battle for the holy land
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on the ground
FRONTLINE's "Battle for the Holy Land" draws on unique access to key figures and covert operations on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Here are extended excerpts from our producers' interviews with Lt. Gen. Shaul Mofaz, chief of staff of the Israeli Defense Forces, and with three Palestinian militia leaders. Plus, chilling video excerpts revealing the warfare tactics of both sides, and a dispatch from embattled Ramallah on the day of the assault on Yasser Arafat's compound.

Interview: Lt. Gen. Shaul Mofaz

Mofaz is the chief of staff of Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). Scheduled to retire in July 2002, he is considered a leading candidate for defense minister. In this exclusive interview, conducted after the March 29, 2002 Israeli assault on Yasser Arafat's compound in Ramallah, he discusses the objectives of the current military operation and what he views as Israel's war against terrorism.

Interviews: Three Palestinian Militant Leaders

Producer Stuart Tanner spent two months in the West Bank towns with Palestinian fighters who are engaged in the conflict with Israel. He gained unprecedented access to key leaders of the Al Aqsa Brigades and the radical Islamic groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad. In these interviews, three militant leaders talk about the use of suicide bombings and other tactics and what it will take for them to stop fighting.

Dispatch From Ramallah (Text and Video)

On Friday morning, March 29, 2002, producer Stuart Tanner and his crew filmed the scene around the Ramallah compound of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat as the Israeli army surrounded and occupied it. Tanner then followed a group of Palestinian militia fighters as they battled Israeli soldiers. Here's a dispatch he filed later in the day, plus exclusive video footage of the Israeli assault on Arafat's compound.

Video: Israeli Commando Operation (1:00)

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In this clip from "Battle for the Holy Land," Israeli commandos have set up a late-night ambush targeting Palestinian gunmen believed to be planning an attack on Jewish settlers. Using thermal night-vision cameras, the commandos spot -- and shoot -- a man approaching the settlement with a gun. An Israeli commander discusses the policy behind this tactic: "The moral question -- do you just kill a man with no trial? ... Do you take out a ticking bomb, kill him, or do you try to arrest him?"

Video: An Engineer of Death Displays His Wares (1:00)

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In "Battle for the Holy Land," FRONTLINE meets a Palestinian weapons maker who gave an interview on the condition that his identity remain anonymous. In this clip, shot in his basement factory, the engineer displays a specialized mine that can melt a tank and a belt of explosives designed to be worn by a suicide bomber.

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