The Faces of Middle East Conflict

ABC News' Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz tracks the Mideast conflict's impact on Israelis and Palestinians over 26 years of reporting.
6:48 | 07/27/14

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Transcript for The Faces of Middle East Conflict
I'm David Wright in gaza. Where another cease-fire now seems to be in effect. This, after a morning of heavy shelling from Israel in response to volleys of rockets from hamas. Israel had initially offered to extend the 24-hour humanitarian cease-fire. Hamas rejected that offer citing the continued presence of Israeli ground troops here. Then a sudden about face from hamas. They've offered a 24-hour window effective immediately. All quiet for now except for the sounds of drones overhead. Yesterday's brief respite gave us a chance to visit the hardest hit areas, including the neighborhood around that U.N. School taken down last week. Palestinians had an opportunity to collect the dead. In one neighborhood, 85 bodies extracted. The death toll on the Palestinian side, more than 1,000, including at least eight more killed this morning. On the Israeli side, 40. And still, no lasting prospects for peace. Jon? Thanks, David. Now the mideast crisis through the eyes of two families not in the war zone of gaza but nearby on the west bank. 26 years ago, Martha Raddatz went there to cover the conflict. Between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Recently, she went back to check in with the people she met then. They're still living side by side. But now even further apart. Reporter: This day, 26 years ago, seems a lifetime ago. The Israeli soldiers I interviewed during a patrol on the west bank never imagined how bad the future would be. But praperhaps they should have, when you listen now to what they said then. You can see in their eyes a lot of hatred. You can see sometimes a little child of 2 years old, 3 years old, who is staring at you with hatred. Reporter: The Palestinian frustration and anger was indeed everywhere. In April of 1988, I happened on a wedding in the west bank. A young Palestinian guest determined her people would have a brighter future. People have to go on marrying and bringing more children. This is the only way that we Arabs, Palestinians will stay in this country. She's getting married. She'll bring another son. And he'll be an Arab Palestinian. Reporter: This is the same Palestinian church where the wedding took place in 1988. It has changed very little. But the people that were there that day will never be the same. For many years, Palestinians have continued to live her and have children and keep their roots in the land. They have survived in spite of everything. Reporter: Rona was the 19-year-old Palestinian woman I talked to outside the church 26 years ago. Today, Rona, with two children of her own, reflected on what she told us back then. When you look at this land over the past 26 years. Things better? Things worse? Um, difficult questions. In some ways, it's better. In some ways, it's worse. The U.N. Vote to accept palestine as a member state has given us hope. Though we're still people under occupation. Our status at least in our own eyes have changed. Um, sadly, we still live in a one big prison. Reporter: She's talking about the wall. The massive cement barrier topped with barbed wire that keeps the Palestinians on the west bank separate from Israel. It's a wall of sadness. Of misery. Of hate. It's there. So you see it physically. But it's also in your mind. It's in your heart. I grew up in a palestine that did not have a wall. And our ability to travel and be friends with Israelis was different from the time of where my children will grow. Reporter: Those on the other side of the wall have a very different view. Debra and Michael Tobin live in a jewish settlement on the west bank. There's no doubt I could cry listening to her story. Unfortunately, the situation though demands a response to protect ourselves. It's also horrible for them, but, when the wall went up, my anxiety went down. Reporter: The tobins today are very different from the young family I met back in 1988. Just a year or so after they moved from Massachusetts to Israel. Debra pregnant with their fourth child, ready for the challenge of coexisting with the Palestinians. I think the turning point to me was thinking about, sort of imaging myself and being 90 years old on my rocking chair and not wanting to look back and have regrets. I would like to feel that it's very possible that we two peoples can learn to live peacefully in a land we both love. Reporter: The daughter Debra was carrying now 26 and expecting a daughter of her own. A child that will surely be shaped by her grandparents' experience. After 26 years, we don't have any illusions. Reporter: You're not the idealistic couple I met 26 years ago? That old, ex-hippie, peace and love, let's just talk it all out and be friends with the Arabs? No, that's gone. The circumstances have pushed us each into our respective camps. It could change. Reporter: Tell me the difference between the 19-year-old I met 26 years ago and the 45-year-old mother today? I have grown older and more mature and have seen more suffering for my people. But it has not changed my resilience and my desire to continue to stay here. Maybe the difference, um, I have less friends from the other side. Those relationships have faded away. It's something that makes me sad. It has been really distressful, seeing the pain and the killing in gaza. Reporter: Do you think you'll see peace in your lifetime? I'm not sure. I'm not sure. Reporter: Whether there is a cease-fire or not, this most recent conflict has done great damage. Meaning the cycle of despair and mistrust we have seen for so many years will likely continue for many more. For "This week," I'm Martha Raddatz in Jerusalem.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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