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Video: ‘Gaza in Context’ says root of conflict is quest for Palestinian land, without Palestinians

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This is inspired. Two years after the onslaught on Gaza that killed over 2200 people, a group of activists, academics and artists has produced a new teaching video that aims at shifting the western narrative of the conflict.

Its new 20-minute video is called “Gaza in Context.” Narrated by Noura Erakat, the film points out the roots of the conflict: for 70 years Israel has sought as much Palestinian land with as few Palestinians on it as possible, and the peace process has only served as a cover for this project. Erakat uses simple descriptions to convey the reality, that Israel now seeks to accustom Palestinians to “domination as a way of life– an unfathomable possibility to all humans, whose first instinct is to be free.”

The film avoids the term Zionism entirely, and identifies the root of the conflict as settler colonialism. “This is a human-made disaster,” Erakat explains, and its resolution is a political one that depends on all of us to take action.

The film was written by Erakat and Nour Joudah (the Palestinian-American teacher who was repeatedly denied entry to Israel) and directed by Erakat and Dia’ Azzeh.

Here’s Erakat on the misinterpretation of the 2014 Israeli offensive.

During the devastating offensive, news media repeatedly framed the issue as Israel’s fight against a marauding Muslim mob driven by religious hatred. Gaza seemed to float outside of history. But understanding these systematic offensives means understanding where Gaza fits in the larger question of Palestine.

Israel claims that it’s responding to Hamas rocket fire. But no one’s stopped to ask: If Hamas didn’t launch its first rocket till 2001, nor its first suicide attack until 1994, then what explains an ongoing conflict for nearly seven decades?

The larger issue is Israel’s “abject disregard” for Palestinians. “What explains settler takeovers? Home demolitions? Forced displacement? Disproportionate use of force?” She answers:

The campaign is not aimed at Gaza or Hamas, it’s aimed at Palestine. The aim is to gain the maximum amount of Palestinian land with the minimum number of Palestinian people.

There’s some shocking video I’ve never seen before, at 5:52: settlers taking over a Palestinian house, I believe in East Jerusalem.

Here’s more about the outfit behind the video:

Gaza in Context is an Arab Studies Institute pedagogical project about the Gaza Strip…. The film is available in full 20 minutes as well as in 4, 5-minute parts. Its other components include a teaching guide for instructional purposes, a bibliography for research purposes, and a compendium of Jadaliyya articles featured in what we call a JadMag. All of these elements will be housed on the project’s own website, which is part of a broader research initiative on Gaza led by the Forum on Arab and Muslim Affairs. This interdisciplinary pedagogical project aims to resituate the question of Gaza within a larger Israeli settler-colonial framework, and it uses Israel’s most recent military onslaught, Operation Protective Edge, to do so.

The release of this project coincides with the two-year anniversary of the brutal operation and aims to use the war as a teaching moment to counter Israel’s ahistorical claims that saturated the media. Gaza In Context seeks to provide an assertive framework for understanding Israel’s systemic attacks as part of the larger question of Palestine.

You can read expert assessments of the film here, from Richard Falk and Robin D.G. Kelley. Nadia Hijab wisely links the project to the larger burgeoning movement:

It is an excellent entry point for the many thousands who are beginning to support Palestinian rights and an important refresher for others that have been involved in the movement for longer.

Diana Buttu captures its powerful manner:

In 20 minutes, this film debunks many of the Israeli-perpetuated myths — myths that have been conveniently adopted by others — by focusing on facts.

Here is the distinguished scholar Sara Roy‘s comment on the film: 

I did not think it was possible to examine in 20 minutes what Gaza in Context does with such compelling clarity: Israeli policies toward Gaza and Palestine, which are inseparable; the core problems affecting Gaza and the deliberateness of the policies that have led to Gaza’s disablement; Gaza’s centrality in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; and some common myths surrounding Gaza and the history of the conflict overall, which are straightforwardly debunked.

