Ismail Khalidi likens ’5 Broken Cameras’ to ‘Battle of Algiers’

Playwright Ismail Khalidi at Daily Beast’s Open Zion blog likens 5 Broken Cameras to the Battle of Algiers (as Abdeen Jabara did here last week) and says that the film is about occupation:

How many films and reports and dispatches from Palestine must we take in before we are allowed to talk about Israeli occupation (45 years old this week) as a crime which we, as Americans, should be ashamed to support with well over $3 billion a year in taxpayer funds? How long until we can talk about a nonviolent Palestinian resistance movement (now 10 years old in its current manifestation) as a struggle formed in the mold of the life work of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi? Hopefully 5 Broken Cameras, like its best-known predecessor Budrus, helps hasten the arrival of this long overdue moment of reckoning for Americans.

While this extraordinary and artfully composed film tells both a deeply personal and truly universal tale, ultimately it is a story about the ongoing project of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their land. Begun in 1947-49 with three quarters of a million Palestinians forced to flee their homes to make way for Israel, and entrenched in 1967 with the onset of Israeli military occupation in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip, this is an ethnic cleansing that continues to this day. But it is a process that takes place at relatively slow clip and by various means (both “legal” under Israeli law and illegal under international law), such as through the building of walls and settlements, via Kafkaesque military decrees, house demolitions, incursions, imprisonment and intimidation.

To resist such a project is a treacherous endeavor more akin to a marathon than a sprint. And as we watch Emad raise his sons amidst torched olive trees and fallen friends, the miracle, it seems, is that he has the will first to get out of bed every day, and then to raise his camera to document the unjust world he lives in.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of
Posted in Israel/Palestine, Media, US Politics

{ 6 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. HarryLaw says:

    These are grave war crimes [Geneva 49.6] unfortunately the Israelis are getting away with calling them neighborhoods and such like, and claiming it is their right to expand them. The US and EU do not have the political will to oppose them at the UNSC, finding it more convenient to encourage them instead. Until the PA get their act together and apply for Observer state status at the General Assembly thereby qualifying beyond doubt to be a state for ICC purposes, it is left to civil society and BDS to apply the required pressure.

  2. The long marathon to TOTALLY, ethnically, cleanse Palestine of Palestinians will very soon become an all-out sprint…Zionists hope it will be as close to an overnight sprint as possible. A long sprint of a week or more could doom it to failure.

    Netanyahu knows this sudden expulsion of ALL Palestinians from Palestine to ?Jordan? Siani? Lebanon? Syria? all of them? can only happen under Israel’s protective umbrella of US world hegemony.

    Now…who knows how long the US’s power will be able to smooth along this barbaric ethnic cleansing by Israel? A year? Two? It appears the US is at its apogee of power and may be starting its inevitable downhill slide.

    So time is of the essence… Netanyahu knows this better than anyone. Look for him to go for his “final solution” very very soon.

    Suffer the Palestinians…. Shield your vision, your mind, your heart… it will be an epic tragedy…. brought to you by American apathy.

  3. MHughes976 says:

    I don’t think it can be done even with all the resources at Israel’s mighty disposal. The demographic battle will continue, I think, to go the Palestinians’ way. After a long time people will see river-to-sea minority rule for what it is. What a shame that so many good people, very much including Jewish people, will have to undergo such a long trial.

  4. Blake says:

    Basic discrepancies are Algeria was not occupied by a foreign ideological cult nor was it partitioned up for one.