Witness Palestine Film Series


Witness Palestine Film Series




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About the Film:

On the Side of the Road
Filmmaker Lia Tarachansky is a Jew who was born in Kiev. When she was six her family moved to the Ariel settlement in the West Bank. Her mother wanted to contribute to Zionism, Lia said. Tarachansky turns the camera on herself as she revisits settlements and interviews current residents. She says her goal is just to examine and narrate.

Panelist: Lia Tarachansky, this film's director; through Skype.

Stone Cold Justice
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This is a join report by Australian Broadcasting and The Australian newspaper. Reporter John Lyons travels to the West Bank to hear the story of children who claim they have been taken into custody, ruthlessly questioned, and then allegedly forced to sign confessions before being taken to court for sentencing.

Lyons meets Australian lawyer Gerard Horton, who's trying to help the boys who are arrested, and also talks to senior Israeli officials to examine what's driving the army's strategy.

The program focuses on the stories of three boys: Islam Dar Ayyoub, Fathi Mahfouz, and Husam Zumara, all teenagers. In two cases the army came for the children in the middle of the night, before taking them to unknown locations where they are questioned.

A five-year-old arrested during the night is also described.

"I've never broken into houses in Jerusalem and torn apart apartments, but in Hebron where I served 14 months 24/7 that's what we did to make our presence felt", says ex-soldier and co-founder of 'Breaking the Silence' group Yehuda Shaul, explaining the huge difference in treatment that the Palestinians in the West Bank receive compared to Israelis, and the tactics used to create a culture of fear.

It's a claim that's dismissed out of hand by Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. "A policy to create fear? There is no such thing. The only policy is to maintain law and order, that's all. If there's no violence, there's no law enforcement." But there is clear evidence of two legal systems operating, one for Israeli children and one for young Palestinians. Israeli settlers in the West Bank regularly attack Palestinian school children, knowing the authorities will not intervene.

It's an impossible situation that may provide temporary security for Israel, but in the long term may well breed a new generation of Palestinians prepared to do anything to gain retribution.

Panelists: Brad Parker, in person; and Nadia Ben-Youssef, through Skype

When I Saw You
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The setting is 1967 and at a refugee camp near Amman, Jordan. New refugees are arriving frequently in the aftermath of the six-day war – joining some who came after the Nakba. Ghaydaa and her 11-year-old son Tarek are among the new arrivals. They don't know what happened to their husband/father; perhaps he was killed in the fighting.

Tarek is a precocious child; he has his schoolwork aced, sometimes to the chagrin of his teacher. Tarek doesn't understand why they can't go back home and find his father and a teacher he liked better. "We came on foot, why can't we go back on foot?"

He sets out alone and comes across a fedayee militia, which takes him under their care. They're training in the woods, using some Russian-supplied weapons, in hopes of fighting to return to Palestine.

The story explores Palestinian exiles' longing to return home.

Panelist: Annemarie Jacir, director; via Skype

Voice Across the Divide
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Filmmaker Alice Rothchild is an American Jew raised on the tragedies of the Holocaust and the dream of a Jewish homeland in Israel. Voices Across the Divide follows her personal journey as she begins to understand the Palestinian narrative while exploring the Palestinian experience of loss, occupation, statelessness, and immigration to the US. The documentary is both a personal journey to understand the Palestinian narrative as well as the implications and contradictions of deeply held cultural beliefs in the Jewish community.

Rothchild interviews those who participated in the Nakba – and those affected by it.

Panelist: Alice Rothchild, co-director, in person
Please use the link below for a full schedule of films and showtimes.