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Abstract This paper assesses the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and how it began. The study gives an evaluation of occurrences which have made a significant impact on the crisis (Boix, 2003). The review later examines how the Palestinian film makers have been dealing with the conflict which has adversely affected growth and development especially in Palestine and brought about deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians and members of the military from both Israel and Palestine in a period of 100 years. The evaluation also establishes how the crisis is analysed by other filmmakers outside the realm of Palestine.
The study is founded on analyses of films about the Israeli -Palestine conflict and later on compares how the film makers present the main factors enhancing the conflict in their films. Purpose of study The paper evaluates the impact of films in relation to the conflict between Israelis and the Palestinians. This fact is achieved by assessing the outcome of the crisis as portrayed by Palestinian and other film makers. Objectives 1. To examine the roles of films as methods of conflict reduction in the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. 2. To reveal the biasness of media coverage of the conflict. Introduction The conflict between Israel and Palestine has always been founded on religious and historical doctrines.
The conflict has been transformed by the military actions between the two states of the Middle East. Most conflicts in the world are defined by ideological, religious, historical and philosophical bases. Certain groups or people may hold opposing ideas, opinions, feelings and wishes against others. The cause of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis has been that the Palestinians have been seeking the right to own part of their historical land while the Israelis who constitute the Jews have been claiming that the land of Gaza has been their Biblical right. The Gaza conflict has been rated among the world’s longest refugee crises and worst humanitarian situations. After a long battle over Gaza between the two countries, a peace treaty was made by the United States, European Union, Russia and the United Nations in 2003 to stop the fighting and find a peaceful solution for the region.
The settlement was to oversee the making of a Palestinian state which would be a neighbor of Israel. Under the peace treaty, the Palestinian Authority was to withdraw its militants from the West Bank. This act was supported by the U.S law and order campaign. As the peace process continued, the Palestinian territory continued to experience power struggles within its leadership and the internal strife led to the splitting and formation of two groups which were the Hamas and Fatah. Hamas was in charge of Gaza. West Bank was under the jurisdiction of Fatah. In May 2011, a team of mediators was constituted to oversee peace talks between Israel and Palestine. A reconciliation agreement was reached between the two sides but was not implemented.
The Israelis were not accommodative of a government led by Hamas. The peace treaty included an agreement to have a united government and elections within a year’s time. As the conflict persisted, many innocent Palestinians continued to live as refugees and depended on food aid for survival. In late 2008, Israel conducted an operation in Gaza with a goal of stopping Hamas from firing rockets to Israel. This battle ended in the killing of hundreds of civilians. In November 2012, Israel killed the chief military leader of Hamas, Ahmed Al-Jaabari.
Phases of the conflict
- Jewish immigration and settlement of Palestine (1890-1948)
- Arab-Jewish wars (1948-1980)
- Military occupation or first intifada (1980-1993)
- Oslo Peace Treaty (1993-2000)
- Second Intifada or Gaza disengagement (2000-2007).
Films Film makers have tried to capture the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by highlighting major and minor aspects of the crisis. Transmissions of films occur during a given period of time to various audiences in different locations. The message in the films is created by a combination of verbal and nonverbal cues including use of high end technology, video graphics, sound, music, characterizations and scripts. Palestinian made films Palestinian filmmakers have maintained the consistency of producing films in direct response to the Israeli occupiers of their land.
Financial costs constitute the most serious challenges experienced by Palestinian film makers. Physical dangers experienced by the film makers act as deterrents to their film making programs in Palestine. Claims of verbal attacks from Arab or Jews about the content of the films produced in Palestine have also been made in the past. During the last 3 decades, the Israeli-Palestine conflict has drawn the intervention of various third-party mediators who have devised successful methods of establishing dialogue and peace between the parties in conflict. Certain professional mediators have achieved positive results by creating programs involving arts, culture and media as peace building tools for reconciling enemies.
