PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University’s Northwest Public Radio will present a seven-part series on the history of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians on “Morning Edition,” NPR’s morning news program.
The series airs Sept. 30-Oct. 4 and Oct. 7-8 and will chronicle key moments in the history of the struggle between the two peoples. It also will feature interviews with experts who represent a cross-section of historical perspectives.
“The purpose of this series is to trace the roots of the conflict and bring context and perspective to help listeners understand the complex situation in the Mideast, the history and the consequences of the confrontation. Our goal is to deepen listeners’ understanding of the beliefs and emotions that motivate both sides,” said Bruce Drake, NPR’s vice president for news. “In this series, we have gone to leading historians of the region to document the deep and conflicting roots of today’s Middle East.”
Sept. 30, Part I – The series begins with the first Zionist conference in Basel, Switzerland in 1897, when Austrian journalist Theodore Herzl first conceived the idea of a Jewish homeland. NPR correspondent Mike Shuster talks with historians to explore the conditions and reasons that led to the formulation of Zionism.
Oct. 1, Part II – In 1917, the British government issues the Balfour Declaration, declaring itself in favor of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. By the end of World War I, it becomes a British mandate and a time of increasing hostility between Jews and Palestinians.
Oct. 2, Part III – With the end of WWII, the struggle for Palestine intensifies. The Zionists and British are in conflict because of Britain’s strict ceilings on immigration to Palestine. The United Nations votes to partition Palestine, a move that pleases the Zionists and angers the Palestinians. David Ben-Gurion announces the establishment of Israel, which led to war with four surrounding Arab states. Israel is victorious and soon after, exodus of Palestinians begins.
Oct. 3, Part IV – The Six Day War pits Israel against Egypt and Syria and is a major turning point in the history of the Middle East, changing borders, military and political perceptions and bringing the United States into the mix. The territories Israel seized when it won the war is at the center of all peace negotiations in the years to come.
Oct. 4, Part V – Israel is surprised by attacks from Egypt and Syria (the Yom Kippur War), the fourth war between Israel and Arab states since 1948. Israel prevails but with heavy losses. The United States becomes more involved in the peace process, which involves seven U.S. presidents. The military, diplomatic and political maneuvering that follows opens the door to a historic resolution between Israel and Egypt.
Oct 7, Part VI – The Palestinian people of the West Bank and Gaza territories confront Israel with the first Intifada (or revolt) in 1987. Five years later, Yitzhak Rabin is elected Israel’s prime minister and begins secret talks to bring the Palestinian Liberation Organization to a deal. It results in the Oslo Agreement, envisioning a Palestinian state and the end of conflict, but the toughest issues are postponed.
Oct. 8, Part VII – The Oslo peace process collapses in mutual recriminations and leads to the last two years of violence, which the Palestinians refer to as their second Intifada. The final piece examines why the Oslo peace process failed and why Israel and the Palestinians are locked in violent conflict.
The series was researched and reported by Shuster, a veteran correspondent for NPR News. Shuster has reported on Middle East affairs for nearly 12 years, beginning with the Gulf War in 1991. He was a roving correspondent in Israel and has reported from Iraq, Iran and the United Arab Emirates. Since 1994, Shuster has been diplomatic correspondent for NPR News. Previously, he was a Moscow correspondent, where he covered the collapse of the Soviet Union, and he also served as senior editor of NPR’s London Bureau. He is now based in Los Angeles.
Audio and text transcripts will be available at www.npr.org each morning after the programs air.
For a complete list of local stations and airtimes, visit NPR’s Web site at www.npr.org/members.