Pierre Rehov - Hostages of Hatred

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Finition date : May 2004
French and english version. 52 min

After having shown the plight of the million Jews who, from the mid-1940s, had to flee the countries they and their forefathers had lived in for centuries, those most discreet refugees whose story had never been told this way, Pierre Rehov has filmed the other side of a same coin: the fate of the Palestinians refugees that everyone has heard about.

Refugees that are shown on the world's television screens practically day in day out and whose plight is supposedly so well-known. But refugees whose fate we, in fact, know so little about.

In his latest film, "The Hostages of Hatred" Pierre Rehov sets out to tell us the real story of those men, women and children, who have been shamefully used as mere pawns for over 50 years, by Arab leaders at first, by Palestinian leaders later on and until this very day but also by the United Nations' body that was specially created to supposedly take care of them: the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, UNWRA.

To tell the real story of these people Pierre Rehov has sent teams to film actual refugees in refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, the Gaza Strip and he has shot footage himself in the West Bank. As in all his films, he exposes thus nuggets of truth hidden among the well-rehearsed propaganda speeches. We see the poverty the refugees are deliberately kept in, we see the pain, we see the nurtured hatred, we see the false hopes those people are raised on. But we also see the same hatred combined with a wealth you would not expect.

And, as usual too, Pierre Rehov mixes these first-hand testimonies with the counterpoint of extremely well-researched and enlightening documents, in-depth analyses form historians and politicians like Shlomo Ben Ami, former Israeli Foreign Minister, or the Congressman Eric Cantor. And also a Palestinian Oslo negotiator, an advisor to Arab leaders or a Palestinian Human Rights Activist.

As for the carefully chosen music, it enhances further the dramatic quality of the film.

( Le Point )

Abstract of "Iraq, India, Palestine"

an article by BERNARD LEWIS
Wall Street Journal, May 12, 2004; Page A14

...A case in point: In 1947 the British Empire in India was partitioned into two states, India and Pakistan. There was a bitter military struggle, and an estimated 10 million refugees were displaced. Despite continuing friction, some sort of accommodation was reached between the two states and the refugees were resettled. No outside power or organization was involved.

In the following year, 1948, the British-mandated territory of Palestine was partitioned -- in terms of area and numbers, a triviality compared with India. Yet that conflict continues, and the 750,000 Arab refugees from Israel and their millions of descendants remain refugees, in camps maintained and staffed by the U.N. Except for Jordan, no Arab state has been willing to grant citizenship to the Palestinian refugees or to their locally born descendants, or even to allow them the rights of resident aliens. They are now entering their fifth generation as stateless refugee aliens. The whole operation is maintained and sustained by a massive apparatus of U.N. officials, some of whom have spent virtually their whole careers on this issue. What progress has been made on the Arab-Israel problem -- the resettlement in Israel of Jewish refugees from the Arab-held parts of mandatory Palestine and from Arab countries, the Egyptian and Jordanian peace agreements -- was achieved outside the framework of the U.N. One shudders to think what might have been the fate of the Indian subcontinent if the U.N. had been involved in its partition.

The question of substance is of course of far greater importance in the long term. The question of perception is immediate, but could have long-term consequences.

Mr. Lewis, professor emeritus at Princeton, is the author of "From Babel to Dragomans: Interpreting the Middle East," just out from Oxford.

View this article online

Critical Reviews:

"Rehov continues to make documentaries about the shocking reality he uncovers in the Middle East because no one else does"
(Joseph Farah - World Net Daily)

"Provocative films about the combat between Palestinian militants and Israeli army"
(Greg Myre - The New York Times)

"The most shocking moments of Rehov's films involve blatant Palestinian efforts to manipulate the media"
(Hanna Brown - Jerusalem Post)

"The information that Rehov does provide is based on interviewees who use bona fide images and documents to substantiate their claim"
(Tamar Stenhal - Camera)

"There is only one filmaker who has presented the truth in the matter of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and his nom de guerre is Pierre Rehov"
(Phyllis Chesler - Author of "The new antisemitism")

"In his documentaries, Pierre Rehov demonstrates how our version of the middle east conflict has been corrupted by the Arab use of reporters as propagandists"
(Jack Engelheard - Author of "Indecent Proposal")

"Seeing Pierre Rehov's documentary film 'The Silent Exodus' about the expulsion and flight of a million Sephardi Jews helped me gain a better understanding of the tragedy of a community that was integral and fundamental to Arab society."
(Magdi Allam - Il Corriere Della Serra)

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Frank Kitman