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“Divine Intervention” Film: the Palestinian – Israeli Conflict Research Paper


The Palestinian-Israeli films have created a picture of the general situation in the region. The films are diverse. They are in the form of fiction or documentaries. These films revolve around conflict, political systems, cultural systems, and the personalities of prominent individuals in these societies. Moreover, the films have won international recognition through awards. These are especially the movies aimed at criticizing the conflict or creating a peaceful co-existence between the Jews and the Arabs, who are at the epicenter of the conflict. Movies and films on the Palestine-Israeli conflict have been directed on a global scale. Some analysts argue that no liberalization struggle has ever been well documented for a global audience than that of the Israeli and Palestine (Gers, 2008).

The good work of revealing the situation on the ground is conducted despite numerous restrictions, especially by the Israeli authorities who interfere with the production and distribution of the films. These authorities also curtail the viewing of such material by the public. There have been increased necessities for the two governments to use films to enhance dialogue and find a permanent solution to the increased animosity. The films have been used to enhance the social relationship between the Arabs and the Jews who are the occupants of the affected region. The filmmakers, actors, writers, and the crew who all have critical roles to play enhance film dialogue (Sallinas, 2009).

This paper will reveal the impact of older films on the Israel-Palestine conflict. It will highlight how contemporary movies have had positive significance in the quest for peace in the region. The film industry has been scrutinized to shape society either positively or negatively (Harvey, 2005). Subsequently, there have been calls for the adoption of ethics and professionalism in this industry. Emerging studies have shown that the film industry is an important institution in the ongoing peace-building motive. Movies have been instrumental in portraying the day-to-day lives of the people as well as the security and political situation (Tessler, 1994).

The Palestine-Israel Conflict Movies

The movies and films have had positive as well as negative effects. The older movies that aim at showing the situation between the two countries have been viewed to be mainly based. This has exacerbated the conflict in the region. A good example is a movie titled “Paradise Now,” which was directed by Freddy Rokem. The movie has scenes of suicide-bombers who engage in self-destruction. The movie causes a lot of tension because the Israeli people are depicted as victims in the movie and therefore view Palestine as their enemies.

The sounds of sirens in the movie actually portray the worst situation, and experts view this as causing conflict. ‘Paradise in the Film’ is another film that depicts the Palestine-Israel conflict. It literally consists of pictures, which reveal suicidal bombings. The director of this film, Abu-Assad, portrays the childhood life of two Palestinian children. The film focuses on their last days and shows a farewell as the two families cross a border between the two countries, which is also a battlefield. The film involves a woman called Suha who had returned from exile, where she had run away to avoid the wrath of the war. The film fueled debate over the contents because it was filmed amid efforts to create peace between the two countries (Gers, 2008).

‘With God on Our Side’ is a movie that depicts the conflict between the two nations. This movie was a source of contention because it created more rifts between the two countries. The inclusion of a theological issue in the movie was among the major sources of contention in the movie. It portrays Israel as a God-chosen society and as having the divine right to own and live in Israel. There are other emerging issues in the movie, revealing that Christians from the Western countries were supporting the Jews. This development negatively affected the relationship between the two countries as it left Palestinians in great suffering and bent attacking Israel as a form of revenge.

The film suggests that people should love and support the people of Israel. This film was seen as highly controversial because it created a lot of conflict between the Arabs and the Jews and thereby raising the level of insecurity in the region. The older movies are seen as contradicting the current situation on the ground where the Jews and the Arabs are trying to create a peaceful co-existence between them. The films and the movies should actually be at the forefront in facilitating and enhancing peace. There has been so much talk over the movies that are viewed on the screens and have a great significance to peacebuilding (Talmon & Peleg, 2011).

The older films created a sense that the Palestinians did not have a right to enjoy a state (Diskin, 1993). In a movie called ‘Blockade of Gaza’ and ‘Dependence of the West Bank,’ the Israeli defense team saw it necessary to block the territory around Gaza. This film created a belief that Gaza belonged to the Jews. This made the Palestinian government seek assistance from the Israeli government on issues regarding the safety of people as well as the collection of taxes. It also created a sense of retaliation as the Palestinians were seen to be at the inferior end. This view of society was maintained for very many years, and the society was seen to be in a great state of insecurity (Sallinas, 2009). There was no specific ethical and professional conduct in the film production during the early years, and the directors and producers produced films that they thought would sell out easily. They often spread propaganda or exaggerated the lives of people and consequently led to suspense and conflict.

