Alright! I believe this is 10 of 13 of the John Pilger documentaries I’m watching and writing on. “Palestine Is Still The Issue” deals with the Palestine-Israel situation, ultimately siding with the Palestinians, suggesting that they are the underdogs and that the suicide bombings are a last resort to inhumane conditions placed upon them.
I’m sure most of you know the history, but there were some details I wasn’t aware of, so I’ll give it anyways:
In 1948 Israel was formed, taking up 78% of what used to be Palestine, leaving the West Bank and the Gaza Strip for the Palestinians, which resulted in 750,000 Palestinian refugees. In 1967, Israel occupied the rest of the 22% in the 6 Day War, and has continuously set up illegal (under international law) settlements. The documentary states that this is the longest military occupation of modern times, with comparisons being made to Apartheid South Africa. Violent Palestinian uprisings have occurred because of this, the first from 1987-1993 (First Intifada), and another from 2000-2005 (Second Intifada).
Most of the documentary focuses on the humiliation and suffering the Palestinians are being subjected to by the Israelis. At one point John comments on suicide bombings by describing them as “[an] expression of despair by powerless people against an oppressor armed with modern weapons”. John interviews a Israeli man (Rami Alhanan), who’s daughter was killed in a suicide bombing (I just found a youtube video of him speaking about the incident, the video is embedded below), who says: “the suicide bomber was the victim, the same as my girl, of that I’m sure”. The doc further points out that more than 500 Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in occupied territories.
Israel’s claim to the land is a religious one: “God gave us this land”. As an atheist I find this to be unbelievably sad and can only see it as resulting in ridiculously unnecessary suffering. 😦
Some more notes I wrote:
– Israel receives billions of US dollars in support
– 4th largest military power, and has nuclear weapons
One of the interesting points made is that criticisms put toward Israel are usually turned around and are charged as anti-Semitic. I can’t remember who I’m quoting, but I thought it was similar to one of the blog posts I had made about Richard Rorty. The quote is: “Criticizing your government, your country’s policies, is today, I think, the only patriotic thing one can do”.
Desmond TuTu is also quoted, and I really liked it so I’ll reprint it here:
“Have our Jewish sisters and brothers forgotten their humiliation? Have they forgotten the collective punishment, the home demolitions, in their own history so soon? Have they turned their backs on their profound and noble religious traditions?”
I think this movie is certainly required watching if you, like myself, don’t know much about this kind of stuff. You can watch it here on Google video.
I watched this doc twice actually. Once by myself (and drunk, oddly enough), and the second time with my Palestinian friend (who was born in Jordan). She helped fill me in on a lot, and knew of most of the people that were interviewed in the movie. She said that Gaza has been described as the largest prison in the world. She also commented on how George Galloway (a British MP) has recently been denied access into Canada for a talk that he was going to give on Palestine and resisting war (Resisting War from Gaza to Kandahar) . This makes me sad. You can read a CBC article on it here.