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Home > Resources > Israel/Palestine - Women in Black: A Documentary Film (52 min)

Israel/Palestine - Women in Black: A Documentary Film (52 min)

Monday 23 February 2009, by siawi


Israel/Palestine - Women in Black — 52 min [15 November 2002]

We bring you the empowering story of the ‘Women in Black’ movement. An organisation set-up by Israeli women, but now joined by women the world over, all trying to bring peace through non-violent direct activism.

Flash Clip: [10:09, 23.3 MB]

View transcript [See below -sw]


Women in Black €52.00
- Shipping: €10.00
- Sub-Total: €52.00
- Total: €62.00

Note from Shebar: According to on Tuesday, February 17, 2009: 62 British Pounds = 90.083 US Dollars or 70.528 Euros

We bring you the empowering story of the ‘Women in Black’ movement. An organisation set-up by Israeli women, but now joined by women the world over, all trying to bring peace through non-violent direct activism. We see ordinary women from all sides going to extra-ordinary lengths to help and highlight the plight of the Palestinians. And we witness first hand the struggle to maintain normal life surrounded by tanks and snipers.

Everyone in the Palestinian quarter has a story to tell. A girl pulls back her hair to reveal a large bruise. “They hit me because they wanted to step on the Koran and I wanted to stop them,” she claims, recalling the night Israeli soldiers ransacked her house. Another woman recounts how her young daughter discovered their neighbour’s body “splattered all over the wall.” An aid worker describes how Israeli soldiers fired at journalists to prevent them recording Israelis looting Palestinian shops. Every house bears telltale signs of snipers or bombs.

Sharon may have come to power by championing an aggressive Palestinian policy but not all Israeli Jews agree with him. The Women in Black movement, founded by a group of Israelis in 1988, believe that ending the occupation is the only way that Israel will achieve peace. As the traditional view of Israel as a haven for the oppressed is challenged, many Israelis are struggling to come to terms with the actions of their government. Anna Colombo’s family were murdered at Auschwitz. Despite this, she declares that “ever since I learned what was happening here, I have been suffering terribly … I don’t want to cause Arabs to suffer because of me being here.” Israeli Batya Makover agrees. “I hate what we are doing now, I hate it. I am very worried about what this means to these soldiers as they destroy houses and kill people.”

Enthusiasm for the movement rapidly spread and there are now over 150 groups worldwide. They have pioneered a way of encouraging a more humanitarian course of action. We spend five months with the London Women in Black (affectionately dubbed ‘Hell’s Grannies’ by one British newspaper) as they go to the West Bank to form a human shield around Palestinian civilians. As well as dismantling roadblocks and flypostering ‘Return to Sender’ on Israeli tanks, they become caught up in the attack of Jenin and the siege of the Nativity, braving mines and the army to take aid to besieged Palestinians.

One of the main aims of the international Women in Black is to relay information about conditions in the occupied territories. “I have never seen such an injustice take place,” states member Liz Khan, describing the way of life that Palestinians have been reduced to. “How can you have peace when you’re blockading people within their villages?” questions member Julie Slowik. “Their families are hungry and they’re desperate. They’re absolutely desperate.” Unfortunately, not everyone is sympathetic to their plight. “God owns this land and he gave it to the Jewish people!” shouts one opponent. “How dare you be on the side of Hitler number two? … You’re the worst, you’re Jew haters, Nazis, self-hating Jews.”

It is clear that the current stalemate is benefiting nobody. While most coverage of the situation focuses on extremists from both sides of this conflict, this thought-provoking documentary shows normal people caught up in a cycle of violence, trying to make a difference and lend their voice to the suffering Palestinians. It’s heartening to see that there are Israelis and Palestinians working together with the international community towards peace.

Donna Baillie

(Ref: 1436)

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Film Transcript - Israel/Palestine - Women in Black

- November 2002 – 52 mins

0:00:04 Cheryl: “I never felt hated as a Jew until I came to Israel. When the first set of bombing started about 10 years ago, my daughter was in high school. And she just stopped going to school. She would just cry all the time. She just would stay home and listen to music and cry.”

0:00:21 Josephine: “You just wonder what it’s like when the bombs drop. The sheer fear and terror that must be around for them.”

0:00:28 Georgina: “It doesn’t make one feel very good about humanity. Because there doesn’t seem to be any humanity here at the moment.”

0:00:34 Jenin woman: “The Israeli soldiers destroyed everything. They bombed the houses by the plane and destroyed everything. No water to drink, no electricity.”

0:00:51 Right-wing Israeli man: “Get the hell, you pig face. I don’t understand that you’re a pig, you’re a pig.”

0:00:55 Nadia: “Arafat is lying to all of us. He says he only wants a little country in the West Bank. The truth is he wants to destroy the state of Israel, and then he wants to unite with Osama bin Laden to to take over Europe and America.”

0:01:09 Right-wing Israeli woman: “Evil people, evil people.”

0:01:12 Peace activist: “When we approached carrying our signs a man came up and said, ‘you’re the worst, you’re Jew-haters, Nazis, self-hating Jews.”

0:01:19 Right-wing man: “Go. You’ve got 22 Arab countries to go to. You want to live with the Arabs? Go live with the Arabs.”

0:01:28 Gila: “We’re considered a Fifth Column. We’re considered in some sense conspiring or collaborating with the enemy. I can tell you from morning ‘til evening, my primary interest is the good and welfare of the state of Israel.”

0:01:43 Nadia: “How dare you be on the side of Hitler number two? How dare you demand from us to create a Palestinian state for a murderer?”

