A scholarly documentary, "The Human Factor" walks us through the Middle East Peace Process, as told from the perspective of United States mediators under George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and beyond.
Acting mostly as a detailed brush-up of recent world history, "The Human Factor" tries to explain why "peace" in the Middle East - specifically between Israel, Syria and Lebanon - has been so elusive, despite every modern US administration making it a major foreign policy goal. But the dysfunction and inability to come to any long-lasting agreement between Israel and its Palestinian neighbors rings horrifically relatable to today's American audience, as we increasingly experience entrenched battles between our own "two sides" of the current political landscape on our own soil.
After watching "The Human Factor," you will be knowledgeable of key figures in the region, from Israeli Prime Ministers Yitzhak Shamir, Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, Ehud Barak and current Prime MInister Benjamin Netanyahu, to the symbolic President of the Palestinian State, Yasser Arafat. George H.W. Bush's tough-as-nails Secretary of State, James Baker, is credited in the film as being influential to laying the groundwork for historical peace summits that would follow in the Clinton years, and how things once again unraveled in the wake of the heinous assassination of Yitzhak Rabin in 1995.
Not being able to broker peace between the two sides was one of the longest-lasting regrets of Bill Clinton and those involved in the negotiations at the time. It's suggested that the word "peace" itself may have been too lofty a goal given the sins of the past and the complex relationship between all involved parties.
If there's a takeaway from "The Human Factor," it's that strong leadership is required for such systemic, generational change to take place...but strong leadership alone guarantees nothing. The film itself reminds us not only of our own nation's divide, but how we once were looked upon as a key international player, a super-power of diplomacy and not just military might...and a beacon of hope for the world. That we could once again be looked upon as a monument of stability is a notion that today seems nearly as implausible as achieving true "peace."
Run Time: 1 hour 48 minutes.
Directed by Dror Moreh ("The Gatekeepers," "Sharon").
"The Human Factor" is available on Friday, May 7th, 2021.
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