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Film Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

 

State 194
Directed by Dan Setton
Participant Media 05/13 Documentary
Not Rated

Dan Setton directs this bold and illuminating documentary about Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's two-year campaign (2009 - 2011) to make Palestine the 194th member state of the United Nations. Those who contend that any Middle East peace effort requires a two-state solution will find many seeds of hope in this plan for ending the occupation and establishing an independent state.

It is very inspiring to watch Salam Fayyad unfold his campaign to bring freedom and economic revival to Palestine by paving roads, building more schools, and firming up the institutions of governance. This visionary leader and former economist comes across as a pragmatist and an optimist whose hopes and dreams for statehood are embraced by more liberal Palestinians and by Israelis who yearn for peace in the region.

Although Fayyad's efforts to craft a workable state gain momentum through high-level political meetings and street demonstrations his dreams are waylaid by right-wing Israelis who oppose statehood for Palestine and continue to back the movement of more settlers into Palestinian territories. At home, Hamas leaders do not trust Fayyad and see him as a Westerner who does not understand their plight or their fight.

Israeli director Dan Setton makes it clear that the campaign to obtain member status for Palestine in the United Nations is based on some of the same strategies used during Israel's battle for recognition in 1948. Fayyad certainly succeeded in stirring things up but, in the end, the U.N. votes by an overwhelming majority to recognize Palestine as a non-Member State on November 29, 2012. Five months later, Fayyad resigned from office. Meanwhile, new Israeli settlements continue to be built and acts of terrorism rock the Middle East, making the prospects for peace are very shaky.

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Reviews and database copyright 1970 2012
by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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