0:01:52 Gila: “This is a very important day for us because we’re going to try to do the impossible, which is mobilise again rebelief in peace among Israelis.”

0:02:03 Title: Women in Black
0:02:08 Title: Jerusalem
0:02:09 VO: “Women in Black have been attempting the impossible since 1988, when they were founded by a group of Israeli women who opposed their government’s occupation of Gaza and the West Bank. The occupation is considered illegal by the United Nations, but successive Israeli goverments have contested this and increased the number of settlements in the territories. At a time when many Israelis feel that only more force against the Palestinians will bring peace, the Women in Black are encouraging a more humanitarian course of action.”

0:02:38 Strapline: WIB Eda Tendler
Retired Businesswoman

0:02:38 Eda: “We started very few of us in the beginning. And now we are something between 60 and 100 women who are standing here every week. We are standing always with the same slogan - enough of the occupation and enough of the settlements.”

0:03:02 VO: “Enthusiasm for the movement spread, and there are now over 150 Women in Black vigils being held every week worldwide. They stand, dressed in black, mourning the loss of innocent lives and calling for a more humane approach to conflict resolution around the world.”

0:03:20 VO: “In London, the Women in Black group holds a weekly, silent vigil on the busy Charing Cross Road. Some of them have been standing here every Wednesday, week after week in all weathers for years. But their commitment goes further. Affectionately dubbed Hell’s Grannies by one British newspaper, many of these women regularly put their lives on the line at the centre of the conflict in Palestine.”

0:03:44 Liz: “Back in August I acted as part of the human shield. The hope was that if there were internationals staying with Palestinians in their homes, the Israelis may not bomb their homes during the night.”

0:03:50 Strapline: WIB Liz Khan
Social Worker

0:03:58 VO: “Liz was about to make her third trip to the region with a Women in Black group from the UK.”

0:04:03 Liz: “I have never seen such an injustice take place. And I know that there is violence on both sides. But it really feels like both sides need help in - to help them to look at alternative ways of dealing with this problem. And I think that as an international I can do something that nobody else can do. And that is I can oppose actively the Israeli power. Without, hopefully, too much consequences. And I know that Palestinians cannot do that because they may get killed. And Israelis can’t do it, because they actually can’t get into the areas. They’ll be thrown in prison. It’s illegal for them to enter the West Bank. So as an international I have a privileged position.”

0:04:45 VO: “One of the main goals of the international Women in Black groups is to relay information about conditions in the occupied territories to the outside world. In October 2001, 22 Palestinians were killed, many homes were damaged and water supplies destroyed when the Israeli army invaded the West Bank town of Bethlehem. The refugee camp of Azza was particularly hard hit.”

0:05:08 Title: Azza Refugee Camp - Bethlehem

0:05:15 Liz: “We’re in the top floor flat in a house in Azza, and from the hillside of Beit Jala, which is just here, tanks fired into this family’s home. This is a newly wedded family. They’ve been married for a year. The husband has worked really hard since he was 16 years old to actually make this home. There’s a baby that’s due any day now. And everything, everything of theirs that they saved, that they had prepared, they had everything prepared for the baby, they have clothes, new clothes still in packages. Everything has just been damaged. There is nothing left. And now this family have got to start all over again.”

0:05:56 VO: “Across the West Bank, similar scenes of destruction were witnessed by the women. Josephine Jaffary visited Salfit, a small town near the city of Nablus which had been extensively bombed and bulldozed by the Israeli army.”

0:06:32 Strapline: WIB Josephine Jaffray
Advocate for Disabled People

0:06:12 Josephine: “I’ve just had a man coming up showing me a photograph of his little boy that was killed, he’s aged 6, 6 months ago. And his hands were just shaking, the emotion in his voice, he just can’t get over it. Everybody in this town must have somebody who’s died that’s close. But this man, his hands are shaking, he’s just so upset. It’s hardly able - six months later it’s hardly possible for us to understand that loss. And we’re standing here in the middle of a bomb site. And you just wonder what it’s like when the bombs drop. All the houses around, the sheer fear and terror that must be around for them. And yet, they just live with it. They seem able to hold it somehow. I mean, we’re in a place of devastation. It’s just devastating to me to see this.”

0:07:06 VO: “The level of destruction in the occupied territories was causing distress among some Israelis as the traditional view of their country as a haven for oppressed people was challenged.”

0:07:18 Strapline: WIB Anna Colombo
Retired Teacher

0:07:18 Anna: “We never imagined in our worst dreams that we would be taken from Italy to Auschwitz. But my entire family died in Auschwitz. I know many people from France and from Italy and we never knew what was happening here in Israel. We thought the Arabs were very far away from here. I continued to be a Zionist because how could you not after having experienced Auschwitz. But ever since I learned what was happening here, I have been suffering terribly. Because what I suffered there I don’t want to cause Arabs to suffer because of me being here.”

0:07:53 VO: “One cause of the suffering is the checkpoints, which isolate Palestinian towns and cities. Ostensibly, these were set up to prevent suicide bombers and gunmen from entering Israeli areas, but their effect has been to increase resentment against Israel by preventing Palestinians from travelling to work, school and hospitals and bringing their economy to a standstill.”

0:08:19 Neta: “It’s a really direct and effective way of applying pressure on the Palestinian people. It’s exactly the kind of pressure. . . which creates very desperate people, which would push people to do suicide bombings. It’s really putting people in a situation where they have no way to feed their children and no way to live, really.