An immensely valuable teaching tool, the film’s power also lies in its fundamental humanity, a heartfelt entreaty to end the oppression and violence so that all people in this tortured part of the world may aspire to a future in which their children can flourish.

Here is novelist Raja Shehadeh’s comment:

[It] helps explain the consistency in the Israeli policy over the years and throughout Palestine while focusing on its implications and manifestations for Gaza. The film ends with a cri de Coeur to all of us to do what we can to bring an end to what the film convincingly argues is not a natural but a human-  made disaster and save Gaza from continuing to be a zone of death.

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42 Responses

  1. Talkback
    July 19, 2016, 1:35 pm

    Excellent video!

  2. eljay
    July 19, 2016, 1:44 pm

    … the film points out the roots of the conflict: for 70 years Israel has sought as much Palestinian land with as few Palestinians on it as possible …

    The film … identifies the root of the conflict as settler colonialism. …

    Yup, the Israel project is all about Jewish supremacism in/and a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of Palestine. It has nothing to do with self-determination*, equality, morality, justice or human rights.
    (*The real kind, not the Zio-supremacist kind.)

    • JWalters
      July 19, 2016, 9:27 pm

      Supremacists never have any qualms about slaughtering innocents, any more than “mowing the grass”. At their core, Jewish supremacists and Aryan supremacists have the same hellish pathology.

      • Citizen
        July 20, 2016, 9:15 pm

        Zionism is a knock-off of Aryan movement. It is a zero-sum ideology.

  3. Kay24
    July 19, 2016, 4:15 pm

    A well written and produced video. It was very interesting to see the facts of this terrible situation, always hidden by the US media, being discussed and well explained. You see this appalling behavior by the zionists and wish American leaders, Congress, and the media, could be shown this video, and asked why they keep supporting these violent occupiers, the land grabs, and the inhumane treatment of those who live in suffering and desperation. No one seems able or willing to help them live in freedom, without the fear of Israeli bombs and bullets constantly coming their way. It is always sad to see reality of a situation that the rest of America seems oblivious to.

    • JWalters
      July 19, 2016, 9:30 pm

      “asked why they keep supporting these violent occupiers”

      Bribes and threats.

      • Kay24
        July 23, 2016, 11:46 am

        Absolutely, and some freebie trips to Israel, to say thank you (and who knows what else!).
        One Congress person even swam nude in the Dead sea (must have been drunk with Koolaid)

  4. affinity292
    July 19, 2016, 10:27 pm

    More propaganda pr. Yes. Let’s “shift the narrative.”
    If they are fighting agains an alleged “occupation,” why were they slaughtering Jews BEFORE 1967?
    Why was the PLO founded and began their first terrorist attacks in 1963 or 4?
    Why were they slaughtering Jews BEFORE 1948?

    • echinococcus
      July 19, 2016, 11:54 pm

      No, no don’t shift your narrative. Stay right there.
      So you never heard about Zionism.
      It’s a political fake-nationalism that organized some boobies believing they were a “people” as “Jews” (not Ashkenazis, note) and in 1897 they officially declared to he whole world their firm intention of usurping the sovereignty over Palestine, to which they had no title whatsoever.
      1897, I’ll trouble you to observe, when the 5% Palestinian Jews in Palestine were still living in harmony with their neighbors of divers religions.
      If you haven’t heard about that start of the invasion, read about it. With the 1917 Balfour abomination it became officially an announcement to the Palestinians that the British Empire would now officially assist the invasion and takeover of Palestine by foreigner from totally unrelated places.
      Now, Palestinians are smart and educated. They always had a lot of people familiar with Western languages. Did you think they weren’t following what was going on?
      Moreover, it had nothing to do with “Jews”. Palestinian Jews were not a problem. Zionist invaders, on the other hand, are the enemy since the start of the invasion. Did you expect the Palestinians, owners of their land and sovereignty, to sit on their hands and do nothing while their land was being stolen and taken over?

      If you did, that only shows what Zionists understand under “education”.

