Leading statesmen, generals, terrorists and others who made the headlines in one of history's most bitter and enduring struggles tell the story of the Arab-Israeli conflict in The 50 Years War: Israel and the Arabs. Openin... more »g with the U.N decision to partition Palestine in 1947, the program charts the ensuing half-century of enmity, warfare, mediation and negotiation. Among the current and former heads of state and prime ministers interviewed or featured in the series are Benjamin Netanyahu, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Shamir of Israel; King Hussein of Jordan; Yasir Arafat of the Palestine Authority; Hafez al-Assad of Syria; Jafaar Numeiry of Sudan; and U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton, George Bush and Jimmy Carter. Also appearing are foreign ministers, defense ministers, commanders in the field, heads of intelligence and guerrilla leaders, as well as high-ranking officials in the United States and the former Soviet Union.« less
John Corbett | Summerland, California United States | 09/15/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Whatever your political views are regarding the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians (and I certainly have my own strong opinions), all serious students of the conflict in the Middle East should watch this PBS documentary. For those intimately familiar with the general course of the conflict, there are no groundbreaking revelations here. On the other hand, this five-hour DVD is chock full of archival footage and interviews with many of the political leaders, generals, guerrila/terrorists and diplomats that shaped the many decades of this frustrating struggle after World War II. Arafat and Sharon, enemies that they are, get to tell their fascinating sides of the story, as does Peres and an aging King Hussein, along with file interviews from Rabin and Sadat.This DVD is essentially the diplomatic history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Its story narrowly revolves around wars, conversations between diplomats and heads of state, etc. If you are looking for an account of the social history of the Israeli or the Palestinian people and their grievances, or want a detailed discussion of the history of settlement activity, terror bombings or life under the occupation, you will be disappointed. Such controversial and disputed topics are (perhaps wisely) beyond the scope of this documentary. A significant shortcoming in the video is the absence of any prelude episode that looks over the history of the area in the early twentieth-century under Ottoman rule or the Palestinian mandate. It begins rather abruptly just as the new state of Israel declares its independence in 1948. For an understanding of how the roots of the conflict were sewn, again you will have to look elsewhere. Finally, the video was produced several years ago, when Netanyahu was still Israeli PM. Eager viewers will have to await a future DVD to explore the terms of Barak and Sharon and the al-Aqsa intifada."
Moving. The human face of a bitter political conflcit.
Luis Gallo | Valencia, Estado Carabobo Venezuela | 11/26/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a moving story that shows the human face of one of modern history's longest and bitter conflicts. "The 50 Year War, Israel and the Arabs" shows in two Dvds, with a running time of five hours a complete and balanced account of the Middle East, starting in the first episode with Israel's struggle for statehood, the partition of Palestine and the war of 1948. Also on the second and third part of the first DVD, the viewer will find about the Six Days War of 1967, the history of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Yasser Arafat's turbulent rise to the leadership of his people, the lebanese war and the tragedy of the refuggee camps. On DVD number 2 also divided in 3 chapters, the film deals with the Yom Kippur War, the peacemaking process, the Camp David accords of 1978, the Palestinian Intifada, the Oslo agreements of 1993 and later events up to 1999. Included in this documentary are interviews with Middle East leading statesmen, political leaders and warriors, such as the late King Hussein of Jordan, Nobel Peace Prize winner Shimon Peres, Arafat, former israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S presidents Jimmy Carter, George Bush Sr. and Bill Clinton among others. A well made documentary, a complete and balanced film that show us the tragedy and the drama, the hopes and the dreams of arabs and jews, and in a sense of the whole world that has been protagonist and witness of one of the most dramatic events of modern times"
5 STARS without any hesitation!
consumer99 | Ottawa, Ontario Canada | 12/16/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I want to start my review by disputing a claim I saw over and again in some of the other reviews. Some reviewers (like the one from Saint Louis) claim that this is a pro-Israeli documentary. I could not disagree more!
1) That above-mentioned reviewer, like many others, is questioning why the documentary does not cover the Israelis doing this and the Israelis doing that to the Arabs. By the same token, I could argue--and I'm an Arab, by the way--why the documentary does not have more coverage on the PLO doing this and the PLO doing that to the Jewish people. The answer to both arguments is obvious: this is a five-hour documentary covering a fifty-year war! You cannot include every detail. Whoever expects this documentary to be more comprehensive is either being unreasonable or lacking intelligence. [period]
2) This documentary explicitly--I repeat, "explicitly"--portrays the current Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, as a terrorist: it covers him carrying out his "blow up buildings and cause as many civilian casualties as possible" operation in Jordan, the congratulatory meeting he subsequently had with David Ben-Gurion, and more important, the speech that Ben-Gurion gave him, which in itself defines terrorism (you have to hear it for yourself).
(This is not to mention how the documentary covers  the Israeli massacre in Dier Yassin,  how they pretended not to have received the "stop the war" US warning to concur more kilometres into Syria [during the 1967 war], and  how Kissinger was stalling during the cease-fire talks so Israelis can march closer towards Cairo [during the 1973 war].)
If this sounds pro-Israeli to you, fine, don't buy it; otherwise, it's a must have.
Now that I got that out of the way, I want to praise this documentary on three grounds:
1) As can be concluded from my first point above, this DVD set is only an introduction package to the Arab-Israeli conflict--and a great one at it. No other documentary provides the "big picture" better.
2) You hear the accounts straight from the key players: most of it is in the form of interviews with prime ministers, presidents, etc. where they tell you what was going on and why.
3) It contains a huge amount of footage showing big historic moments such as Ben Gerion's the-birth-of-a-state speech, President Sadat's arrival in Israel, his assassination, etc.
5 STARS without any hesitation!"
Khurram Haneef | Pompton Lakes, NJ USA | 12/30/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Documentary is excellent for everyone who want to know what had been happening in the middle east for past 50 years or so. I agree with one of the reviews made earlier that the beginning of the documentary is not what it should have been. It does not tell about the region under Ottoman rule and the British mandate after World War I. Furthermore, I was very shocked and in utter disbelief that there is no mentioning of massive airlift provided by the United States to Israel in the 1973 war that effectively saved Israel. No word at all. One must wonder why? Any way overall a very informative documentary."
D. Blackdeer | Kansas | 02/14/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Outstanding documentry on the Israeli and Arab conflict on top quality DVD imagery and sound. The series carries viewers from the roots of this conflict to the most recent events when Benyamin Netanyahu was Prime Minister of Israel. Contains abundant newsreels, rare footage and an impressive line of interviews with the significant leaders involved in this historical conflict. Terrific layout of all the events for anyone desiring to obtain a good understanding for what is going on in the Middle Eastern Core. Highly recommended for anyone interested in the history of this region."