0:08:40 Strapline: Neta Golan
International Solidarity Movement

0:08:40 Neta: “I asked how it affects their life. He said this isn’t life, this is death. Isn’t it a forbidden thing that they, that my children will die from hunger? I take a donkey and put stuff on it and walk through the mountains so that I can bring food to my children. And he says that if one of them dies they attack us with tanks and they make the whole place burn.”

0:09:03 VO: “It isn’t only the large towns and cities that have been blockaded. The rural villages have also been isolated, with crudely built roadblocks.”

0:09:13 Liz: “At the moment a lot of the towns and villages are completely blocked with huge mounds of earth. And what that means is vehicles can’t get in and out, so ambulances can’t get in and out, food lorries can’t get in and out. It’s actually had a huge effect on the economy of the West Bank. People aren’t able to get to work. People aren’t able to get to hospital appointments. Children aren’t able to get to universities or to colleges or to school. They aren’t able to go and visit their families in the next village. And what we’re hoping is that we’ll clear those roadblocks and actually allow vehicles, Palestinian vehicles to pass.”

0:09:54 VO: “To remove the roadblocks, the Women in Black joined forces with the International Solidarity Movement, the ISM, who co-ordinate peace activitists working in Palestine. When they started work on the roadblock at the village of Hares, it wasn’t long before the army intervened.”

0:10:14 Strapline: WIB Irene Bruegel
Professor of Urban Policy

0:10:12 Irene: “We started talking to them - we wanted to know from them what sense they make of it. And we hope, you know, that way to get a little chink into their heads. You never know, they’re young boys. They don’t really know why they’re there. It was a bit like orders is orders, and when you went a bit further and you said, well why, they looked blank. But we hope we made them think. That’s really what we’re trying to do when we’re here.”

0:10:34 VO: “With a combination of sweet talk and obstinance, negotiators for the group managed to keep the soldiers talking while the others continued to dismantle the roadblock.”

0:10:45 Irene: “They seemed quite sympathetic to us, actually. As individuals I think they felt caught between what they know is their duty as army and what they can see. We’re not really doing anybody any harm. In fact we’re doing something for the Palestinians.”

0:10:59 VO: “But doing something for the Palestinians did not seem to be very high on the army’s list of priorities. They called in the police.”

0:11:08 Policeman: “Shalom. Where are you from? England? Who is in charge here?”
Irene: “No one’s in charge.”
Policeman: “No one.”
Irene: “But you can talk to me.”

0:11:20 Strapline: WIB Dr. Erella Shadmi
Ex-Lt. Colonel, Israeli Police

0:11:18 Erella: “Personally, I distrust the police more than many of my friends. Because I know them. I know them from, you know from experience and I also know them from my research, and they come in particular to protect the status quo. And we as women, as feminists and as peace activists, we undermine, we kind of shatter the status quo.”

0:11:43 Policeman: “You cannot tell me what to do. Okay?”
Irene: “I’m not telling you what to do. It’s okay. I understand that you’re the police and you’re armed. I’m not telling you what to do.”
Policeman: “You don’t tell me what to do.”

0:11:57 Irene: “I’ve been told to tell you you can’t do this. But you make the decision as to what you want to do.”
Liz: “Thank you very much. Our decision is to continue.”
Man: “He’s given you a five minute warning.”
Liz: “Thank you very much. Thank you. I appreciate this. We’ve been given a five minute warning, but our suggestion is to continue.”
Peter: “We have been given a five minute warning, then they will arrest us.”

0:12:23 VO: “But the police and soldiers decided against making arrests. They had another plan. When the group linked arms to prevent the soldiers from rebuilding the existing roadblock, they simply built another one.”

0:12:52 VO: “The next day at the village of Deir Istiya, the women tried their strategy of tactical friendliness again. If you’re a young Israeli soldier, this must feel like having your mother turn up to check up on you.”

0:13:09 Josephine: “They’re much more harassed, they weren’t nearly
- they weren’t relaxed at all.
Hanna: “We couldn’t get eye contact with them and they wouldn’t talk even when I spoke Hebrew.”

0:13:33 Strapline: WIB Julie Slowik
Catholic Nun

0:13:20 Julie: “As I said to the soldiers yesterday, I wanted peace, they said they want peace. I said how can you have peace when you’re blockading the people within their villages. They cannot go to work, they cannot get food in and some people are two years without work. Their families are hungry and they’re desperate. They’re absolutely desperate.”

0:13:44 VO: “After the events of the previous day, Liz was concerned that the group might be doing more harm than good. She decided to ask the local mayor.”

0:13:53 Liz: “Yesterday our group cleared the roadblock in Hares. Well, we were clearing the roadblock in Hares. But within seconds the military were there, the police were there. And they came with a bulldozer while we were clearing and actually made another roadblock. So that actually it’s much harder for that village now. They have to have two l orries and walk between the two when they’re unloading things. Is our presence here making it worse for Palestinians?”
Mayor [subtitled]: “This is our struggle, it’s a normal thing.”
Liz: “You’re still happy that the internationals are here doing this?”
Mayor [subtitled]: “We are very happy because the other nations feel that we are under occupation. They feel our suffering. They feel our problems, our prayer.”

