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In the News While Gaza Burns

December 30, 2008

“If God, as some now say, is dead, He no doubt died trying to find an equitable solution to the Arab-Jewish problem.”
I.F. Stone, journalist (in a 1967 essay)

gaza barrier wallAs the international community struggles to end the violence in Gaza, a bit of background may be helpful in making sense of the conflict.

For an inside look at Hamas, and the people who run it, we recommend this FRONTLINE/World report from correspondent Kate Seelye, who visited Gaza and the West Bank in 2006. A longtime mideast specialist, Seelye talked with key figures in the Hamas leadership, then and now, including the reputed "mastermind" of the organization's rise to power, Mahmoud Zahar.

For a thoughtful perspective on just what it is that makes this particular conflict so difficult to resolve, take a look at these excerpts from Parallel Realities, a book by journalist Eric Park, offer one thoughtful and impartial response to that question. The excerpts are part of a bundle of online materials accompanying Shattered Dreams of Peace, a 2002 FRONTLINE on the long but ultimately fruitless pursuit of a mideast solution that began with the historic Oslo Accord of 1993 and petered out with Bill Clinton's near-miss Camp David summit in 2000.

Also included in the online materials are a helpful timeline of events, and two brief clips from the film (alas, rights restrictions prevent our streaming the entire hour). And don't despair: if the history is bleak, it also conveys a more hopeful message -- the pursuers of peace are a tenacious lot, and keep coming back for another shot.

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