CHRISTIANE Amanpour's God's Warriors documentaries on CNN this week have pulled no punches. In the first two she exposed unmercifully the closed minds of Jewish and Muslim fundamentalists with a belief in a cause that is based very often on ancient texts whose authenticity is highly questionable.
In the third programme, shown last night, she unveiled the bigotism of the American Christian fundamentalists whose certitude is often as frightening as that of the Jews and Muslims seen earlier. The programme on Israel was additionally worrying in one respect; I have never seen the building of Jewish setttlements on the West Bank more graphically portrayed. Their numbers and locations make the concept of a viable Palestinian state seem impossible.
As Amanpour pointed out, these settlements are illegal in international law since they are built on occupied land and any peace agreement betwen Israel and the Palestinians would require recognition of that fact.
But how? If the Palestinians are to get their land back it would require an evacuation of the West Bank setttlements beside which the enforced departure of Israeli settlers from Gaza would seem a minor incident. The probable intractability of this issue helps to explain why there is always disagreement on whether Israeli-Palestinian negotiations should proceed incrementally on small, manageable matters or go straight to the end issues such as the settlements and the return of Palestinian refugees to their land.
It was hard to find any solid grounds for hope in Amanpour's fine programmes.