Tip of the day - Welcome to Hebron

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Bring me home, please

If ever you happen to be in Patras (Greece) on Sunday, Oct 4th, for the International Film Festival don't miss the screening of the film Welcome to Hebron. If, like i guess most of the readers, you can't make it to Patras, you can also catch the film in Montpellier at the end of the month or in Stockholm and in Kassel in November.

Two weeks ago Welcome to Hebron won a prize at the Cinefest Daazo Competition in Hungary. I saw it recently in London. The film was part of Goshka Macuga's exhibition The Nature of the Beast at the Whitechapel Art Gallery. You know how visitors typically spend a few minutes to watch videos in art exhibitions? This time, everyone was glued to their chair.

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Filmed during more than three years on location in Hebron in the West Bank, Terje Carlsson's documentary shows the impact of the occupation on everyday life in Palestine.

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At the center of the story, there's 17-year old Leila Sarsour, a student at the Al-Qurtuba-school, a Palestinian girl school surrounded by Israeli military installations and Israeli settlements (which are considered illegal under international law.) This peculiar location means that the school girls and their teachers are the ideal target for stone, garbage and egg-throwing. As a former commander of the Israel army, who has served 14 months in Hebron explains "When you see a Palestinian, you throw a rock." He adds that it's part of the education as children under twelve cannot be prosecuted.

One of the most striking thing about Hebron is that it must have been such a lively, pleasant and pretty city. Nowadays, security nets are covering streets in order to protect Palestinians walking in the street from stones and other objects thrown down at them, other streets seem to belong to a ghost town, many businesses have closed, families have gone and those who have stayed have replaced windows by a tough metal web.

Leila is never bitter, nor would she allow you to see her as a victim. Even if the walls of her city are covered with graffiti that say "Slaughter the Arabs" and "Gas the Arabs". Even if the soldiers put barbed wire in her mother's garden to prevent her from picking up the apricots and olives from her trees. Surrounded by check-points, fences, the gaze of Israeli soldiers and the constant threat of being attacked and insulted by settlers, she still believes it is possible to coexist peacefully in the city.

Trailer of the movie:

Terje Carlsson's upcoming movie sounds very promising. It will be called Israel vs Israel and will give a voice to the truly brave Israelis.

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10 Comments:
Dr. Yusuf Al-Kindi

Let us not forget that Jews lived in Hebron for 2000 years, and were chased out, at one point, by Arab mobs in a pogrom in 1923. The ancestors of the Jews are buried in Hebron, but the so called Palestinians want to prevent Jews from visiting the graves of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

When archaeologists dig around Hebron, they never seem to find 2000 year old Palestinian scrolls written in Arabis. Why is that? All the 2000 year old scrolls are in Hebrew!

regine

Dear dr. Yusuf Al-Kindi,
i can't see how the discovery of some 2000 year old scrolls can justify the suffering of thousands of people today. the "we were there before you" policy is a bit short-sighted and i'm glad other populations in the world are not following it. what is happening in Palestinian occupied (in some cases illegally occupied) territories is called apartheid over here. some would even use stronger words. of course the 1923 pogrom is a fact. another fact is that jews and palestinians used to live together fairly peacefully.

Adam

Live there peacefully? like the hebron massacre? 60+ Jews murdered, far before there ever was a state? or Jewish armed guards?
Yes at one point hundreds of years ago there was peace, but islam is very different from what it once was hundreds of years ago, when it was focused on education and enlightenment.
the truth is, the tables have turned and the original people of Israel now control it again and are more humane to their guests then the guests had ever been to them.
realistically if the IDF pulled out of the west bank, hamass would be far worse then anything these people have ever seen. Read a book about hamass' control tactics.

regine

Dear Adam,

Carlsson's documentary is well researched and obviously mentions the massacre too (that's why i wrote "farily peacefully"). but i'm not sure that past violence can be a justification for violence and injustice as you seem to suggest.
besides, i can't see how you can judge Islam this way and pretend it has the same face everywhere. Islam (just like any other religion) can lead to extremism in some places, in others it stands for openness and tolerance. it is always dangerous to generalize like you do.
the tables have turned, as you say. what the Israeli government is doing is called apartheid, ghettoization and even worse if that's possible. no democracy condones such practices.
please do enlighten us and advise a well-balanced and honest book about "hamas control tactics"

Dr. Yusuf Al-Kindi

Regine,
Arafat was given the chance to declare a Palestinian state but refused that chance because he really was a gangster who invented the concept of a unique Palestinian nation. The suffering of the so-called Palestinians was craeted by their own leaders and by the Jordanian and Egyptian governments. Gaza and the so-called Westbank were parts of Egypt and Jordan for years. Those countries should have absorbed their own countrymen instead of forcing them to stay in camps in order to pressure Israel to cease to exist.

Much of the suffering of teh so-called Palestinians is due to their own leaders exploiting them for power. Arafat pilfered and emblezzled millions of dollars. His family vacationed in Europe while other Palestinians suffered in poverty, using money given to him by Europeans and Arab governments. Let the Palestinains find their home in TransJOrdanian-Palestine. What?> You mean the King of Jordan threw them all out in 1970 in October???

John Paarlberg

Can anyone tell me how I can get a copy of Welcome to Hebron? (in the US)

regine

Dear Dr. Yusuf Al.Kindi,
i find it very telling that you would put all the blame on Palestinians instead of trying to justify what many would call an ongoing genocide

regine

Hi John,

strangely (or not!) i can't find the video on amazon.com but it's available on amazon UK
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Welcome-To-Hebron-DVD/dp/B001TLWQZG
or it seems to have been uploaded on you tube
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnfdIeKOiCw

Gail Glotzer

what can we do to ensure that Palestineans and Israelis co-exist in Hebron?

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