However, with certain exceptions, peace building experts are currently overlooking the potential benefits of films in resolving the Israeli-Palestine conflict. By exploring the impact of films on audiences within the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, new channels may be exploited for re-mediating the unchanging nature of Zionist disputes which may continue to bring war in the world. The use of film in peace building mediations has assumed slow progress and subsequent success but is not a popularly utilized method by peace mediators like that of peace talks. 5 Broken Cameras
The film is made in Palestine. It is directed by a native of Palestine together with an Israeli. Mr. Emad Burnat, a resident of the Israeli occupied Palestinian West bank town of Bil’in alongside Guy Davidi the Israeli film maker are the producers of the film. The film is a story of a Palestinian farmer, Emad, who buys a video camera in 2005 to record the birth of his son. During the period in which Emad is recording his son’s birth, the Israelis have begun building a wall to protect themselves from suicide bombers and prevent villagers from settling on their land.
The Israelis also want to build their houses on the land of West Bank. In the film, Emad uses his camera as a way of uniting his fellow citizens, publicizing their struggle and as evidence of how Israeli troops come and grab their land. The title of the film describes how Emad breaks five of his cameras during the recording of the struggle which takes a span of five years. His action is not taken positively by the Israelis and he is seen being harassed by young Israeli soldiers as he records their atrocities and humanitarian crimes in the West Bank town (Guardian, 2012). Emad continues filming the activities happening in the West Bank and is always fighting for his rights but he is sadly reminded of how he cannot use his camera in his own home.
As the film continues, signs of hope are evident when villagers are shown the progress of Emad’s work which develops their morale. The viewer also sees Emad’s son Gibreel giving a twig of a fallen olive tree to an Israeli soldier. The film shows an over whelming state of injustice and demonstrates the oppressive nature of the Israelis who are depicted as self righteous people. What is portrayed clearly in the film is the ability and courage of Emad to withstand a lot of suffering including death threats. Emad still captures all the activities of the Israelis in the West Bank town in spite of the challenges he faces from the Israelis.
The film is about a lady called Ula Tabra who is in self imposed exile in Paris, France. After a period of time, she returns to her hometown in Nazareth. Her return is inspired by the need of finding her true identity (Vecchi, Hasselt & Romano, 2005). She conducts interviews on her teachers, parents and other people who she feels might unravel the mystery of her identity. New films are personal experiences of people who are searching for their true identity. The film directors show the said people going back to their villages to research on their past. This concept is evident in this film and the previous one discussed. The issues addressed by the Palestinian film makers are about people who are in dire need of reconciling with their past. The Palestinian film makers thus show that the people of Palestine are nostalgic of the times when they enjoyed peace and a sense of belongingness. Contrasts and comparisons from other filmmakers
Several differences and similarities can be drawn from the Israeli and Palestinian films. The Israeli productions receive recognition as having an international outlook while the Palestinian ones are usually labeled “diaspora,” “exilic or “oppositional” by various film scholars. The film, Ashes Rima Eissa, a young filmmaker interviews her mother about their family history. When details are revealed of the true identity of the Rima’s family, she finds out that she comes from a village called Biram in Galilee (Timeout.com, 2012). Rima learns that the inhabitants of that village were evicted during a military operation in 1948 (Friedman, 2008).
The film maker shows how the state of Israel evicted the Palestinians mercilessly from their physical and cultural landscape. She is later seen questioning the timid nature of her parents’ generation and why they could not have fought for their rights against the Israelis. In Rima’s case, we see the concern of an Israeli for a Palestine which is a rare thing. The young lady sympathizes and shows concern for the early inhabitants of her village and finds no reason as to why her parents condoned such acts of inhumanity by the Israeli government. This idea contrasts what Palestine film makers address because they only show one party undergoing suffering due to oppression by the other.
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The Munich film
The Western media usually depicts activities of Palestinian freedom fighters as measures of terrorism while their counterparts’ actions are presented as justifiable. Spielberg in this film differs with the mentioned fallacy when it comes to handling the Palestinian part of the story in relation to the conflict. The plot narrates the activities of a group of assassins from the Israeli government in search of bandits involved in the 1972 terrorist attacks during the Munich Olympics. He briefly highlights the personal lives of the killers so that the audience is able to see the hidden facts of the story.
