Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Tunisia's drug law : Parliament votes to ease repressive legislation on drugs

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Honouring Xavier Jugelé

Read more

THE DEBATE

Trump's Best Enemy? North Korea in Washinton's Crosshairs (part 1)

Read more

THE DEBATE

Trump's Best Enemy? North Korea in Washinton's Crosshairs (part 2)

Read more

THE CAMPAIGN BEAT

Is there a risk of complacency in the Macron camp?

Read more

THE POLITICAL BRIEF

French presidential elections: A historic first-round result

Read more

FOCUS

Southern Border Plan: Mexico's own fight against illegal immigration

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

A drug in Mayotte turning people into zombies; and the violent expulsion of a waterside community in Lagos

Read more

ACCESS ASIA

Prostitution in Pattaya: Cleaning up Thailand's 'Sin City'

Read more

REPORTERS

An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 9.10 pm Paris time. And you can watch it online as early as Friday.

Latest update : 2013-05-10

Middle East: Munib al-Masri, the godfather of Nablus

In the West Bank, everyone calls him "The Godfather". Munib al-Masri, 80, is not only the richest Palestinian in the Palestinian Territories; he is also one of the most influential. In his final years, he is obsessed by two goals: reconciling the Palestinians, and making peace with Israel. Our reporters met him and followed him on the road in the Middle East.

Munib al-Masri’s day begins early. He sleeps little and does not like sitting around. After getting up and having a full oriental breakfast, he generally sets off around 7 am.

With the phone glued to his ear, this Palestinian billionaire who made his fortune in oil  travels the roads of the Middle East at a frenetic pace. He gets into a car with Palestinian licence plates to cross the Territories, then suddenly changes vehicle at the edge of the road. Munib then climbs aboard a 4x4 with Israeli plates, allowing him to reach the other side of the wall of separation. The Israeli authorities grant him these few privileges, such as VIP status, he tells us.

This Middle Eastern Don Quixote is trying to find new partners for his initiative to restart the peace process. Munib knows how to use the charm and authority his age give him. He approaches people without hesitation, wherever they are. He uses this audacity and skill with Hamas members in Gaza, just as he does with Israeli settlers near Nablus, his native city. Munib al-Masri talks to everyone, but his influence remains difficult to measure as long as the stalemate on the ground continues.

The philanthropist, who was close to late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, is attached to the idea that things can change very quickly towards chaos or peace. He believes that a moment of courage from current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would be sufficient. Munib likes to tell a story that Israeli President Shimon Peres recounted to him: that Ariel Sharon took just a few minutes to make the decision to dismantle all the settlements in Gaza.

Today, even if the peace process seems as stalled as ever, this tireless activist refuses to give up on his dreams.

By Gallagher Fenwick , Marc Perelman

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2017-04-21 France

Battle to stop nuclear waste being buried in a French village

The village of Bure, in eastern France, has become a battleground for environmentalists. It has been chosen as a site to bury radioactive waste, 500 metres underground. An...

Read more

2017-04-14 France

How sick are French hospitals?

Doctors, nurses, nursing aides, executives and even managers… They chose to work in public hospitals to be able to treat people from all walks of life – from the homeless to...

Read more

2017-04-07 French Presidential Elections 2017

Disillusioned French voters speak out ahead of elections

Back in 2012, we went to meet French voters from all walks of life who told us of their hopes and fears. We met Fabrice, a factory worker; Ahdijah, a social worker; Lionel, a...

Read more

2017-03-31 Holocaust

Video: 'If I ever come back', a French schoolgirl's letters from the Holocaust

"If I ever come back" tells the tragic story of Louise Pikovsky, a French schoolgirl who was deported and died at Auschwitz. Using long-forgotten letters Louise wrote to her...

Read more

2017-03-23 Europe

Video: Crimean dissidents silenced by Moscow

Three years after the annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, Russia has deployed all the tools at its disposal, in the police and the justice system, to silence...

Read more