0:14:40 Strapline: WIB Gill Kaffash
College Lecturer

0:14:59 Straplie: WIB Sue Rhodes
Retired Physiotherapist

0:14:33 Donna: “It’s not the easiest thing removing roadblocks. How are you finding it physically?”
Gill: “I’m amazed because I’m always very careful to protect my back. And I don’t know whether it’s the cause - no, thank you - but it hasn’t bothered me nearly as much as carrying the shopping. We
opened one yesterday and two today, so we don’t notice how tired we are, really.”
Sue: “No, when the first vehicle goes through it’s just so exciting and there’s such a cheer goes up. We even cheer when we get medium size rocks out. We’ve had a good time and it’s very satisfying

0:15:15 VO: “But the local settlers were less than pleased that the roads to the Palestinian villages were being cleared. They considered the protestors dangerous troublemakers.”

0:15:25 Settler 1 [subtitled]: “Go home! Go home!”

0:15:27 Liz: “We’ve cleared this roadblock behind us to allow cars in and out of the village and we were just on the point of leaving when a settler phoned for that bulldozer to come and build up roadblocks to cut off this village again.”

0:15:41 Settler 2 [subtitled]: “Haters of Israel. You are a fifth column. Your place is not here. You don’t love the land of Israel, you only love yourselves.”

0:15:58 Grant: “This land belongs to God. If you don’t agree with him, you don’t own the land.”
Mayor: “Wait a minute. The God is not only for you, the God is for us. The God is not only for you, the God is for us, for the humanity.
Not for you only.” Grant: “Certainly.
Certainly he is, but he owns this land. He said it’s special and he gave it to the Jewish people and he told the Jewish people to allow you peace within the country.
Yes, he did. Don’t you say no, no. I’m talking from the Bible.”

0:16: 35 VO: “A little further down the road, the water supply for the villages was under a very different kind of attack.”

0:16:40 Strapline: Nasfat Khufash

0:16:40 Nasfat [subtitled]: “The sewage is coming the Emmanuel Settlement. It has polluted the environment, and it has damaged all of the soil in the wadi and in the valley. This spring was the main source of drinking water for the farmer here before the Jewish built the settlement in the area. The sewage which has come from the settlement has now affected the spring and the water in the valley. It’s mixed with the water and now all of the water is polluted and it’s not good to use for irrigation, not for drink.”

0:17:15 VO: “The existence of the settlements is at the very heart of the conflict in Palestine. Despite living on each other’s doorsteps, the settlers and Palestinians are largely isolated from each other. Liz wanted to find out if there was any common ground between them. She decided to speak to Salwa Musallam, whose family she had stayed with as part of the human shield, and Cheryl Mandel, an immigrant from Canada living in the settlement of Gush Etzion.”

0:17:56 Strapline: Cheryl Mandel
Shop Manager in Gush Etzion

0:17:42 Cheryl: “The feeling is that this is the homeland of the Jews. For us personally as a family it felt right that this was the place we belonged. The first thing you feel is incredible fear. A lot of my friends have had a terrible, terrible time. They’ve quit their jobs, they’ve stayed at home. They don’t go into Jerusalem. The fear has crippled them, crippled their lives.”

0:18:12 Strapline: Salwa Musallam
Shopkeeper in Beit Jala

0:18:12 Salwa: “I used to love it here. In afternoons I’d take the girls out. We have right here, this nice mountain right here. We go there and we just pick flowers and berries or something like that. Teach the girls about the grass, about the rocks, stuff like that. Tell them stories. Now, I’m forbidden to go to that area here in the north of Beit Jala, north of my house, because just a few metres away from here they built a bridge from Jerusalem connecting settlements in the south of Jerusalem. So settlers could pass from here, but I could not go there. So we don’t have any more forests. We don’t have any more mountains.”

0:18:57: Cheryl: “Your access is definitely restricted. It definitely feels like a negative factor. You don’t just decide to go to meet your girlfriend for coffee, or go out to the movies, or go hear an interesting lecture. Every trip involves a lot of - is it worth it.”

0:19:13 Salwa: “There is nothing else for us. We’re separated from the rest of the world. We are living like in a compound, in a big, big prison.”

0:19:23 Liz: “Can there be a time when Israelis and Palestinians are going to live together?”
Cheryl: “Everybody wants, everybody’s biggest, biggest wish is for peace. Now what I want to ask you, as somebody who has mingled a lot with Palestinians, would they say that also?”
Liz: “That’s exactly what they’re saying. What they’re saying is they want to live side by side. Many of them said that before this second Intifada they had Jewish friends. They still talk to them on the
phone, but they’re not able to go and visit them. They’re saying all they want is peace. That’s what I’m hearing. And when I say to them, what’s got to happen for there to be peace, they say that the
Occupation has to end.”
Cheryl: “Now we get into the type of questions that, uh, that I’m not comfortable.”
Liz: “But that’s what I’ve been - that’s what they’ve been saying to me.”
Cheryl: “Well, you know what? Wait, I’ve got, I’ve got my answer. I’ve got my answer as a mother living in
Gush Etzion with five kids. They’ve got to stop shooting at us.”

0:20:25 Salwa: “We’re not shelling them with bombs from F16s or helicopters or tanks. You cannot compare a bullet, you know, being shot at buildings to tanks shooting at us bombs.”

0:21:12 Strapline: Adam Shapiro
International Solidarity Movement

0:20:57 Adam: “We are now at the place where the wife of the Shahid, the martyr is now staying and recuperating. She was also shot in the same attack that killed her husband. She’s pregnant and was shot in the back and is recuperating here and we are here to pay our condolences and respects and to visit her. This is about the sixth or seventh family I’ve come to visit after their son or father or husband has been killed. And in every case, not just these seven, but hundreds of cases - people weren’t doing anything, weren’t engaged in any sort of activity whatsoever that would warrant them to be a target in any way. They were - this guy was just on his balcony, just standing out observing the view. He thought the army had pulled out of his area, and was just in his own home and was shot.”

