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Thursday, July 13th, 2006

Time Event
10:26a
One film I saw today was Visit Palestine. It was a very interesting and powerful documentary following a peace activist, Caoimhe Butterly, her actions in Jenin and Palestinian life under Israeli occupation.

It was obviously one-sided, but at the same time came across as entirely truthful. It didn't try to examine the causes and justifications of the occupation, only the consequences to the people. We saw demolished houses, tanks patrolling streets and soldiers firing in residential areas and children throwing stones at armoured vehicles. There were interviews with families who'd had their houses demolished as collective punishment, children with bullet wounds, women whose husbands and children had been killed or arrested without charge. We didn't see groups of armed men, rockets fired into Israeli towns or any real signs of serious violent resistance. It was truth, but only part of the truth.

I imagine that would be answered by claiming it was merely countering existing media bias, where activists assert (probably with very good reason), that Western reporting of the conflict overly emphasises Israeli casualties against Palestinian.

Overall, I came away with a reinforced impression of Israeli over-reaction and inhumane oppression of the entire community, but not forgetting the circumstances that don't excuse the behaviour but may explain it. I also was impressed by the bravery of the activists, standing in front of tanks and blocking armed soldiers from shooting.

Both the film-maker, Katie Barlow, and the activist Caoimhe Butterly were in the cinema afterward for a question and answer session. That was well worth being at too. Caoimhe suggested that the solution to the situation was very simple, that Israel withdraws and all violence would stop. I'm not sure I believe that, she didn't mention the problems like water rights and settlements, let alone the hatred and distrust documented in the film we'd just seen.
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