‘The Human Factor’ Review: In Peace Talks Trust Is Vital and Elusive


“The Human Factor” offers a compelling and comprehensive view of the Israeli-Palestinian peace effort, principally from 1991 through the end of Bill Clinton’s first term, as evidenced by the memories of United States negotiators charged with brokering a peace. was told. It shows how much an international agreement relies on a rare coordination of concrete compromises and personal trust – what former Middle Eastern envoy Dennis B. Ross calls here the “human factor”. At the beginning of the film, he said in a hearing: “You can’t ignore the human factor. Someone who has a human touch treats someone with respect. Someone with a human touch doesn’t think they’re going to outsmart anyone. “

Almost exclusively in English, this documentary begins with a title card that does not state that it is “told from the point of view of the American negotiators”. But strictly speaking, it is their point of view that was put together by an Israeli director, Dror Moreh, maker of “The Gatekeepers”, in a film in which important actors in the Middle East, former heads of the Israeli security agency Shin Bet, were introduced.

The approach leaves out Palestinian voices, which is perhaps part of the point. The six officials interviewed here, which includes State Department veteran Aaron David Miller and former US Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk, came from outside the Palestinian perspective and did not always see it impartially.

Most interesting are their private impressions of world leaders. We hear how much backstage management it took to get Yasir Arafat, the Palestinian leader, and Yitzhak Rabin, the Israeli Prime Minister, to shake hands at the signing of the Oslo Peace Accords in 1993, and how theirs were Relationship had developed by 1995 when Rabin was murdered. Ehud Barak, who attempted to pick up Rabin’s peacemaker cloak at the 2000 Camp David Summit, is portrayed as Rabin’s temperamental opposite – a potential dealmaker who overestimated his skills and misjudged the human factor.

The human factor
Rated PG-13. Violence in news clips. Running time: 1 hour 48 minutes. In selected theaters. Please read the Policies of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before watching films in theaters.