0:20:52 VO: “An Israeli tank was still blocking the entrance to this family’s neighbourhood, cutting off the city of Nablus from the surrounding villages.”

0:222:03 Julie: “We talk about terrorism around the world. These people, the Palestinians, are terrorised. This is my first time facing a tank. Painting the sign on. The approach was good and I felt comfortable with that. When the tank started revving up and blowing us apart, we had to really duck down and I was just a little bit afraid. But the first part of the message, ‘Return To’ got on the tank.”

0:22:37 Liz: “In that tank was just one or two young soldiers. I was really concerned that he would get really jittery with what we were doing to his tank and fire indiscriminately at the Palestinians.”

0:22:50 Julie: “We backed off and we regrouped. We did the second action to move the tank to a place that would open the road. And if it’s open for just a little bit we allow the people to move freely back and forth into their city. And I think that was a marvellous, unexpected result.”

0:23:21 Josephine: “This is Christmas morning. And here I am reading letters from friends and family wishing me a happy Christmas. And for the first time at this moment I’m feeling a little bit homesick. It brings home much closer. I’ve actually got an e-mail here from a friend. It says it makes our spend crazy Christmas seem utter shite here. Anyway, Josephine, take great care of yourself.”

0:23:46 VO: “On Christmas Day the Women in Black and ISM accompanied a group of several hundred local Palestinians to Bethlehem Checkpoint.”

0:23:55 Josephine: “We go on up to the Checkpoint in procession with all the Palestinians in our midst. And we can walk up straight, but we’ve got to be ready to turn and link arms as we get to the Checkpoint if we feel there’s any trouble.”

0:24:12 VO: “By protecting the Palestinians with a crowd of internationals, they hoped to get them through the checkpoint and into Jerusalem for Christmas celebrations.”

0:24:21 Strapline: Basam Banorrah
Pastor in Beit Sahour

0:24:20 Pastor: “As a pastor of a church, we have many young children ages from 18 down and they have never been to Jerusalem. This is home. They have the right to go and visit the city. They have to carry their orders, but at the same time I hope that they will not resort to violence. And they will see us as people. Because I do see them as people. And one of them I told him, I hope one day I’ll be able to invite you to have a meal with me at home. Because this is the way to do it.”

0:24:56 Soldier 1: “Sorry, it is forbidden for me to talk with you for now, for now. Now it is another situation.”
Soldier 2: “Today he is a soldier. Tomorrow he will be a man.”
Soldier 1: “Maybe.”

0:25:09 Pastor: “I offered them some candy. They wouldn’t accept it.”

0:25:13 Neta: “I think it went very well. I’m glad nobody was hurt and I think we made our point. I’m sorry we didn’t get in - through to Jerusalem, though. Next time.”

0:25:23 VO: “The checkpoints had caused great hardship for the Palestinians, but by the time Liz returned in April, an even more oppressive tactic was in force - curfew. Now the Palestinians were not only prevented from travelling between their cities, but even within them.”

0:25:44 VO: “Liz was anxious to find Salwa and her family, who lived in Beit Jala, a small suburb of Bethlehem.”

0:25:51 Liz: “I know that they’re being kept under curfew. They’re not allowed out, the children aren’t in school, her husband’s not allowed to work, Salwa’s not allowed to work. So just sort of checking on the people that I know and how they are.”

0:26:05 VO: “The checkpoints and roadblocks had not stopped suicide bombers from entering Israeli cities. As the pressure on the Palestinians increased, so did the attacks on Israel. Soon the Israelis had re-invaded Ramallah, keeping Yasser Arafat was under siege in his headquarters, and Bethlehem, where Palestinian gunmen and civilians alike had sought refuge in the Church of the Nativity.”

0:26:32 Liz: “Well, we’ve spent just over an hour, maybe an hour and a quarter sitting at a checkpoint at Beit Jala trying to get in. They’re just not letting anyone in. They’ve not even allowed the ambulances in to pick up some dead bodies. So we’re going to try to get in another way now? Or, what? What’s the plan?” Issa: “Yes. I going to change from here another.” Liz: “Another plan. Okay.”

0:27:02 Liz: “I think we just had the absolute prime example of why those checkpoints are intimidation. We’ve been sitting there for nearly an hour and a half. We’ve come down the road, now we’re going to come in, get another taxi, we’ve come over a tiny bank. So you just kind of realise it’s not there for security. Because anybody who wanted to come in with bombs or guns would come in this way. They wouldn’t go through there. So you know that that can only be for harassment. It’s certainly not for security.”

0:27:40 Strapline: WIB Batya Makover
Checkpoint Watch

0:27:39 Batya: “I hate what we are doing now, I hate it. I don’t agree with Sharon and his government, but I’m not against our army. It’s my army. But I am very worried about what this means to these soldiers, these young soldiers when they destroy houses and kill people. It’s terrible. To help the Arab people is not to be against the army. We try to make relationship with the soldiers, to make them a little more human being. To explain them that we recognise their very important work, but you can do it your job at the same time to be human being to these Arabs. I think it’s very, very hard to keep your humanity in this situation, when you’re in the army.”

0:29:02 Liz: “Salwa - it’s Liz!”
Amira: “Liz, Liz. Oh, no, the camera!”

0:29:18 Salwa: “Oh my, not like this.”
Liz: “Yes, just like this.”
Adnan: “Hello, hello, how are you.”
Liz: “It’s so good that you’re well and safe.”
Salwa: “And you are too. God, I’ve been worried.”

