battle for the holy land
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photos of a palestinian with a bomb, an israeli apache helicopter and an israeli soldier at night
Join the Discussion: Can Israel's military actions defeat terrorism?   Can suicide bombings achieve the Palestinians' goals?


My heart goes out to Israel. They are being attacked by terrorists and their citizens are being killed by suicide bombers. When they go after the culprits that are encouraging these suicide bombers, they are then criticized for just defending themselves and their country. It is the holocaust all over again.

I am not a Jewish person but I am not going to be silent for another holocaust even though I was just a child when the other one happen.

God gave them this land a long time ago. Actually they are only occupying a part of the land that He gave them. It was promised to Abraham and his seed. They actually are entitled to much more of the area.

The Palestians are not interested but in only one thing. That is running Israel off the land that God gave them.

Memphis, Tennessee


The way I see it,this could go on and on. My humble solution would have new leaders for both Isreal and Palistine be chosen by the U.N., and both Arafat and Sharon in the spirit of true sacrifice, commit suicide together. The U.N. would broker a boundary and enforce it. Whatever the financial cost to The U.S. and all nations, it would be worth it in the interests of peace.

Milwaukee, WI


For more than thirty years, Yasser Arafat has been the leader of the Palestinian people, and for thirty years, he has led them nowhere but deeper into misery. Steadfastly refusing to negotiate in good faith, he has instead embraced the politics of murder...d.

Meanwhile, the other corrupt and disengenuous Arab rulers--dictators and tyrants all--have no interest in helping their Palestinian "brothers," save for impassioned rhetoric, for they need the Israeli boogyman to deflect their populace's ire from themselves and their oppressive regimes.

The Israelis are far from blameless, building settlements that remain half-empty on land that belongs to others. They too, suffer from the blindness of their own religious fanatics, the "settlers" who take Arab land and claim it as their birthright. Meanwhile, the Israeli army must be bogged down safeguarding them instead of dealing with the very real threats upon their legitimate borders.

I see no hope for peace as long as the fanatics on both sides hold their nations hostage to their hatred.

New York, New York


Lately it seems it's become fashionable to be pro Palistinian. I've read alot of the letters and can't believe how ill-informed people are. Jews have had a presence in the Middle East for over 3000 years. I don't agree with Sharon's tactics but I understand them. I don't agree with the the tactics of terrorists like the Hamas and Al-Fatah and I don't understand them either.

People who say this all began with the settlements are overlooking the fact that a year and a half ago the Israelis offered an incredibly generous and sincere chance to begin a new life for both sides. What happened??? Arafat walked out. The truth is that Arafat is totally alligned with the Hamas mentality and will not agree to any co-existence with Israel. Until someone from the Palastinian side does, there will never be peace. Suicide bombings and the latest Israeli incursion will not provide a solution. Two sides working toward a common and equitable and peaceful solution is the only answer.

Nyack, NY


I recently watched some 1950's cavalry and indian

movies in black and white on one of the cable channels the other evening. I was particularly intrigued by how history's version of the "winning of the west" has changed over the last 150 years. Only in the last 30 years, or so, have we finally begun to recognize the Indians side of history. Things like the

Battle of Wounded Knee in the late 1870's has now finally, and more truthfully, been renamed the Massacre

at Wounded Knee. About 400 Lakota Sioux women, children, and old men were slaughtered by a U.S. cavalry force of about 1500 soldiers. When we "stole" these lands in America that belonged to an indigenous people we called it the "settling of the west" there's that word settlement. We, here in America, at least recognized that we had to locate the displaced Indians somewhere. We did that, although it was no bargain for the Indians, with reservations.

What is happening in the Middle East is not so different - with the exception that Israel took lands belonging to an indigenous people's and then provided them "nothing in return".

Like our American west I wonder how history will view

the situation in the Middle East fifty or hundred years from now? Given, of course, that that history

is not as influenced as it is now and that the Arab point of view gets equal treatment.

Price Shearn
Mesa, Arizona


Great job of reporting as usual. There is no solution to the Israel and Palestinian conflict as long as the religious extremes have control of both sides. Israel needs to get out of the occupied lands. The masters of deception roll in a little at a time and build permanent homes?

Israel will prevail in the end because of United States support. Our President and country have been put in an awkward position of defending Israel "no matter what". Sharon is a narrow minded egotist and Arafat is a double talking coward. Israel - you voted him in and now you should suffer the consequences. Get rid of Sharon and quit throwing gasoline on the fire. There are also Palestinian Christians in the occupied terr. -wonder what is happening to them - you know "The gentile dogs". This would be a good time for Sharon to take another stroll around the Temple Mound.

Arafat can't be trusted as far as you can spit against a hurricane. Get the King of Jordan and Henry Kissenger to come up with a settlement. Jews have always been in Palestine and always will be.--"rightfully so".

Roswell, , N.M.


