The root of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is closely tied to an unspoken chain of events in history. In 1948 Israel carried out an ethnic cleansing campaign of hundreds of villages, which would lead to the uprooting over 700,000 people from their homes and work. This act, no longer significantly debated even within Israeli academia, was not so much a reaction to opposing Arab armies but a strategy to clear Palestinians of land on which the immigrant Jewish community sought to build their state. The atrocities the Jews had faced in Europe brought them to the land of Palestine to build a new future for their people. It would come at the cost of the native Arab inhabitants of the land.
This Palestinian Life is a film about the Palestinian nonviolent struggle in the face of Israel’s occupation and annexation of their land. Israel maintains control over a majority of Palestinian land. Surrounding the valleys of many Palestinian villages lie Israeli communities, called settlements, a majority of which according to international law are illegally built on Palestinian village land. The Israeli army protects Jewish settlers as they violently attack school children, prevent Palestinian shepherds from tending to their flocks of sheep, or raze ancient trees. This system threatens the very way of life of Israel’s Palestinian neighbors.
Some Palestinians return violence with violence. Most Palestinians don’t. Nonviolent struggle often takes the shape of demonstrations, boycotts and civil disobedience to counter illegal methods of expansion. Among Palestinians this struggle more often resembles sumoud (steadfastness) and perseverance, as they find creative and bold ways of remaining on their land and in their villages despite the opposition.
The international media frequently covers the conflict that exists between Israel and Palestinians. Palestinian violence makes news as it fits the image of the worldview that drives much of the international media, men in masks and guns with bad intentions. The media misses the real story of the Israeli state’s suppression of Palestinian existence, these measures are faced by a Palestinian resolve to maintain their way of life rather than flee the relentless pressure of occupation.
This film seeks to expose the rarely told story about a resistance that is nonviolent against the unjust policies of an occupying state.