0:29:33 Liz: “I didn’t know how easy it was for you to get food. And we brought vegetables as well.”
Salwa: “Oh, God. I told my husband, I wish I had told Liz, but when she told me she was in the - at the borders here I wish I had told her that we needed vegetables. I ran out.”
Liz: “I brought onions, tomatoes and cucumbers. And we have falafel. And we have bread.”

0:30:01 Liz: “Tell me how you are. Are you still studying?
Amira: “Yes, but because of the situation, the school . . .”
Liz: “But your Dad can teach you at home.”
Amira: “What?”
Liz: “Your father can teach you at home.”
Amira: “No, my father is busy with the paper for the University.
Liz: “The University papers.”
Amira: “Yes.”

0:30:22 Strapline: Adnan Musallam
Professor, Bethlehem University

0:30:21 Adnan: “It was late in the evening, something about 9 o’clock in the evening, and we had a bunch of F16s that were just going around in the skies here in this place, you know. Just taking turns to completely wipe out that whole, these complexes. What the Israeli have done for the last weeks and months is that they, for practical purposes, they have the police headquarters, the investigative apparatuses of the Authority. Those people who are supposed to protect the Palestinian Authority, who are supposed to protect the peace process. Now, this infrastructure is gone. And now they are asking Arafat how come you aren’t doing anything.”

0:31:12 Liz: “That’s the other thing they’re talking about are Israeli snipers that are shooting people.”
Salwa: “Oh yeah, oh yeah. One is up there on that hill. We cannot see it from here. You can see the building. It is up there.”

0:31:27 VO: “Beit Jala has been the site of many battles between Israelis and Palestinians because of its proximity to Gilo, an Israeli community which its inhabitants consider to be part of East Jerusalem, and which the Palestinians consider to be an illegal settlement.”

0:31:40 Strapline: Amira Musallam
0:31:42 Amira: “One day on 15th November 2000, shooting began here in our neighbourhood. The bullet came here, to here from here and then here - it was open - and then enters here. And all of the clothes were damaged, I don’t know. And then that time our neighbour called us and came and we went to their house because it was very, very dangerous here. I began cry because that night were so, so scary.”

0:32:23 Salwa: “My daughter came here at six o’clock in the morning. This is when she found my neighbour’s body splattered all over the wall and some parts of him on the floor here and in the grass right behind this olive tree.

0:32:36 Salwa: “People couldn’t get to us, you know. We were calling. We were calling on the phone - ‘please, my neighbour is wounded’. I was calling. I called them. They said, ‘we are here, we are behind you, we are so close, we are right here. But we cannot get to your house. It’s very - you know they are shooting at us.”

0:32:55 Strapline: Norma Fischer

0:32:55 Norma: “At around 11.30 some people knocked at our door and we found out that they were from the Civil Defence. They were looking if everything was okay.”
Liz: “These were Palestinian men who knocked on the door?”
Norma: “Yes, Palestinian men. And then he opened the door, when we opened the door we found that this house was on fire, and he heard that some people were wounded here, so he came with them. We begged him not to leave, but he left.”
Liz: “He was a doctor, a medical doctor?”
Norma: “Yes. And so he came here to see if some people who were hurt there, or if he could help the people who were wounded here. And then I don’t know what happened. We never saw him again. I
mean, he never came back. We stayed there, we thought he’s still outside with the men. And after maybe 2, 3 hours, we were just waiting for him to come back, he didn’t come back. My son could go
upstairs to bring the telephone down. We thought maybe he could reach the neighbours - he would phone us now, we said. But then we started receiving other telephone calls from our friends.
They saw it on TV that . . .”
Liz: “That he’d been killed?”
Norma: “Yes.”

0:34:28 VO: “Liz left Salwa’s neighbourhood and headed into central Bethlehem to meet Georgina Reeves at the Alternative Information Centre. As their office was closer to the seige at the Church of the Nativity, the level of tension here was greatly increased.”

0:34:34 Georgina: “They do a lot of, you know, testosterone at the camera if you go near the tanks. If they think that you’re press or you’re filming or taking photos. They do stuff with the turret - they point it straight at you, and it’s very tedious. Boys and their toys.”

0:35:02 VO: “The AIC was keeping people around the world up to date on the siege of Bethlehem via e-mail and their website.”

0:35:10 Strapline: Georgina Reeves
Human Rights Activist

0:35:09 Georgina: “We were just on the phone to someone who lives behind the Nativity Church. She’s an American married to a Palestinian and she’s telling us that there are reports that are apparently confirmed by the Israeli army, that they have mined the souk, as in the old city.”

0:35:25 VO: “Unfortunately, the old city was where Liz and Georgina had hoped to deliver food to families who’d had nothing for 10 days.”

0:35:33 Donna: “What do you want to do, Liz?”
Liz: “Well I don’t want to get blown up. I don’t want to get shot. I don’t know.”

0:35:45 Donna: “So, how far in will we be going?”
Georgina: “I don’t know. Probably not very far. I am rather nervous. Elaine was saying that there’s been 2 big explosions this morning. One probably in Milk Grotto Street. They think that they’ve been trying to get something big up there and it was possibly a car. But there’s been another explosion in the market area. So we’ll have to tread carefully.”