Contemporary Movies

The contemporary movies are more issue-based rather than on entertainment alone. There have been greater concerns over the contents of the films considering that there is constant pressure to enhance and promote peace in the region. There are films such as “The Divine Intervention,” which is seen as the best film work currently for promoting peace (Khatib, 2006). This is a film that was acted by Elia Suleiman and is in the form of a black comedy, which contains a number of series revolving around the lifestyle of the Palestinian and Israel people. The focus is on the conflict. The movie features a Palestinian woman wearing sunglasses. The woman is very attractive to the Israeli troops.

The movie does not entail a lot of dialogue and is centered on portraying the character of its actors. From an episode in the movie, a tourist enquires for directions from an Israeli police officer, and the officer is unable to direct her. He calls out for a blindfolded Palestinian prisoner who gives her three possible directions. The couple gets back to the car, and the man blows up a balloon, which had the writings of the name of Yasser Arafat, who was the Palestinian prime minister. This film was nominated for the “Palme d’Or” award in 2002 for having laid out the actual scenario as it was between the Palestinians and the Israeli people (Talmon & Peleg, 2011).

This film differs from the older films because of its lack of bias. This movie calls for the need to solve the conflict not only in Israel but also in the Middle East. Being a contemporary film, it has changed the people’s perception of war and actually revealed the damages that the conflict has caused. The movie portrays high ethical and professional standards in the journalism industry and has accuracy in reporting and portraying the situation as it was on the ground. This movie was reputed to have a lot of effect to the society. Moreover, the movie was seen as one that was aimed at promoting peaceful coexistence between Israel and Palestine. This film was produced at a time where there were calls for peace due to the increased incidences of suicide-bombings. The movie was instrumental in the realization that a permanent solution would be found. The movie was produced at a time when the Israeli troops were determined to close their territory by mounting security walls in the parts around the West Bank (Books, 2011).


‘Jaffa’ is another important film directed by a filmmaker called Keren Yedaya. This movie is famous for bringing to light the nature of conflict between Israel and Palestine. The producer won an award for the movie. This film portrays Arab and Israeli actors promoting peace in the region. It is a story of a Jewish girl, whose role was played by Dana Ivgy, and an Arab mechanic who was working in a family garage. An actor called Mahmoud Shalaby plays the role of the mechanic. The story revolves around Tel Aviv. This is an Israeli city and a region that caused a lot of conflict over its ownership. The two actors portray the society, as it should be. Their friendship notwithstanding the conflict in the region gives a clue of true love and harmonious living in the society. The two live together regardless of their ethnic differences.

This movie was seen as the one of the best-acted movies due to its great significance to the Israeli-Palestine relationship. When asked about the movie, Shalaby was noted as saying that the film was as an indication of the good relationship that should exist between Israel and Palestine. She reiterated the need for the peaceful coexistence between the Arabs and the Jews. Shalaby made the remarks to the Israeli daily ‘Yedioth Ahronoth’. Nevertheless, the relationship between the Israelis and Palestinians was a normal relationship characterized by love and hate. The film was not only a very good source of entertainment but also a movie that enhanced the social relationship in the region (Books, 2011).

The latest films that are being produced shows the trend of the conflict where the Israeli forces have been invading Palestinian territories in Gaza and also West Bank causing damages and killing innocent people and kidnappings. There are reports indicating that out of 10 Palestinian males, at least 4 of them have been imprisoned at one time in their lives. Most of them are never tried and they undergo torture and physical abuse. The movies have been shaping the society by portraying the need to respect the sanctity of life as well as the full observation of international laws that require every human being to enjoy their basic rights. Recognition of these rights by the authorities has not been given keen interest. Nevertheless, the media especially the film producers have dedicated much of their efforts in showing the people what are their rights and how they are supposed to live with each other without conflict or tension (Gers, 2008).

The contemporary movies are also in the forefront illuminating the Palestine and Israel conflict over issues that are related to ethnicity and land. The film industry is already adjusted to the needs and calls from international bodies such as the United Nations. These bodies have called for responsibility in the journalism and the film industries (Tomaric, 2013). This was not the case a few decades ago where there were increased nepotism and lawlessness in these industries. The results are evident in the way in which the two societies are responding.

