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Palestine Is Still the Issue (2003)

A documentary about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that has lasted for more than 50 years. Contains some interviews with the children in this conflict.





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Credited cast:
John Pilger ...


In a series of extraordinary interviews with both Palestinians and Israelis, John Pilger weaves together the issue of Palestine. He speaks to the families of suicide bombers and their victims; he sees the humiliation of Palestinians imposed on them at myriad checkpoints and with a permit system not dissimilar to apartheid South Africa's infamous pass laws. He goes into the refugee camps and meets children who, he says, "no longer dream like other children, or if they do, it is about death." Written by Ørnås

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6 January 2003 (Norway)  »

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User Reviews

Palestina is, indeed, still the issue.
28 July 2010 | by (Argentina) – See all my reviews

This is a good documentary film about life in the occupied territories of Gaza and Transjordania; it also includes a short outline of the basic historic facts of the conflict, as well as some –otherwise obvious and self-imposed- ideas on the origin of inter-ethnic violence between Palestina and Israel. As many other documentaries around on the subject, this film does a lot by simply exposing some facts that are evident in Middle East, but rarely reach Western medias. After watching some of these films (made both by independent Israeli film-makers as Mograbi or European as Pilger) you realize that what they show is not at all some "unique footage" got by means of deep research, chance or perseverance, nor the product of a good deal of careful edition: once the crew can make it into the occupied territories (which apparently isn't that easy) they only need to shoot for a while the army checkpoints, the Israeli weapons everywhere, the 8 meters wall built in 2002, the "Jews-only" highways, the devastated lands or the towns destroyed by Israeli bombs to show what the Israeli occupation means. Anyway, the most shocking thing in this film -at least for me- are perhaps not these images, but the interviews to Israeli authorities and common-citizens; it is only then that you get to understand how this situation could happen and persists. Now, one of the reviews here shows exactly that point of view (look around for it). This reviewer tries to contest the whole film by pointing-out two alleged "mistakes" made by Pilger (which would show his total dishonesty about the subject): 1) Israel doesn't have the 4th most powerful army in the world, as Pilger claims; and 2) "Pilger makes the mistake of saying that Israel controlled 78% of the land after the 1948 War of Independence". As for number 1), maybe Israel was actually ranked number 4 for year 2002 (but where? by whom? on which standards?) maybe not: it doesn't matter at all. The only point here is that Israel has an army -and a very strong one, including nuclear weapons- and Palestine doesn't have any army at all, nor big or small – in the touching words of the Israeli that close the film: compared to us, Palestine is a mosquito. As for number 2), I'm afraid Pilger is right: even though Israel was given 55% of Palestine by the ONU in 1947, in the facts they were never restricted to that territory. The war began the next day and after it Israel was occupying 78% of Palestine -throwing out 750.000 Palestinians in the meanwhile, who would become refugees and would grow up to be more than 5.000.000 today. Other than this, the review doesn 't say a thing about what we see in the film. Some of its expressions, though, are in perfect harmony with the shocking opinions that I commented before. For instance, it accuses Pilger of using "Nazi-style tactics". In fact, critics to Israeli politics -even when made by reputed Jew intellectuals as Hannah Arendt- are commonly labeled as "antisemitism" or even –as here- Nazism. Far from it, in this case: the most important voices of the film are precisely those of Israeli Jew citizens who give a different insight on the situation and on the deep causes of violence, and even confess to be ashamed of their government politics against the Palestinians. A second example: this film "goes to discredit the only free democracy in the Middle East", says the reviewer. Leaving aside the military occupied territories of Gaza and Transjordania –which wouldn't be called "a democracy" by the drunkest madman on earth- and focusing on Israel itself, it would be a little funny to call that a sparkling democracy, if we remember that non-Jew Israeli citizens just don't have many of the rights granted to Jew citizens: different access –if any access at all- to land, to jobs and -more dramatically- to Law. Depending on your religious beliefs or political ideology, you may or not agree with this discrimination, you may justify it or not; but what you can not do is to call it a "free democracy", not under any available definition of the term.

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