0:36:12 Strapline: Sarah Irving
International Solidarity Movement

0:36:10 Sarah: “A couple of us went out to go and get some laundry done down and stuff down at Heather’s and on the way back we ended up getting stuck at The Star Hotel for about half an hour. Because there were troops out here and they were firing up the street towards the hotel at the press.
Georgina: “For no reason.”
Sarah: “No, we’ve established what the reason was.
Khaled saw them. They were looting the shops.
Georgina: “Who were?”
Sarah: “The Israelis.”
Georgina: “What?”
Sarah: “They were looting some of the shops so they were just shooting at the journalists to keep them out of the way.”
Donna: “Was this up here?”
Sarah: “They, uh, yeah they were doing that for about half an hour, an hour. I think they’d initially shot at a van that was trying to get one of the journalists to hospital because she wasn’t well.”
Georgina: “Look.”
Sarah: “Oh, yes, the phonebox. The ex-phonebox.”

0:37:03 Georgina: “No, it’s clear. But there’s some shooting very close. Oh, right, well there’s some shooting over behind. Can you hear? Where are you, are you in the hotel?”

0:37:15 Sarah: “That’s the University where that’s coming from.”

0:37:22 Georgina: “At the moment, the UN food that we had been told was being delivered to this area, at the moment we’ve been advised that the situation is a bit too dangerous to even try. There are things happening around Manger Square. I’ve just seen one of their camera balloons go up and, sadly, get shot down. There’s a lot of tension in the area. And you can hear there’s general shooting around, so sadly, it’s just not a good idea trying to get people walking up there at the moment.”

0:37:52 VO: “But later that day Liz and some of the others decided to see how far into the old city they could get.”

0:38:02 Liz: “It’s a real pity this camera can’t smell because what we’ve got here now is a real smell of sewage.”

0:38:22 Liz: “Are you a priest from this area?”
AW: “No, I’m the Archbishop of Canterbuy’s envoy to the Middle East.”
Liz: “Oh, well I’m Liz Khan from London.”
AW: “Oh, hi, nice to meet you.”
Liz: “I’ve got Palestinian friends who, whose family are in the area around Manger Square and they haven’t got any food.”
AW: “I was trying to get down there as well. But there’s a convoy coming in tomorrow. We’re leaving from Augusta Victoria at 6.30 in the morning.”
Liz: “Okay. And will those families definitely get food then?” AW: “We can’t say - this is the awful thing. We’re being told we’ve got to keep to a very set route and there are drop off points on the way.”
Liz: “And what about Nativity Church? Will they allow you to drop food off?”
AW: “This is what we’ve been mainly negotiating on for the past 10 days. The answer at the moment is no. And I’ve been trying to get this body out as well. Can’t get the body out. Bit of a mess.”

0:39:23 Young man: “They come, the soldiers?”
Man’s voice: “Yes, soldiers are coming. Slowly, but they’re coming.”

0:39:34 Soldier: “Go backwards.”
Liz: “Can we not go any further?”
Soldier: “No. Clear the Square. Go backwards, please.”
Liz: “Sorry?”
Soldier: “Go backwards, please.”

0:39:45 Georgina: “We’ve been trying to take food in, but each time we try we get prevented fairly quickly. Soldiers come up, and obviously they don’t want anybody down near Manger Square. It’s just such a shame, because people really need the help, and these are civilians. Families trapped in their homes, children, old people. People who need medical attention, medicine, that sort of thing. Hello.”

0:40:16 Georgina: “Shall we come?”

0:40:23 Georgina: “So they’ve had their door shot at.”

0:40:35 Georgina: “Oh, gosh, they came up here.”

0:40:42 Georgina: “The house was entered at about 4am. The damage is because the soldiers came in and were just ripping everything and pulling everything. The father was actually arrested and detained, but he’s okay. But they do need medicine, and he’s going to hopefully show me what medicine they need so that we can try to get the supplies, hopefully maybe from the hopspital, and try to bring it back down tomorrow.”

0:41:07 Woman [subtitled]: “I’ve tidied up a little bit. Everything was thrown on the floor - sugar, flour. And I’m still clearing up, bit by bit.”

0:41:21 Girl [subtitled]: “They pulled my hair. They hit me because they wanted to step on the Quoran, and I wanted to stop them. For that, they hit me here and here.”

0:41:44 Georgina: “Sadly, it’s typical of what’s happening here. I don’t understand how anyone can treat people like this anyway, but particularly children. And it’s just worrying to know that these children are going to grow up with these memories in their heads constantly. I don’t know how people would be able to forget something as awful as this. It doesn’t make one feel very good about humanity, because there doesn’t seem to be any humanity here at the moment.”

0:42:14 Eda: “I’m only sad that so many people don’t understand what the occupation means for our country. Not for the Palestinians. The Palestinians are very, it’s very bad, but for us it’s a tragedy. You can’t be only aggressive in the occupied territories. When you are coming back home you are exactly the same person. So the character of the people is changing. And I think that it’s very, very - for me it’s very sad to see this.”

0:42:57 VO: “In Beit Jala curfew had finally been lifted for a few hours. Salwa and her daughters went to the market to stock up on food.”

0:43:10 Amira: “One percent of the people here only have money. One percent. The other 99 percent don’t have one shekel to buy two bread. So, not all the people have money.”
Liz: “Why haven’t the people got money?”
Amira: “Because of the situation. Nobobdy is working. The roads are closed and because of this.”

0:43:53 Amira: “He says that - go and picture the places in Jenin. Go and see the injured people and the innocent people that they killed, and the houses destroyed and everything.”

0:44:08 Salwa: “We don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. If you see something at the end of the tunnel and you see that it’s going to end sometime, somewhere and you’re going to get your freedom, you’re going to have the Occupation out, you’re going to have a state of Palestine. Well, then you feel secure and you start building again your life. You see a future for your children. But seeing it as it is right now. We live without hope, we live without hope.”