In their production, Goldberg and Justine Shapiro became an award winner after their production “The Encounter”. This film has actors from Israel, Palestine, as well as North and South America. This is a sensational story about an Israeli settler, an ex-prisoner with a Palestinian origin. Her Israeli mother and her Palestinian brother are seen to risk their lives when they come out openly and call for peace in the region. They call for consensus between the Palestinian and the Israeli governments to put a halt to the war that was slowly engulfing the society. Their move is seen as a catalyst to reform, which shows peace prevail in the society. (Sallinas, 2009). It is a film of hope, encouragement, and peace building. It is clear that this film had great efforts in changing the attitude about the perception of the people.

The movies also reveal that religion should not be an obstacle or a source of conflict in the society. In the movie Jaffa”, Mahmoud Shalaby claims that extremism has always existed especially in the Israel country. However, through education and modern ways of living, there has been the eradication of boundaries based on religion backgrounds as it was witnessed in the older movies, which were produced before the revolution in the film industry. He claims that people are born with no knowledge and are shaped by the society.


To conclude, the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians has existed since the 20th century. Land issues have precipitated this conflict. The conflict has also been caused by factors such as control over Jerusalem, and access to water, security issues, and freedom of movement among other factors. The conflict has left devastating effects on its wake as many individuals have lost their lives. Moreover, many people have been evicted and live in neighbouring countries as refugees. This development has gained international recognition. In the light of this, there has been enormous pressure from the warring sides to use dialogue as an answer to the looming impasse. Destruction of property has provided an insight on the ravaging effects of the war. The two sides have recently devised means of ameliorating the conflict, which threatens peace not only between the two countries but also in the global front.

There has been a significant improvement in the way the film industry has revealed the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Over the recent years, the focus has been on the need to review the actual situation on the ground. Movies have been filmed to focus on correcting social and political injustices. The modern movies depict the lives of people in Israel and Palestine in an attempt to improve the societal image due to the significant impact on the global stability of war in the Middle East. The lives of the people have actually changed over the years. They have adopted the perception that religion should not be a barrier or a cause of conflict.

This realization has proved important in improving the relationship between the Arabs and the Jews. The films have also been trying to demonstrate to the people the need for their basic human rights. Undermining of human rights in instances such as detention without trial have reduced. Presently the leaders in the two regions are seeing the need and right to live in a peaceful society. Unlike in the past where movies were condemned for exaggerating the situations of the war, the contemporary films are more issue based and try to create a peaceful environment for the Palestinian and Israeli people. This has been of significant importance especially with regard to how suicide bombings are addressed.


Books, H. (2011). Palestinian Films, Including: Divine Intervention (Film), Chronicle of a Disappearance, Paradise Now, List of Palestinian Films, in Fair Palestine:. Hoffman : Hephestus books.

Diskin, B. (1993). Palestinian National Authority. European Journal of Political Research, 23 (1), 1025-1032.

Gers, N. (2008). Palestinian Cinema: Landscape, Trauma and Memory. London: Edinburgh University Press.

Harvey, D. (2005). The Concrete Curtain. Los Angeles: Pro Quest.

Khatib, L. (2006). Filming the Modern Middle East: Politics in the Cinemas of Hollywood and the Arab World. London: I. B. Tauris.

Sallinas, M. (2009). Resolving The Palestinian Conflict: Perspectives on the peace Process. Amherst: Cambria Press.

Talmon, M., & Peleg, Y. (2011). Israeli cinema: identities in motion. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Tessler, M. (1994). A History of The Israeli Palestinian Conflict. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Tomaric, J. (2013). The Power Filmmaking Kit: Make Your Professional Movie on a Next-to-Nothing Budget. Abingdon: Taylor & Francis.

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IvyPanda. ""Divine Intervention" Film: the Palestinian - Israeli Conflict." May 21, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/divine-intervention-film-the-palestinian-israeli-conflict/.


IvyPanda. 2020. ""Divine Intervention" Film: the Palestinian - Israeli Conflict." May 21, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/divine-intervention-film-the-palestinian-israeli-conflict/.


IvyPanda. (2020) '"Divine Intervention" Film: the Palestinian - Israeli Conflict'. 21 May.

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