Is it just me, or does this campaign of reprisals being conducted by the Israeli Defense Forces and let's face it, that's certainly what this is, nothing more bear an uncanny and frightening resemblance to the Nazi reprisals against The Resistance fighters, Partisans, Jews and all other Freedom Fighters who were "martyred" during the Second World War, fighting to defeat the occupiers of Europe through various acts of sabotage and other forms of "terrorism"?

Russ Green
San Francisco, CA


Also let's be fair to all and not enforce the UN Security Council rules on Iraq and bunch of other Islamic states while forgetting that Israel had NOT yet practiced any of the numerous UN resolutions and Security rules.

These should be rules on all and not on Islamic countries if we don't want to create what we call Terrorism.

This can all end if US and Britain feel the responsilbilty of their acts and :

1-Collect the weapond the army of Israel is killing with the disarmed Palestinians.

2-Stop the funds to Israel.

3-Enforce economic sanctions on Israel just like it was enforced on Irak.

4- And if this didn't make a big change, don't "VETO" when UN Security Council makes decision of attacking Israel with NATO Forces to stop this bloodshed.

But as long as not everyone is treated equal, Peace will not have a chance to bloom.

Jody Smith
Houston, TX


I believe the definition of terrorism is to instill fear in the hearts of your enemies by your actions. If anybody is to be called a terrorist it should be the isreali army and if anybody should be branded a supporter of terrorism it should be the Oppressive blood thirsty government of Sharon.

The actions of the Palestineans are only in self-defense and should be expected of by those who have been "terrorized" into submission. Isreal has continuously gone against UN resolutions and has failed to adhere to the Oslo Accords. They keep saying it is up to the Palestineans to decide wether they want peace or not but at the same time they occupy their town under the mask that they are fighting terror, kill innocent women, children and men and destroy their homes and every aspect of life that the Palestineans have.

Then you have the US, who is supposed to be the self proclaimed bearer of freedom for the world who without question continues to support the Isrealis financially and militarilary. It is american money and weapons that have allowed for the slaughter of 10,000s of innocent Palestineans.

bill first
augusta, ga


I have one question for every American and every free being on this earth. What would you do if someone came and took your land from you, your house that you have had for generations, and like that wasn't enough now they can come and run your everyday business? Tell you what to do and prohibit you from going from point A to point B? What would you do if that was the case with YOU?

I truly sympathise with the Palestinian people and I relate to them. I know that if someone came and slowly sneaked one foot at a time past my fence and threatened my family I would do anything to stop it, even give my life to ensure the future of my kids.

Bubba G.
Detroit, MI


If someone tried to establish a settlement on the Whitehouse lawn, is there any doubt we would use any means necessary to remove the settlement? Hopefully, we would talk to them first.

Pres Bush said it himself when he said that the act of an 18 year old girl to blow herself up was evidence of a peoples' desperation.

Therefore, the problem has three parts:

1. The original cause: the settlements.

2. The Patestinian reaction to the settlements.

3. Isreal's reaction to the Patestinian reaction.

I believe Frontline did their normal excellent job of reporting but only on two thirds of the problem.

Bob Page
Houston, TX


Your production "Battle for the Holy Land" was incompleted.You forgot to talk about the influence that Iran has over all those terrorrist groups;the financial support from Iraq;the christian-palestinians,what is their point of view.I honestly believed,that Frontline should produce another programm,about the same topic.

pax river, maryland


I have been a hardcore admirer of your show through the years for its quality, integrity and impartiality. Tonight you have disappointed me for the first time, deeply.

I was disappointed to see how you manipulated through constant images of carnage an underlying message. All gore and cruelty came graphically from the Palestinian side. You have used the images, biasedly chosen, to support the constant chanting of "terrorism" vs. "self defense". Conveniently, images of slaughter Palestinian children and civilians were left out, saved a peek to bodies cleanly wrapped. In contrast, Israeli victims were shown in the most shocking shots.

Do not bag me in the pro-Palestinian lot. I have been a firm supporter of Israel for years. Up to 1995, there was no doubt in my mind as of who was "doing the right thing". After Rabin's assassination, I have lost respect for the government of Israel one victim at a time, and one new settler at a time.

Ever since, Israel has blatantly ignored the Oslo agreements; sneaking one inch at a time into foreign territory, smothering UN recognized Palestine with religious fanatics from Brooklyn.

Ariel Sharon provocation had one single aim, to provoke Islamic extremist into open war in order to justify a "final decision".

Sharon has had no problem assassinating old allies in a time in which his complicity in the Shabra and Chatila massacres were close to be revealed.

Arafat was a terrorist, and will never be trustworthy, but Sharon is the worst kind of Terrorist available in the 21st century: the kind that hides behind innocent civilians.

