Israel – Story of a contested country

The attack on Israel by the militant Islamist group Hamas that started on 7 October 2023 adds a new dimension to the Middle East conflict: From the Gaza strip, fighters of the Palestinian terrorist organisation were able to cross into Israeli territory, take Israeli hostages, and kill hundreds of soldiers and civilians. Israel responded by declaring a state of war and retaliating with full force. In the Gaza strip, hundreds of Palestinian Hamas fighters and civilians were killed. The documentary tells the complex story of how the state of Israel was founded – a story that lies at the heart of the violence and conflict in the region to this day.

On May 14, 1948, the State of Israel announced its independence. For many, this was a long-time dream come true: “Eretz Israel” – a home for all Jewish people and for survivors of the Holocaust. Palestinians call this period the “catastrophe.”

The State of Israel was founded 75 years ago. The effects can still be felt today in the ongoing Middle East conflict. What are the historical roots of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? This documentary sheds light on the decisive years from 1897 to 1948. Israeli and Palestinian historians and experts share their reflections and contextualize the global political events of those years.

The pivotal turning point came in November 1947 with the United Nations plan to partition British Mandatory Palestine. For some, it was a dream turned reality – an independent state offering Jews protection, refuge, and a homeland. For others, it marked the beginning of a “catastrophe,” what Palestinians call the “Nakba,” defined by the loss of homeland, displacement, and uncertainty. More than 75 years after the historic UN vote, the conflict between Israel and the now occupied Palestinian territories continues. It is a source of unresolved tension in the region with reverberations in and beyond the Middle East.