BBC TwoCooking in the Danger Zone


Page last updated at 10:31 GMT, Thursday, 13 March 2008

Cooking in the Danger Zone: Programme three

Food writer Stefan Gates talks to a mullah in Nablus
Sunday, 30 March, 2008
1900 BST, BBC Two

The Middle East is the final stage in Stefan Gates' latest culinary journey exploring how ordinary people survive in some of the world's most dangerous and difficult places.

In Israel and the occupied West Bank, the conflict is rooted in land and expressed in food - or the lack of it.

Stefan gets his first taste of tear gas when a protest against Israel's security barrier turns violent. The Israelis say it is essential to keep suicide bombers out, but it cuts some villagers off from a large proportion of their land, and it has been declared illegal in a ruling by the International Court of Justice.

As the protesters storm the barrier, Israeli soldiers fire tear gas and rubber bullets at them.

In the isolated, ultra-orthodox Jewish settlement of Itamar in the West Bank, 15 residents have been killed by armed Palestinians. Many are members of Gush Emunim, a settler movement which argues that there is a religious imperative for Jewish people to settle the West Bank.


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In the adjacent village of Yanoun, whose Arab residents are unable to harvest their olives after violence and armed intimidation from settlers.

After visiting both villages, Stefan travels to the West Bank city of Nablus and stays with a baker who explains how the Israelis control the food supply, and often there simply is not any flour to bake an Arab staple: flatbread. In Israel, Stefan meets the victims of a Nablus suicide bomber at a falafel stall.

In the Negev desert, Bedouin tribesmen are being forced off land they have lived on for centuries. They barely survive raising goats and camels, one of which Stefan tries to milk.

Finally, he meets up with the aid workers trying to get food into Gaza where a violent power struggle is unfolding.

The Israelis have closed the border, causing extreme hardship: the fighting is making the food situation for Palestinians more desperate than ever, and Stefan finally retreats when a rocket flies above his head.

Producer: Marc Perkins
Executive Producer: Will Daws

Itamar: Religious West Bank settlers
21 Jun 02 |  Middle East


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