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» New York Times Julie Salamon

"... provides a crystalline timeline of the setbacks that have undermined the promise held out by the Oslo Peace Accords in 1993. This extraordinary documentary doesn't break news, but rather illuminates the tragedy and absurdity with theatrical force. If only it were fiction. ...

"The filmmakers, Dan Setton and Tor Ben-Mayor, both Israelis, have orchestrated their material as a visual fugue. 'Shattered Dreams of Peace' carries deep resonance as each hopeful advance meets frustration, and reasonableness seems more and more chimerical. The riveting and comprehensive script, by Charles Enderlin, lays out contrapuntal elements of politics, personality and religious fervor. Mr. Enderlin, a French journalist who has covered the region for many years, conducted the interviews, which are thoughtful and revealing. ...

"'Shattered Dreams of Peace' deftly moves between ... diplomatic gamesmanship to a broader vision of the political maneuvering and street fighting that influences every move the negotiators make. It's depressing to see in such vivid detail how much easier it is to stoke a crowd with hatred than it is to hammer out a peace."

» Baltimore Sun David Zurawik

"No television news operation has covered the Middle East in this troubled year with as much timeliness or wisdom as PBS' Frontline. Whether it was April's 'Battle for the Holy Land,' with its daring examination of Palestinian suicide bombers and those Israeli intelligence operatives trying to stop them, or last month's 'Muslims,' Frontline has consistently made liars out of those who say television offers neither enterprise nor context when it comes to international stories.

"The beat of excellence continues tonight with 'Shattered Dreams of Peace,' ... a breakdown of what went wrong politically, diplomatically, culturally and militarily -- both on the Israeli and Palestinian sides -- to throw us into the tragic whirlwind of violence that now devours the region. If you really want to understand the meaning of President Bush's call for Arafat's removal this week, this is the report to see. ...

"The images in 'Shattered Dreams of Peace' are at times shocking. You will see naked, blood-splotched bodies lying on the pavement in the wake of suicide bombings. But the greatest shock you will feel is the remembrance of how close peace once was and how desperately far beyond the pale it now seems to be. The balm that 'Shattered Dreams of Peace' offers through its incredible backstage access to the leading players, clear-eyed storytelling and analysis that goes way beyond personality journalism is the understanding of how it all went so wrong."

» Miami Herald Glenn Garvin

"... an exhaustive and exhausting chronology of how the Palestinians and Israelis snatched catastrophe from the jaws of peace. It's a kind of reverse greatest hits album that includes every misstep by either side. ...

"There's no attempt to pin the responsibility for the unraveling of the peace process on one side or on a particular leader. As 'Shattered Dreams of Peace' shows, there's plenty of blame to go around. ...

"If 'Shattered Dreams of Peace' has a flaw, it's that it isn't more broadly analytical. There's too much attention to the timeline of events and not enough to larger issues: for instance, Arafat's weaknesses as an administrator of the Palestinian territories, which allowed the murderous radical group Hamas to gain prestige as it filled the vacuum. Or the dismal political skills of the Israeli prime ministers who followed the assassinated Rabin, and their inability to sell a peace settlement to the volatile Israeli right.

"Most glaringly, 'Shattered Dreams of Peace' doesn't address the question of whether the Oslo peace plan was fundamentally flawed. It left the so-called core issues -- the crucial questions of permanent borders, Jewish settlements, Palestinian refugees, and control of Jerusalem -- to be settled later, after a series of 'confidence-building' gestures on both sides. In fact, trust steadily dwindled after Oslo.

"But as a road map of how we got from the hopes of Oslo to the blood bath of today, 'Shattered Dreams of Peace' is excellent -- and depressing. ..."

» Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Joanne Weintraub

"... Sober but not bleak, the program traces the downward path from the Oslo peace accords in 1993 to the ascension of Israeli hawk Ariel Sharon and the increasing deadliness of the Palestinian response. A final note of optimism comes from a surprising source: chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, who believes that the two sides will come to co-exist peacefully, if not blissfully."

» Newsday Noel Holston

"Just when you think the Israeli-Palestinian situation can't look more hopeless, along comes a two-hour Frontline report to make it look ... more hopeless.

"'Shattered Dreams of Peace' is Frontline in documentary mode, as opposed to the investigative mode of last week's 'Bigger Than Enron.' Here, the producers are attempting to create a cogent record, misstep by misstep, of how the Oslo Peace Accords went awry, drawing on interviews with many of the Israeli, Palestinian and American leaders and negotiators involved. This is history, writ quick. ..."

» Daily News David Bianculli

"... Each time agreements were made or solutions broached, extremists on one side or the other -- angry politicians, angrier rebel factions, suicide bombers, aggressive police and military forces and others -- would derail the process.

"This isn't news, but what 'Shattered Dreams of Peace' adds to the well-known chronology is a sense of perspective from the inside.

"As in 'Siege of Bethlehem,' it gets its best information from the negotiator level, the people who are below the leaders, but above the fray, seeing both sides and trying to work toward common ground. ..."

» TV Guide Susan Stewart

"Taking a timeline approach, 'Shattered Dreams of Peace' looks at the Middle East from the 1993 Oslo accord to the present madness. Interviews alternate with war footage, and attention is paid to leadership, as Israeli leaders Rabin, Peres, Netanyahu, Barak and Sharon contend in turn with PLO chairman Yasser Arafat. The latter is criticized but not demonized. Even those who disagree with Frontline's cautious conclusions will admire this documentary for humanizing a near mythic conflict."

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