0:44:44 VO: “The Israeli Women in Black had been working together with other peace organisations to organise a convoy of supplies to be taken to Jenin.”

0:44:58 Strapline: WIB Gila Svirsky
Peace and Human Rights Activist

0:44:54 Gila: “This morning we are going out to Jenin, which is a city and refugee camp that has been utterly devastated by the Israeli army in recent days. We’re going to bring them food, water, medicines. We’re going to unload everything, put them all on trucks. Then we ourselves are going to march together, Jews and Arabs, side by side. Making sure that the police never separate us. Until we get to the checkpoint entrance to Jenin, and then hopefully peacefully offload everything to the Palestinians who are waiting for us on the other side.”

0:45:25 Erella: “For me they keep the true, the genuine Jewish alive. The Jewish spirit that is moral, that is ethical, that is protecting the minorities. This is the genuine Jewish spirit.”

0:45:59 Lawyer: “The supplies are going for another crossroad, and they are heading there with no obstruction.”

0:46:05 Woman: “Of course they said they have entered the trucks.
Of course they will tell it.”
Man: “In the best case, they put it on the other side of the checkpoint.”
Woman. “That’s what they did in Ramallah.”
Man: “But we want it to go to the refugee camp in Jenin.”

0:46:20 Lawyer: “We are trying to verify now from the police and the army whether the trucks have gone in. That’s about 28 trucks which have to go in. They have confirmed two trucks going in, and now there is, let’s say, a processing of the informationto find out whether they have gone in or not.”

0:46:41 Woman: “I want to see with my own eyes that those people can eat today.”
Man: “We want the Israeli army to let the Red Cross and the journalists to go inside and see the destruction that they did.”
Woman: “And you have to demand it, that you and your camera can make a picture.”
Man: “Do not come here and photo some people who are demonstrating. This is nothing here. What happened in the refugee camp of Jenin. That’s what you have to make picture of it to send it to the
whole world.”

0:47:16 Liz: “I felt a bit frustrated, but that’s mostly because I didn’t see it through to the end. And I can’t see anything concrete. I would have like to see it get to families.”

0:47:33 VO: “Liz had to return to London, but I decided to try to get into Jenin with a small group from the ISM. The villages around Jenin were under a strictly enforced curfew and the Israeli army was particularly keen to keep Westerners out of the area.”

0:47:54 VO: “We stayed with a local family who, at great risk to themselves, helped us to plan the rest of our journey. Two mornings in a row we were woken at 5.30 by the Israeli army patrolling the streets and announcing that curfew was in force.”

0:48:10 Strapline: Heather Guyton
International Solidarity Movement

0:48:08 Heather: “We have to play it kind of careful to get in. And today we’re still under curfew, but we’re going to try it anyway. Some groups managed to move around a little bit in the villages yesterday. And we’re a small group. We’ll see what happens.”

0:48:27 VO: “We made it safely into the refugee camp, but the scale of the devastation made the supplies we were able to carry feel pitifully small.”

0:48:40 Heather: “It looks like most of what we have today is diapers and some milk powder, and of course water.”

0:48:55 Woman: “The Israeli soldiers destroyed everything. They bombed the houses by the plane and destroyed everything. No water to drink. No electricity. They killed the people. I see six men killed in this area. The Israeli soldiers shot them. And they take many hundreds of men to the prisons. They not allowed us to go out of the houses. We stay here in the houses.” (
Donna: “I see you have children. How are you managing to look after your children in this situation?”
Woman: “It is very difficult. No milk, no water. They destroyed the water. We want water for them and milk. Nothing, nothing, they destroyed everything.”

0:49:55 VO: “I had been told that the Director of Medical Relief Committees for Jenin would be my best bet to find out what had happened to the supply trucks from the demonstration.”

0:50:08 Sofia: “He says he hasn’t seen any of them. The only trucks he has seen are the trucks that were allowed to come today finally to the beginning of the camp and people just went to them.”

0:50:17 Director: “Many truck. I don’t saw.”

0:50:23 VO: “It was later confirmed that the trucks were being held by the army in the village of Jalameh. Most of the supplies they were carrying never reached the people of Jenin.”

0:50:34 VO: “To find out more about conditions in the camp, I hitched a lift with an ambulance crew.”

0:50:39 Medic: “This ambulance shot many times. And he says our Director is killed in this Intifada by bomb.”

0:50:48 VO: “We approached the hospital just as three injured children were brought in.”

0:50:53 Young man [subtitled]: “The soldiers leave the bomb in his house. So he want to go to his house, and he - like rabbit - so he bomb. Three children. Allal, Mahmoud and Ahmed. They leave many, many bombs in these houses. So we talk to people not to go back to your houses. They tell us, where we want to sleep? In street sleep? In hospital sleep?”

0:51:26 VO: “The attack on the refugee camp had left 4,000 people, over a quarter of the population, homeless. And with unexploded ordnance still littering the area, no place felt safe.”

0:51:39 VO: “It was time for me to leave Jenin. The Israeli soldiers who spotted me at the edge of the camp made this very clear.”

0:51:50 Gila: “Our job is to re-ignite the belief in peace among Israelis. To tell them there is hope, that there are partners, and if we only just will it and demand an end to the Occupation, the violence will end and the peace will come.”

0:52:06 Eda: “So we will stand here for some years more, and I hope that we will stand until there will be peace. Because peace has to come.”

0:52:21 Branca “Before this is sorted out, I think we must have peace in our hearts first.”