      • RoHa
        July 20, 2016, 8:53 pm

        “Did you expect the Palestinians … to sit on their hands and do nothing”

        Heavens, no!

        They were expected to say, “We’re on your land? Sorry about that. We’ll just fold up our tents and slip silently away into another country.
        Actually, we don’t live in tents. We live in very nice stone houses, but you can have those, along with the farms.

        We’ll just leave you to get on with it, but do give us a call if you want some water carried or wood hewn.


        Don’t forget to claim credit for the big oranges.”

        Was that so unreasonable to expect?

    • talknic
      July 20, 2016, 4:54 am

      @ affinity292 July 19, 2016, 10:27 pm

      “If they are fighting agains an alleged “occupation,” why were they slaughtering Jews BEFORE 1967?
      Why was the PLO founded and began their first terrorist attacks in 1963 or 4?
      Why were they slaughtering Jews BEFORE 1948?

      “alleged “occupation” “? “Israel, the Occupying Power”

      Something to do with being COLONIZED maybe?

      Say, didn’t our Jewish forefathers invade and colonize back in King Davids day? Wasn’t the King David Hotel bombing a terrorist attack?

    • RoHa
      July 20, 2016, 5:57 am

      Lessee now.

      You are living quietly in your own country. You are making olive oil soap, or growing oranges, or farming for a living. Then a flood of foreigners from far away starts pouring into the country. They show no interest in becoming part of the community. On the contrary, they self up a closed society for themselves, using a language they have made up for themselves. They declare that they are the true owners of the land, and that they intend to set up a state in which they will be the top dogs, and you, if you are allowed to remain, will be a subject. And to prove this, they start buying up land and driving off the tenant farmers.

      Wouldn’t you get just a teeny bit narked?

      And this was before 1948, before 1929.

    • eljay
      July 20, 2016, 7:41 am

      || affinity292: … If they are fighting agains an alleged “occupation,” … ||

      An actual occupation and colonization – complete with (war) crimes committed with impunity – that has been on-going for almost 70 years.

      || … why were they slaughtering Jews BEFORE 1967? … ||

      They were fighting Israelis, who were occupying territory outside of Israel’s / Partition borders. (Why do you Zio-supremacists insist on anti-Semitically conflating Israel with all Jews and all Jews with Israel?)

      || … Why were they slaughtering Jews BEFORE 1948? 1929? 1800s? ||

      I don’t know why they were fighting Jews before those dates, but whatever the reason the solution to any acts of injustice and immorality committed against Jews…
      – was justice, accountability and equality;
      – was not acts of injustice and immorality committed by Jews; and
      – was not the establishment of an oppressive, colonialist and religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of Palestine.

      • echinococcus
        July 21, 2016, 12:29 am


        Is there a way to explain to you and Talknic that the Zionist invasion of Palestine is by itself criminal?

      • eljay
        July 21, 2016, 8:47 am

        || echinococcus: Eljay, Is there a way to explain to you and Talknic that the Zionist invasion of Palestine is by itself criminal? ||

        I understand the “criminality” of the establishment of Israel. But it is my most humble and worthless opinion that I-P problem should be resolved not by dismantling Israel and chasing away its non-indigenous inhabitants but by applying justice, accountability and equality to it:
        – Both states must be the secular and democratic states of and for all of their respective citizens, immigrants, expats and refugees (“CIERs”), equally.
        – Both states must be held accountable for their respective (war) crimes and must hold accountable their respective (war) criminals.
        – Both states must honour their obligations under international law (incl. RoR of refugees).
        – Both states must strive to co-exist peacefully.
        – The CIERs of each state have the right to self-determine the futures of their respective states. They and only they have the right to keep their states independent or to merge them into a single secular and democratic state of and for all of its (combined) CIERs.

      • eljay
        July 21, 2016, 8:58 am

        The above applies also to the Free City of Jerusalem.

