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Part 15: Missiles and the Ballot Box

Jeremy Bowen's personal history of the Middle East. Jeremy explores Gaza, the Palestinian territory controlled by Hamas, the Islamic resistance movement.

Jeremy Bowen explores Gaza, the Palestinian territory controlled by Hamas, the Islamic resistance movement. It's not a place you would chose for a Mediterranean holiday, though the Palestinians used to dream of developing a tourist industry, he says. "Israel could recapture Gaza in days if it wanted to. But then it would be responsible for around a million children and about the same number of angry adults. Palestinians can't destroy a state as strong as Israel. But Israel can't bludgeon Palestinians into submission either."

Bowen reflects on the present and the past of the Middle East, after reporting from the region for more than a quarter of a century. He combines first-hand accounts from the front line with an in-depth look into the region's history. He has witnessed endless wars between individuals, religious groups and full-sized states, jostling for military, political and economic power. He has interviewed dictators, fanatics and fundamentalists as well as the ordinary people caught up in their dangerous games. In that time, the past has always been present, providing motivation and political ammunition . Bowen has made headlines himself and he has paid a personal price, coming under fire and losing a colleague in the course of reporting - on the worst day, he says, in his life.

Producers: Mark Savage and Cara Swift.

14 minutes

Broadcast

Jeremy Bowen's Middle Eastern food quiz

Jeremy Bowen's Middle Eastern food quiz

Test your knowledge of the region and its cuisine.

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