It was saddening to see Frontline degrade itself to that level How could you insult our intelligence by showing a search and arrest operation in which the Israeli army knocks on the door? Do you really think that we do not see everyday bulldozers at work?

Chicago, IL


I was pleasantly surprized at the fair-handedness of the PBS presentation on the Holy Land. What amazes me as I read some of the respondents to this discussion is their concern over the children that believe Israel has killed and yet they pay no attention to the fact that Yasser Arafat calls his own people, children in particular, to kill themselves for Allah and Palestine.

They make no mention of the $10,000 or $25,000 some of these families are paid. Arafat makes their children dead chattel.

Yet, when's he's cornered, he grabs his cell phone and yells for international help to protect him. Palestinians deserve more than a coward and a killer. The Israeli's deserve to work with an honest broker, not Arafat.

Oh he's "humiliated" alright! As he should be!

When the Palestinians get over their bifurcated mentality of either Pride or Shame and see that the world includes compromise and joint development, there will be peace.

Dorothy Caruso
Aliso Viejo, CA.


Thank you Frontline for attempting to portray the horrors of life under Israeli military occupation.

As a former resident of Jerusalem, a non Arab and non Jewish American, I am somewhat familiar with the subject of your report.

While I appreciated the dangers of making such a documentary, I cannot help but wonder at your pro Israel tilt throughout the presentation. Was

this post production editorializing? Watching it, I found myself thinking at times, "What a beautiful piece of Israeli propaganda!"

Rather than nitpick the sloppy, if not down right biased, Hebrew and Arabic translations, I'd rather tell you what bothers me most.

You failed to inform your audience of the numerous UN resolutions condemning Israel for its occupation and brutal treatment of Palestinians and all non Jews for that matter living there.

Invoking great sympathy, you provided ample opportunity for articulate Israeli spokespersons to justify Israeli response to terror attacks without ever calling attention to the 30 to 50 years of brutalization

the Palestinians have endured at the hands of a Jewish state hell bent on a policy of military occupation.

You talked a lot about Palestinian and Islamic extremists. Fairness demands that you inform your audience of the murderous Israeli Jewish

religious extremists who are not only quite vocal about their intolerant opinions toward non Jews, they actually kill non Jews and think it a religious service.

There is no justification for Israel's military occupation, nor Israeli settlements in Palestine which is the root cause of the conflict.

Failure to mention these things cheapens the whole story.

Regrettably, like one huge apology to Jews, the pro Israel bias of your network is best illustrated by your peace making, damage control, decision to broadcast "Resistance: Untold Stories of Jewish Partisans" and "Daring to Resist" immediately following "The Battle for the Holy Land."

In those shows, the WW2 Jewish resistance fighters did a good job of convincing me that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter and that given the right circumstances, anyone can become a terrorist - or, huhm, excuse me - resistance fighter. Perhpas this was an unintended result of the heavey Hebraic programming line-up. Am I the only one to notice this? I think not.

Those who know the history of terrorism in the middle east know that the Arabs learned it from Jews like Yitzak Shamir and Menochem Began. How can Israelis elevate and revere these men on the one hand and than have the gall to impugn Yasser Arafat for using the same tactics?

When it comes to state sponsored terrorism, Zionism makes no secret of the fact that it excludes non Jews certain basic rights and considerations. Palestinians know this all too well. This too, you failed to mention.

After living in Israel for quite some time, I concluded, "Hey, a Jewish, colonial, zionist state in the middle east makes about as much sense as a white, colonial, racist state in Africa!" Without cultural, religious, political, and ethnic pluralism, Israel as it exists today, is a very bad idea and wholly at odds with American values.

Thanks all the same.

A loyal PBS supporter who expects more from professions who risked so much to make this documentary and the network which showed it,

Charles Baldwin
West Palm Beach, FL


I am surprised and disappointed that so many viewers believe that Israel is responsible for the Palestinians sense of desperation, and that this frustration would justify any violent tactics against Israel.

The Palestinian leadership must accept primary responsibility for the condition of its people. Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered Chairman Yasser Arafat a groundbreaking peace plan that would have allowed Palestinians to establish their own state. Perhaps Arafat should have considered the proposal unacceptable. But Arafat never articulated an alternative vision for peace that is also compatible with the continued existence of a Jewish state.

The Palestinian territories are a lawless land. Frontline showed that Arafats efforts to control radical terrorist groups were both inadequate and insincere. Indeed, his own Al Aqsa group is in cahoots with groups committed to the ultimate destruction of the Jewish state.

If Palestinians goal is to establish their own state in Gaza and the West Bank, which would peacefully co-exist with Israel, then they should demonstrate in good faith that that is their only objective. Certainly, a majority of Israelis still prefers peace and democracy to policing a hostile population and authoritarian rule.

But, through their statements and actions, Palestinians demonstrate continually that their true goal is Israels destruction. Pursuit of such an objective demands a military response from Israel.

Atlanta, GA


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