      • echinococcus
        July 21, 2016, 11:32 am


        You have a right to your own opinion on the solution, and gradualist nonsense like that is not a problem, it’s all over the place.

        What I am calling you guys on is not your “solution”. It’s the fact that you only seem to acknowledge the total illegitimacy of any Zionist presence in Palestine when specifically challenged, but apart from that perfunctory lip service, every statement you make on the subject, not about a proposed solution but about the status, is that “Israel” is a legitimate entity and that you recognize some ’48 self-declared borders by the invader.

        That is not a solution proposal. That is affirming the full legitimacy of what you elsewhere say is a criminal invasion.

        As for your solution proposal, how do you manage to call “justice” your own non-restorative solution which explicitly does not consult the owners of the sovereignty?

      • eljay
        July 21, 2016, 1:46 pm

        || echinococcus: Eljay, You have a right to your own opinion on the solution … ||

        Thank you. :-)

        || … As for your solution proposal, how do you manage to call “justice” your own non-restorative solution … ||

        I don’t call it justice – I advocate justice as one part of the solution to right an existing wrong.

        Anyway, what I think is irrelevant since I have no power to influence or compel anyone. But thanks for asking. :-)

      • echinococcus
        July 21, 2016, 5:43 pm

        Thanks a lot for deflecting again without addressing any of the questions.
        Or without reading.
        This rubber wall number should bring a lot of applause.

      • eljay
        July 21, 2016, 8:19 pm

        || echinococcus: Eljay,
        Thanks a lot for deflecting again without addressing any of the questions.
        Or without reading. … ||

        I read, I did not deflect and I addressed your questions. You don’t like the answers. I can’t help that.

        || … This rubber wall number should bring a lot of applause. ||

        If you say so.

      • RoHa
        July 21, 2016, 10:42 pm

        eljay: “I have no power to influence or compel anyone.”

        Isn’t it about time for you to remedy that?

      • eljay
        July 22, 2016, 8:40 am

        || RoHa: eljay: “I have no power to influence or compel anyone.”

        Isn’t it about time for you to remedy that? ||

        Nah, I’m happy to let you be the Influencer Guy. :-)

      • echinococcus
        July 23, 2016, 5:30 pm


        I looked a longish time for a way to say it more politely. Don’t BS me, I’m past primary school age.

      • eljay
        July 24, 2016, 12:19 am

        || echinococcus: Eljay,

        I looked a longish time for a way to say it more politely. Don’t BS me, I’m past primary school age. ||

        I haven’t been trying to BS you. You wanted some information, I provided it. I offered my opinion, you disagreed with it.

        I don’t know why you’ve suddenly decided to get in my face about an opinion I’ve expressed countless times over the past few years but – as politely as I can put it – that’s your problem, not mine.

      • echinococcus
        July 24, 2016, 11:34 am


        Continue ducking the question.

      • Annie Robbins
        July 24, 2016, 1:15 pm

        echi, quit picking scabs. no ones deflecting or bs’ing you. the framing of your original question implies they think the invasion – nakba – wasn’t criminal to which eljay responded he understood the criminality but his focus was resolution and justice. and you’re dissatisfaction with the response doesn’t mean he deflected, it just means you want some admission or wording from him you didn’t get.

        and prefacing your opinion with “the fact” doesn’t give it more appeal or strength. your claim they only acknowledge illegitimacy of Zionist presence in Palestine when challenged is just stupid. it’s like you want them to use your words or else they are merely paying “lipservice”.

        you get this bee in your bonnet every once in awhile and go on a little insulting rampage — always on the same topic. it’s like the purity patrol or something. why not give it a rest (again).