Mahmoud Hamshari is the main assassin being sought by the Israelis and is later killed. His daughter is presented in the picture showing that her father is innocent like everybody else. The daughter is also killed by the assassins. Palestinians in this film are not portrayed as evil. The Israeli assassins do not believe that their actions are justified in any way. This fact is shown when the Israelis start feeling guilty of their actions and their humane feelings are exposed. Avner the lead Israeli assassin is seen to live a troubled life when the missions end. He experiences nightmares, flash backs and horror because of his actions. Stereotypes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have been exposed through various films since the onset of the Israeli-Palestine conflict. Western media has described Palestinians as heartless terrorists who do not deserve to live while Israelis as victims of Palestinian terrorism (Vendemiati, 2004).
The deaths of Israelis were given priority and sensitivity than those of their Palestinian counterparts. The facts showed that at that particular time, the deaths of Palestinians exceeded that of Israelites. Conclusion In Israel, Arab schools were designed to teach loyalty to Zionism which was a national movement of the return of the Jewish people to their homeland but the history of the Palestinians was not taught. This fact was a way of eliminating the existence of Palestinians of the young generations while creating new identities. This idea was however not practical as has been shown through the people searching for their true identities as depicted in the films 5 Broken Cameras and Ashes. The Israelis and Palestinians need to accommodate each other’s differences for lasting peace to be realized. No other intermediaries should assume other responsibilities other than those of overseeing that amicable agreements are reached in the Middle East (Derrida, 1995).
The plight of innocent children with their families suffering in refugee camps is also another issue that makes this conflict a sad one. Conflicts cannot be analyzed in isolation from the rest of the society. Groups, just like individuals have ideas, goals and interests which become the sources of conflicts in given societies. Certain disagreements are deeply entrenched and complicated to solve because certain people are not ready to share resources that are crucial for their survival on earth (Alertnet,2012. In the 1990s, there was an intensive attempt led by the US president Bill Clinton to end the Israeli-Palestinian crisis but which did not succeed (Shefrin, 2007). Analysts attributed the failure to end the strife to the historical differences between the Israelis and Palestinians which were so pronounced that they were difficult to solve within a few years.
Film makers outside Palestine see no possibilities of a peaceful solution to the Israel-Palestine crisis because Israel’s superior financial and military strength. The use of films only serves to expose the plight of the people of Palestine and invoke sympathy from Muslims across the globe but does not in any way mitigate its effects. Terrorist groups have been formed like the al-Qeada to use alternative ways of fighting back oppression of Muslims by Israel and the US. The Palestinian story is usually dismissed by the West as an attempt by certain Muslims to fight Christians and is not accorded the crucial analysis that would reveal the true facts concerning it. Recommendations
The lives of innocent civilians should not be endangered according to humanitarian law and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not an exception to the law. Measures should be put to ensure that new generations build peace among themselves as they are most likely to be affected by the war. The cost of sustaining the conflict for Israel and Palestine surpasses that of peaceful cooperation. Certain influences and processes should be exploited by Israel and Palestine to create acceptance and tolerance concerning historical and religious differences. Mediation parties involved in peace arbitration efforts between Israel and Palestine should develop effective and efficient structures to expose and tackle the core factors that have led to the continuity of the crisis.
Certain mediators have been perceived to be biased against Palestine like the US.A neutral arbiter should be sought as the arbiter is likely to earn the respect of both parties involved in the conflict. Any agreements reached between the two parties should be legally binding under the signed treaties. Necessary action should be taken against either party that breaks the policies enshrined in the treaties including the imposition of trade and travel sanctions. A special body to deal with the conflict should be formed and funded by the United Nations.
Alertnet. (2012). Israeli-Palestininan conflict-Alertnet. Web.
Boix, C. (2003). Democracy and Redistribution. New York, USA: Cambridge University Press.
Friedman, Y. (2008). The Jewish Quartely- The View From the Inside. Web.
Guardian, T. (2012). 5 Brooken Cameras Review. Web.
Shefrin, E. (2007). RE-Mediating The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict:. Web.
Timeout.com. (2012). 5 broken cameras Review synopsis. Web.
Vecchi, G., Hasselt, V., & Romano, S. (2005). Crisis (hostage) negotiation: current strategies and issues in high-risk conflict resolution: Aggression and Violent Behavior. Oxford,UK: Oxon Press.
Vendemiati, A. (2004).In the First Person, An Outline of General Ethics. Rome, Italy: Urbaniana University Press.