battle for the holy land
homeon the groundcycle of violencecan anything end this?discussion
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?


The [program's] coverage was non-biased and expressed the hardships faced by both sides well. The only disconcerning element of the report was that the Israeli footage was subject to review by their security councel. This could leave many like myself wondering what the Israelis were trying to hide less specific, planned upcoming actions.

It is important for the world to understand the Palestinians plight beyond the highly publicized suicide bombings acted out by a minority of their citizenship. One of the most illustrating elements of this oppression was the scene in which Israeli Apache helicopters struck a vehicle with rockets in an attempt to eliminate a Palestinian militia leader. He got away and two Palestinian children were injured and/or killed as "collateral damage". Such arouses the anger of the Palestinian populus to a degree where revenge and "martydom" become a commonplace response. Until such eye for an eye mentality is gone from both sides no killing will cease, no peace will endure.

Todd Singleton
Raleigh, NC


Your production "Battle for the Holy Land" was quite a contrast from the excellence in reporting Frontline is known for.

The Palestinians have no military, so how on earth are they supposed to fight Israeli oppression?

Albeit unconventional, these "terrorists" are simply doing when any country would do under these circumstances.

No one can argue that it has been effective in bringing about a serious contemplation by Israel to move out of occupied lands. How else would it be done?

Throughout history, it has been demonstrated that the oppressed will only get its agenda heard is through violence against its oppressor.

Also, your "sinister" background music or whatever it is called when showing scenes of Palestinian bombmaking activities or interviews with the "terrorists" was uncalled for. How about the same music when the Israeli commandos shot and killed the supposed sniper? Or when the Apache fired that missle at the car killing a women and child?

Charles Wood
Washington, DC


Israel's Military action is NOT to defeat terrorism, It is simply an addition to the 35 years of occupation, It's goal is to further Humiliate the Palestinian and their leadership, and that will result in more suicide bombing. Israel's security will come only thru PEACE not WAR.

September 11 was terrorism because we were/are not occupying any nation, and we were/are not humiliating any leadership, some people may disagree with our foreign policy assuming we have one but diplomacy is the path to influence that not what the savages did in September 11.

Suicide bombing in the occupied Palestine, in the Israeli illegal settlements, and as Sharon said his war does not have any geographical boundaries, is THE ONLY answer the Palestinians have to the fighter jets F-16, and the so called targeted assassinations, and the daily humiliations at checkpoints all over the Palestinian ruled areas.

The Question now is, would this bring about the dreams of Palestinians to have an independent, and viable State. The Answer is NO, but at least it will show Sharon that SECURITY comes with negotiations not with Humiliation.

San Francisco, CA


You "Frontline", should be ashamed at the tremendously unbalanced depiction of the conflict.

Just to start with, the Palestinians are not terrorists, they are fighting a war of independence in the only possible way: through urban guerrillas. The people of Palestine are freedom fighters fighting a professional army, financed by US taxpayers, to protect US interests in the region and preserve a state that denies Palestine the right to exist.

Be a little less dishonest with your coverage and show the real history of this conflict.

alvarenga peixoto
Dilido Island, Florida


The Palestinians, goaded on by their Arab brothers, have tried to wipe the Jews out since 1948. They haven't succeeded and they will not succeed.

These people feed their children a diet of hatred from the cradle, raising them to become cannon fodder. They send them out with boxes of rocks to do battle with tanks. Where are the adults? Skulking around making bombs and cooking up plans to kill more young Palestinians by persuading them to become suicide bombers.

The mother in the documentary is the only Palestinian I have ever heard express any sorrow for the mothers of dead Israeli children. Until they can all do this it will never end. I keep remembering the evil gap-toothed Palestinian woman dancing in the street after 9-11.

Yesterday my Pope chided the Israelis for humiliating the Palestinians. The Palestinians started this. It made me ashamed to be a Catholic. The Poles have always persecuted the Jews and I guess even the Pope is not immune.

Patricia Tierney
Memphis, Tenn


. Because of September 11th terrorism has become the buzz word in the US. But if we really value civility and freedom than we would fight occupation with the same fervor with which we fight terrorism.

Hernan Tasies
houston, TX


This Frontline program is perhaps a little fairer but still has the same pro Israeli bias -- with Israeli chief staff having the last word. ''We're just defending ourselves..... ' but they have nearly 3 1/2 million people under military occupation another 3 million plus are in forced exile. Who would build settlements among a million impoverished and miserable refugees , flaut your power and their humiliation at your hands , provoke out of self-defense?

Agreeing with the Israelis they are just defending themselves is in the long and even the short run not doing them any favors.

The entire male population of Ramallah between the ages of 15 and 45 has been forced to hand themselves over. You want hatred.... do that to a people



Will the Israelis and Palestinians ever understand that they live together in a desert wasteland and that neither side can own Jerusalem? There can be no Israel without the Palestinians and there can be no Palestine without the Israelis. The main problem is there are no strong leaders on either side such as a Martin Luther King Jr. who would promote non-violent means to end the conflict. All the Palestinians have are masked criminals who use Islam as the glue to hold their organizations together.

