the Palestinians will continue to suffer.


Commenter: Susieq Que
The most pressing problem facing the US is how to ensure that Jewish people do not face the (inevitable) backlash as more and more Americans become aware of how their government and many institutions have been hijacked for the good of Israel.
Advocates for Israel have more influence and power over US foreign policy and other decisions than do ordinary Americans. Americans are becoming aware that policy preferences for Israel's wellbeing have put the US at risk, have harmed her financial and moral stature abroad, and eroded her internal domestic cohesion and values.
Israel advocates have used propaganda techniques to turn US citizens into a mob. When mobs realize they've been duped, they can become dangerous. An angered mob may not make the distinction between the few who misguided the US into overly pro-Israel policies, and the Jewish people in the US.


Commenter: kinsly O.
How can Israel normalize relations with Germany who committed holocaust under Hiltler, yet they oppressing and denying Palestinians freedom and their own state under the guise of Israel national security of existence as a Jewish state?
By the way, I am not a Palestinian, an Arab nor a Muslim. I simply hate to see other human beings suffer or being oppressed by another human beings.


Commenter: Rusell Johnson
I can't see how any Palestinian could stop their struggle because of how the Israelis took possesion of their land. I don't agree with all the support to Isreal.


Commenter: Greta Anderson
It was great to learn of this hopeful story.

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