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Relentless: Struggle for Peace in the Middle East (2003)
"Relentless: The Struggle for Peace in Israel" (original title)

Video  -  Documentary  -  2003 (USA)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 113 users  
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Relentless: The Struggle for Peace in the Middle East was produced by the pro-Israel media watchdog group HonestReporting [sic]. The concentrates on the causes of the Second Intifada ... See full summary »

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Title: Relentless: Struggle for Peace in the Middle East (Video 2003)

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Cast

Credited cast:
S. El-Herfi
Joseph Farah
Raanan Gissin
Caroline Glick
John Loftus
Sherri Mandel
Itamar Marcus
Yariv Oppenheim
Daniel Pipes
Tashbih Sayyed
Natan Sharansky
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Relentless: The Struggle for Peace in the Middle East was produced by the pro-Israel media watchdog group HonestReporting [sic]. The concentrates on the causes of the Second Intifada through an examination of compliance the Oslo Accords, by Israel and the Palestinian Authority. It pays particular attention to the failure of the Palestinian Authority to "educate for peace". The documentary shows interviews with Itamar Marcus, director of Palestinian Media Watch, S. El-Herfi, Raanan Gissin, Caroline Glick, John Loftus, Sherri Mandel, Yariv Oppenheim, Daniel Pipes, Tashbih Sayyed and Natan Sharansky. Written by Whaledad

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2003 (USA)  »

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Relentless: Struggle for Peace in the Middle East  »

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Followed by Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West (2005) See more »

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Extremely one-sided perspective.
11 March 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Overall a very poor documentary. If you're looking for any sense of balance, you won't find it here. Try the PBS documentary if you're looking for a less biased background of the conflict (though that still has some significant omissions).

This documentary is consistently misleading on the background of the conflict, and accurate knowledge of the populations of both communities is extremely important in understanding why Arabs refused the British and later U.N. partition of Palestine. This documentary makes indirect suggestions of a significant Jewish population in Palestine prior to the 1900s, while the fact that the territory was colonized by Jews of foreign origin is shrugged off. There are also numerous mentions of Palestine being the "ancestral home" to Jews, but little mention of the significant Arab majority for centuries. There are suggestions that Palestinian refugees all "fled" Palestine when many were forced in fact forced out by Zionist militias and/or terrorism.

I think it is significant to bring up the words of Gandhi regarding the colonization of Palestine: "Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs. What is going on in Palestine today cannot be justified by any moral code of conduct. [...] If they must look to the Palestine of geography as their national home, it is wrong to enter it under the shadow of the British gun. A religious act cannot be performed with the aid of the bayonet or the bomb. They can settle in Palestine only by the goodwill of the Arabs. [...] As it is, they are co-sharers with the British in despoiling a people who have done no wrong to them."

Of course, typical to most pro-Israel media, there is no comparison of casualty rates which are and always have been dramatically higher on the Palestinian side. This documentary focuses almost entirely on Israeli civilian deaths, with nearly no mention at all of the Palestinian deaths (which in recent times have average 3-4 times as many). There is no discussion on Israeli human rights abuses, the numerous terrorist attacks carried out by Zionists in the decades prior to Israel's foundation, the attacks by Israeli extremists since then (such as the massacre of dozens of worshipers at Hebron's mosque by a Jewish settler), the routine killings of Palestinian civilians by Israeli snipers, etc. There is insufficient mention of the significance of settlements and no mention of the extremism of the settlers and their history of violence against Palestinian civilians.

This documentary focus a lot on the extremist views sometimes preached in sermons (which of course are deplorable), but there is no mention of Kach and similar Israeli organizations that call for forced removal of Arabs from Israeli controlled territories (or in some more extreme cases the conquering of additional Arab lands), or the militancy of settlers such as those in Hebron who routinely attack and harass Arab civilians. The documentary would have you believe that average Israelis harbor no hatred towards Arabs, which is extremely far from the truth. Israelis are often openly racist against Arabs and this deserves mention.

There is mention of the murders of Palestinians (by Palestinians) viewed as being collaborators with Israel, but no mention of the practices the Israeli military employs to force Palestinians to act as informants for them, often threatening them and their family into complying.

There is a lot of criticism of the views that Palestinian children develop towards Israel and Jews and blame is placed solely on the Palestinian Authority. There is little mention of life under the Israeli occupation: the economic hardships, the curfews, the roadblocks and checkpoints, the military raids, the shootings, or the daily humiliation and frequent harassment that Palestinians face. There are also the typical poor and misleading Arabic- English translations, such as "jihad" being translated to "holy war" rather than "struggle", and a dehumanization of Palestinians who believe in their right to the whole of the country.

This documentary acts as though Israel was making a major concession at Oslo to negotiate any Palestinian state at all, giving up "its land" (meaning the West Bank and Gaza), but there is no mention that the Palestinians were officially giving up claim to 78% of the country. It discusses how small Israel is in contrast to the Arab countries surrounding it, as if this is proper justification for denying Arab people the land they've lived on for centuries.

In relation to the Oslo negotiations, it discusses how Israel gave up control of 42% of the West Bank as if this was a major commitment by Israel, failing to explain that control of the remaining 58% enabled them to completely control the movements of Palestinians from town to town and village to village. Extreme exaggerations as to the "generosity" of the Israeli offers at Camp David (debunked here: http://electronicintifada.net/bytopic/115.shtml ). It talks a lot about the Israel's concerns about it's own security in the case of the founding of a Palestinian state, but no mention of the Palestinian's concerns that it be a viable state.

80% of the interviews are from Israelis or individuals clearly aligned to Israel (such as Daniel Pipes). There is only one Palestinian interviewed, and he certainly isn't very eloquent.

This is certainly from the Israeli perspective. It shouldn't be completely dismissed, but needs to be balanced with such documentaries as John Pilger's "Palestine Is Still the Issue", "Gaza Strip", "Death in Gaza", and the Israeli-produced "Checkpoint"... or a bit of reading of Edward Said. Unfortunately I've yet to see a documentary that covers the history of the conflict and the various negotiations from a Palestinian perspective in detail.


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