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SUNDAY SCREENING: Promises and Betrayals: Britain and the Holy Land (2002)

Our weekly documentary film curated by out editorial team at 21WIRE.

“Uncovering shocking foreign office communications and using fascinating footage never seen on television before, this documentary shows how British double-dealing during the First World War ignited the conflict between Arabs and Jews in the Middle East. This is a story of intrigue among rival empires; of misguided strategies; and of how conflicting promises to Arabs and Jews created a legacy of bloodshed which determined the fate of the Middle East. Avi Shlaim, Professor of International Relations at Oxford University, calls it ‘one of the best historical documentaries on the Middle East I have ever seen.”

While this film only tells the first pre-WWII half of the Israel-Palestine story, it will no doubt spur many to argue over some of the controversial conclusions drawn from the filmmakers. However, viewers will rarely find a better collection historical footage and detailed documentation of this crucial juncture in history marked by Britain’s duplicitous Balfour Declaration which laid the groundwork for the endless wars which followed. Watch:

Run time: 52 min
History Channel (2020)
Timeline – World History Documentaries
Distributor: TVF International




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