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Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, King's College London

Fifty Years War - Israel and the Arabs television documentary archive


Reference code(s): GB 0099 KCLMA Fifty Years War

Held at: Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, King's College London

Title: Fifty Years War - Israel and the Arabs television documentary archive

Date(s): 1948-1998

Level of description: Collection level

Extent: 25 boxes (0.25m3)

Name of creator(s): Brian Lapping Associates


Administrative/Biographical history:

Fifty Years War - Israel and the Arabs is a six part television documentary produced by Brian Lapping Associates, a London based television production company, for BBC in association with WGBH. The Executive Producer of the documentary was Brian Lapping, with Norma Percy, Series Producer, and David Ash, Dai Richards, Michael Simkin and Charlie Smith, Producers and Directors.


Scope and content/abstract:

The collection includes 147 transcripts of interviews, mostly uncut (questions are sometimes omitted), recorded in the making of a six part television documentary 'The Fifty Years War - Israel and the Arabs' which examines the conflict and peace initiatives arising from Israel's relations with her Arab neighbours and the Palestinians, May 1948 -1998. It also contains video cassettes of the completed documentary, as well as files, video and audio cassettes, press cuttings, and published works gathered in the research and production of the documentary.

Interviews were conducted with eyewitnesses from Israel, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, USSR, USA and the former British Mandated Territory of Palestine, recount their memories and describe their involvement in events including the partition of Palestine (1947), Israel's declaration of independence (1948), the Suez crisis (1956), the Six Day War (1967), the Yom Kippur War (1973), the Camp David talks between Israel and Egypt (1978), the Israeli invasion of southern Lebanon (1976, 1982), and the Oslo Agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) (1993-1995).

Interviewees include political, military, diplomatic, academic and civilian persons, notably Miriam Eshkol, widow of Levi Eshkol, Israeli Prime Minister 1963-1969; Maj Gen Ehud Barak, Israeli Defence Force (IDF), Israeli Chief of General Staff 1991-1995, Minister for the Interior 1995, and Minister for Foreign Affairs 1995-1996; Yair Hirschfeld, Israeli academic at Haifa University; Shimon Peres, Israeli Prime Minister 1977, 1984-1986, 1995-1996, Foreign Minister 1986-1988, 1992-1995, and Minister of Defence 1974-1977; Maj Gen. Ariel Sharon (IDF), Israeli Minister of Defense 1981-1983, Industry and Trade1984-1990, and Construction 1990-1992; Gideon Rafael, Israeli diplomat and representative to the UN, and Foreign Ministry official 1958-1978; Maj Gen Ezer Weizman (IDF), Chief of Operations of the General Staff 1967, Deputy Chief of Staff 1967, and Minister of Defence 1977-1980; George Habash, founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP); Ahmed Qurei (Abu Ala), economic assistant to Yasir Arafat and Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Minister of Finance; Hanan Ashwari, Palestinian academic and campaigner for Palestinian rights; Saeb Erekat, Palestinian negotiator; Faisal Husseini, Jerusalem PLO representative; Walid Moualem, Syrian Ambassador to the US 1990- ; Farouk Al-Shar'a, Syrian Foreign Minister 1984-; Gamal Abdel Nasser, Egyptian President 1954-1970; Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs 1978; Shams el-din Badran, Egyptian War Minister 1967; General Muhammed Fawzi, Egyptian Chief of Staff 1967 and Defence Minister 1968-1971; Mohammad Jafaar al Numeiri, President of The Sudan 1969-1971, 1971-1985; Jihan Sadat, widow of Anwar al Sadat, President of Egypt 1970-1981; Hussein, King of Jordan 1952-1999; Zeid Al Rifai, Jordan Prime Minister 1973-1976; Josef Abu Khalil, Maronite Phalange party, and adviser to Bashir Gemayel; Shafiq Al Wazzan, Lebanon Prime Minister and Minister for the Interior 1980-1984; Terje Rød Larsen, Norwegian Socialist; Intissar al-Wazir (Umm Jihad), widow of Khalil al-Wazir (Abu Jihad), PLO official; James Addison Baker, US Secretary of State 1989-1992; James Earl (Jimmy) Carter, US President 1977-1981; Warren Christopher, US Secretary of State 1993-1997; Dennis Ross, Director of Policy Planning Staff, US Department of State 1989-1992, Special Middle East Coordinator, US State Department 1994-; and Anatoly Dobrynin, Soviet Ambassador to the US 1962-1986.


Language/scripts of material: Predominantly English with a small amount of material in Hebrew, Arabic, Rumanian.

System of arrangement:

The collection is arranged in sections as outlined above, with the interview transcripts arranged in alphabetical order by country of residence.

Conditions governing access:

Open, subject to signature of Reader's undertaking form, and appropriate provision of a letter of introduction.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies, subject to the condition of the original, may be supplied for research use only. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Trustees of the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, attention of the Director of Archive Services.

Physical characteristics:

Finding aids:

Summary guide entry on-line and due to be published in hard copy. Detailed catalogue available on-line and in hard copy in the College Archives reading room.

Detailed catalogue


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

Notes within files indicate that material relating to `off the record' research interviews had been removed from the research files while in the custody of Brook Lapping Associates.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Presented to the Centre by David Alter, Brian Lapping Associates, 15 July 1999.


Existence and location of originals:

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

Publication note:



Archivist's note: Compiled by Alison Field

Rules or conventions: National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997; ISAD(G), Second Edition, 2000.

Date(s) of descriptions: November 2001

Arab-Israeli War (1967) | Wars (events)
Arab-Israeli War (1973) | Wars (events)
Suez Crisis (1956) | Wars (events)
War | International conflicts

Personal names
Baker | James Addison | b 1930 | US Secretary of State
Barak | Ehud | b 1942 | Prime Minister of Israel
Christopher | Warren | b 1925 | US Secretary of State
Dobrynin | Anatoly Fedorovich | b 1919 | Soviet diplomat and statesman
Eshkol | Levi | 1895-1969 | Prime Minister of Israel
Eshkol | Miriam | fl 1998 | wife of Levi Eshkol
Ghali | Boutros Boutros- | b 1922 | Secretary-General, United Nations x Boutros-Ghali | Boutros
Hirshfeld | Yair | fl 1998 | academic at Haifa University
Hussein bin Talal | 1935-1999 | King of Jordan
Nasser | Gamal Abdel | b 1918 | President of Egypt
Peres | Shimon | b 1923 | Prime Minister of Israel
Qurei | Ahmed (Abu Ala) | b 1937 | Palestinian politician x Abu Ala | Qurei | Ahmed
Sadat | Mohamed Anwar | 1918-1981 | President of Egypt
Sharon | Ariel | b 1928 | Prime Minster of Israel
Weizman | Ezer | b 1924 | President of Israel

Corporate names
PL0 | Palestinian Liberation Organisation x Palestinian Liberation Organisation

Israel | Middle East
Jordan | Middle East
Lebanon | Middle East
Palestine | Middle East
Syrian AR | Middle East
USA | North America
USSR | Eastern Europe