July 29, 2021

a rereading over the long period of eternal conflict


A sober reading, sometimes poignant, of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which takes into account the long time … This is the approach proposed by Blanche Finger and William Karel in A land twice promised.

The novelty and the power of this documentary do not rest so much on the chronological division – of 1896, date of the publication of The State of the Jews, of the Austro-Hungarian journalist Theodor Herzl, founding father of political Zionism, in the Six-Day War, in 1967 – only on the balanced dialogue that the authors managed to build between Israeli and Palestinian historians.

Read the editorial of the “World”: Israel-Palestine: changing the paradigm

Intelligently built around a rich archive collection, this dialogue intersects with both personal and far-sighted testimonies, allows us to understand how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has led, on both sides, to a political blindness that has only resulted in ‘worsen after 1967.

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The floor is given to intellectuals of different sensibilities, in order to highlight a diversity of historiographical accounts. On the Israeli side, we find in particular Anita Shapira, professor at the University of Tel Aviv, whose works on the history of Zionism are respected, but criticized because they pay little attention to the Arab question. Dina Porat, chief historian of the Yad Vashem International Center for Holocaust Research, points to the cynicism of the leaders of the Jewish Agency, who used Holocaust survivors to rally public opinion to the Zionist cause.

“The worst of lies”

An analysis that resonates with that of Amneh Badran, professor of political science at the Palestinian Al-Quds University in Jerusalem, when she points out “The worst of lies” that, according to her, was the slogan of the Jews who settled in Palestine at the end of the XIXe century: “A land without a people for a people without a land”. Elias Sanbar, Ambassador of Palestine to Unesco, recounts the Nakba (the “catastrophe”), the exodus of the Palestinian population during the Israeli-Arab war of 1948.

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Known to be an advocate for the creation of a Palestinian state, former Israeli Ambassador to France (2000-2002) Elie Barnavi is nonetheless very critical of the Palestinians, who, according to he, failed to organize “An intelligent and effective struggle” against the Israeli occupier. A criticism shared more or less Palestinian academic Sari Nusseibeh, according to which the Palestinian leaders have come to terms with this inextricable conflict. For Israeli historian Shlomo Sand, it is Israel’s militarily aggressive policy that is largely responsible for the conflict between the country and its Arab neighbors.

A land twice promised: Israel-Palestine, by William Karel and Blanche Finger (Fr., 2017, 110 min).