      • eljay
        July 24, 2016, 2:40 pm

        || echinococcus: Eljay,

        Continue ducking the question. ||

        I thought you said you weren’t in primary school anymore. There’s no question to duck, so I’m not ducking any question.

        || Annie Robbins: … the framing of your original question implies they think the invasion – nakba – wasn’t criminal to which eljay responded he understood the criminality but his focus was resolution and justice. … ||

        Thanks, Annie. I’m not sure why echinococcus is having trouble comprehending what you were immediately able to grasp.

        || … and you’re dissatisfaction with the response doesn’t mean he deflected, it just means you want some admission or wording from him you didn’t get. … ||

        Thing is, I don’t know what admission or wording he expects. I’ve made it very clear that I don’t support any aspect of Zio-supremacism, and I’ve also made it clear that I don’t support his idea of dismantling Israel and shipping all non-indigenous inhabitants – whatever that means 70 years after the fact – out of geographic Palestine.

    • Kay24
      July 20, 2016, 7:41 am

      Only the ignorant or the brainwashed keep referring to it as the “alleged” occupation.
      It does not take smarts to take a hard look at the appalling situation and come to this conclusion:

      “The United Nations, the European Union, International Committee of the Red Cross and the government of the United Kingdom all refer to the “Occupied Palestinian Territories”.[37][38][39] The International Court of Justice refers to the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as “the Occupied Palestinian Territory” and this term is used as the legal definition by the International Court of Justice in the ruling in July 2004.[40]”


      “Israel asserts that since the disengagement from Gaza in 2005, it no longer occupies it.[14] However, as it retained certain control of Gaza’s airspace and coastline, as of 2012 it continued to be designated as an occupying power in the Gaza Strip by the United Nations Security Council, the United Nations General Assembly[15] and some countries and various human rights organizations.[16][17][18][19]

      Israeli supporters and their biased thinking cannot be counted.

    • oldgeezer
      July 20, 2016, 8:28 am


      Even the Israeli Supreme Court has ruled that Gaza and the West Bank are occupied territory and not a part of Israel.

      There is nothing alleged about it. It has been adjudicated.

    • Mr.T
      August 3, 2016, 4:43 pm

      “If they are fighting agains an alleged ‘occupation,'”

      “alleged ‘occupation'”… Yuk, the moral equivalent of Holocaust denial.

      “…why were they slaughtering Jews BEFORE 1967?”

      Because the attack on and occupation of Palestine by the Zionists predated 1967.

  5. John Douglas
    July 19, 2016, 10:46 pm

    This is a clear, well argued piece. I wish two other points had been made. First, that Jewish gangs were killing and displacing Palestinians long before the declaration of the Israeli State. A fact that gave surrounding Arab countries self-defence reasons to war against the newly declared state. Second, that while the press always explains Israeli military actions as a “reaction to” some Palestinian action. The press never considers what the Palestinian action was a “reaction to”.

  6. Marnie
    July 20, 2016, 2:09 am

    In a just world, this would be shown to classrooms all over the world.

    Affinity292 – provide sources for your claims of ‘slaughter of Jews by Palestinians. Otherwise your post looks like the average troll – no facts, just lies and incitement.

    Some 63 Jews were murdered in 1929 while over 400 were protected and saved by their neighbors. By MICHAEL OMER-MAN \ 08/26/2011 09:43
    This Week in History: The 1929 Hebron Massacre
    Jerusalem Post

    Why is this fact relegated to the dustbin and never mentioned by your fellow propagandists? There should be a square in Hebron that is dedicated to those Palestinians who saved over 400 Jews. Instead there are “Jews Only” streets and constant harrassment/injury/wrongful arrests/extradicial executions.

    • Misterioso
      July 20, 2016, 10:49 am

      Well said!!