If the Palestinians attacked legitimate targets such as power plants, weapons depots, military bases, etc. the rest of the world would be more sympathetic to their cause. Suicide bombers are the least effective means because the civilized world sees this as sub-human behavior.

A quick, long-term solution to the Arab-Israeli war is to send U.N. forces to "nation-build" Israel. Disarm both sides and establish a represntative, coalition government comprised of equal numbers of Israelis and Palestinians.

Don Williams
fresno, ca


I believe it is clear that Israel has strong imperialist intentions. They have occupied land and expelled much of the original inhabitants. And former Prime Minister Begin who started the huge increase of Settlements in the occupied territories said himself that it was a method meant to strengthen Israels power in the region and make sure that the territories could never be returned.

The Palestinians have every right to defend themselves and its appaling that the United States would give so much funding to a nation who cares nothing about human rights only their own strict military control of the holy land. The current military campaign in the West Bank is comparable with Serbias incursions into Kosovo. And the fact that Israeli army expelled journalists poses the question: What are they trying to hide?

Richard Pereira
Sunnyvale, CA


Sadly, to fully appreciate the insane futility of the situation that is Israel/Palestine you must peer back into history. What was it like being a Jew living in Palestine in the the 1920's? What was it like being a Palestinian or Jew living under English rule or under the Ottoman Empire? And so on...

Sadly, both sides understand what it is like to suffer brutal repression, but neither side has learned enough to reject it. Both sides have now proven to the world that they reject the power and authority of the God of Abraham, their shared heritage, because both have perverted His word to extract revenge. Together they have made the Holy Land into a Hell on Earth. I hope that they are proud of their accomplishment.

San Diego, California


From the interviews I saw on the program it seems to me the Palestinians have passed the point of no return and will not accept any compromise. They will fight until the full annihilation of Israel and at a certain point, after decades of struggles, they will succeed by means of genocide. Sadly, I don't think the world would come to Israel's help in that case, judging from recent history.

Whether or not the Palestinians were ever ready for peace, or if it was just a pretense is for others to judge. I also think no matter what Israel does, it will not stop Palestinians from their murderous rage. I also believe most Israelis are ready to give up most of the West Bank and Gaza, and to live side by side with the Palestinians, but since the Palestinians have passed the point of no return, it would not help.

Your documentary has shown the situation as it is. In other words, the world would accept a second Jewish holocaust in Israel, but not Israel defending itself.

Amir Mann
Los Angeles, CA


I don't think Israel's military actions will defeat the Palestinians. When Mr. Sharon decided to dance on a Palestinian holy site I believe he knew ultimately that he was sending a violent message to his nemesis Arafat, but when the Israelis then chose him as their Prime Minister this was an antagonistic gesture to a nation without regard for the other's beliefs.

This is not how the third largest army in the world behaves with regard to one of the poorest, its neighbor. The desparate people of Palestine have already gained the support of the entire Arab world and most of the rest, even though the Israelis are too ashamed to let the world's cameras view their tanks which destroy the homes one would think they hope their settlers will one day occupy.

There were 25 Palestinians killed for every Israeli in the first intifada. It is 3 to 1 now. When there are no more Palestinians- I'd venture Israel will not be done, nor will their neighbors.

San Francisco, California


Non-Jews comprise 20% of Israel's population. Can the Palestinians not tolerate the Jewish settler population of only 1.5% in the West Bank and Gaza?

Why do Arabs launch suicide bombers specifically targeting women and children well inside the "1967 borders"? PLO/PA maps show all of Israel as a Palestinian homeland. Where do they expect the Jews will live? Or don't they?

Israel has proven that it can live in peace with Arabs -- not only as neighboring countries Jordan & Egypt, but also as neighbors on the block with its 20% Arab population. I have not seen Palestinians extending any olive branch to the Jews.

Santa Clarita, CA


Your program did not mention anything about the provocation. The night before, I watched one Israeli soldier give the soundbite, "If they want peace, stop the violence," but again nothing about provocation.

Then on sixty minutes 48% of Israelis favour "Transfer." The mind boggles at the thought of Jews packing railcars with Palestinians and "Transferring" them to God only knows where.

Show more of the homes being bulldozed.

Sammamish, WA


Palestinians are not the only suffering people in this world. Sadly, as a people they have chosen to support and maintain a society of which children are brought up to revere and praise those who kill the lives of innocent men, women and children. They refuse to see that perhaps forms of peaceful protest may be a more productive manner in which to achieve their state. A Palestinian state, great, just another Arab dictatorship in which militant Islam can be bred! Israel = democracy, self-sufficient, prosperity.

A simple suggestion: Palestinians use democratic form of protest to achieve their goals! Maybe this would win over the US, because morally, the West will never support the deliberate massacering of innocent people, no matter what the circumstances. Good job Palestine, you've sucessfully brought yourself back another 1,000 years from reaching a civilized society!

Roslyn Heights, NY


home - on the ground - cycle of violence - can anything end this? - combatants - introduction
discussion - video excerpts - producer chat - map
tapes & transcripts - press - credits - privacy policy
FRONTLINE - wgbh - pbs

web site copyright 1995-2014 WGBH educational foundation