THE HUMAN FACTOR
What might have been
film review by Susan Kandell Wilkofsky
In 2012, director Dror Moreh’s film The Gatekeepers (which was nominated for an Academy Award), featured interviews with the surviving former heads of Shin Bet. In The Human Factor, Moreh turns the camera around in another direction. This time, he reveals the behind-the-scenes story of the American negotiators attempt to achieve peace in the Middle East.
Nominated for the Diamond Award for Best Documentary Film at the Jerusalem Film Festival in 2020 and winner of the Grand Prix award at the international documentary FIPADOC festival, it is a sobering look at the decades long endeavor of the Israeli-Arab peace process.
Moreh approached Ambassador Dennis Ross, the chief American negotiator for peace in the Middle East, and asked if he was willing to disclose the behind-the-scenes moments of the American mediators. It took him a few days to agree to share his life’s work – but eventually he consented and the result is a compelling story of the peace process.
The director explains in the press notes, that November 4th 1995, the day that Prime Minister Rabin was shot, happens to be his birth date. He continues, “Ever since that night, my life was turned around.” That event ended up as the driving force behind his prior film The Gatekeepers. “It fed a deep desire to really understand why although a huge American effort had been invested into the peace process, all attempts to reach peace went so badly wrong since that horrible November night.”
Fascinating interviews with many career diplomats such as Martin Indyk, the London-born, U.S. Ambassador to Israel between 1995-2001, gives insight into the offers and missed opportunities. Incidentally, Indyk was the first and only ambassador to Israel born outside the United States.
The bridge to peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors was so close and yet so far away.
The film opens on Friday, May 7th at both the Angelika Film Center of Dallas and Plano.