      In 1925, Vladimir Jabotinsky, a Zionist zealot from Poland, founded the fascistic Betar or Brown Shirts along with the Revisionist Party (origin of today’s Likud) which advocated “revision” of the British Mandate to include forcible Jewish colonization of then Transjordan in addition to Palestine. Such Jewish extremism, along with the racist rants of Rabbi Kook and threats against the Dome of the Rock by Revisionist demonstrators led to the terrible and bloody riots of 1929

      Vincent Sheean, an eminent American journalist who arrived in Palestine as a pro-Zionist just days before the 1929 riots erupted, was shocked at what he saw: As he later wrote: “I was bitterly indignant with the Zionists for having, as I believed, brought on the disaster…. [W]hy couldn’t the Zionists leave it [Palestine] alone, it would never hold enough Jews to make even a beginning towards the solution of the Jewish problem; it would always be a prey to such ghastly horrors as those I saw everyday and every night….” (Vincent Sheean, Personal History, New York: Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc. 1935)

      Hundreds of Hebron’s Jews were taken in and protected by Muslims. Tragically, 64 of Hebron’s Jews died, but 650 were saved. Throughout the country 133 Jews were killed and 339 wounded while Palestinians suffered 116 dead and 232 wounded.

      Bitterly ironic is the fact that most Jews living in Hebron in 1929 were anti-Zionist. They were the descendants of the Sephardim who had founded the city’s Jewish Quarter near the tomb of the Patriarchs in the 1500’s after Jews were expelled from Spain and then welcomed and given sanctuary in the Arab world. Their numbers increased somewhat during the early 1900’s with the arrival of Hasidim from Poland who came to study. Many Muslims who were driven out of Spain by the Christians also moved to Hebron. Prior to Zionism, Jews and Muslims lived together harmoniously in Hebron for 400 years with the Jews always forming a small minority. There were very few if any Christians in the city.

      In 1930, a report issued by a British commission of enquiry attributed the 1929 clashes to the fact the Palestinians “have come to see in Jewish immigration not only a menace to their livelihood but a possible overlord of the future.” (Another 1930 British report, trying to find a way to reduce tension between Zionist alien Jews and native Palestinians, revealed that there was no additional land available for agricultural settlement by new Jewish immigrants.)

      The friendship that existed between Muslims and Jews in Hebron was attested to by Israeli journalist Chaim Hanegbi, whose great grandfather was the city’s last Rabbi: “My grandfather lived very peacefully with his Arab neighbours…. His family joined the grape harvest every year, and the [Muslim] neighbours cooked kosher food so the Jews could share the feasts with them.” (Canada’s Globe and Mail, February 18, 1997)

      It should also be noted that in the spirit of reconciliation, Hebron’s mayor has stated publicly that he and his fellow Muslims would welcome the descendants of the city’s Jews if they should choose to return and replace the Zionist fanatics who are now there.

      BTW, according to the Palestine govt. (British Mandate), Jerusalem, 1945, Jews owned a mere one per cent of sub-district Hebron’s land. Palestinians owned 96% and state land comprised four per cent.

      • Marnie
        July 20, 2016, 11:57 am

        Wow Misterioso! Isn’t it funny how some people throw S#%$ up on a wall to see what sticks, and others actually provide facts to prove their points?

        That’s why this video is killer and will have the hasbarists heads spinning for some time!

      • MHughes976
        July 20, 2016, 12:14 pm

        Sometimes it feels bad that here, where we have rules that discourage Nakba justification, we have remarks like those of affinity. But those remarks have elicited a terrific series of replies, which remind us that reason is never dead and will sometime prevail

  7. iResistDe4iAm
    July 20, 2016, 10:45 am

    The world is plagued by too many natural disasters, but Palestine is the world’s longest 68-year Israeli-made UNNATURAL disaster.

    Thankfully, unlike natural disasters, man-made UNNATURAL disasters (aka. crimes against humanity) can be stopped.

  8. inbound39
    July 20, 2016, 12:46 pm

    What an absolutely commendable and factual account of Israel’s true intent. Noura Erekat and Nour Joudah have done their people proud and in so doing have left America with a lot of explaining to do for supplying support and weaponry and ordnance that Israel has use to disgustingly “mow the lawn”. That latter euphemism shows the callousness and coldness with which Netanyahu and his compatriots go about the business of ethnic cleansing and murder of Palestinians in full view of the World. American and European Governments who could end this situation need to do some REAL soul searching and ask themselves what they actually stand for. The majority of free citizens around the Globe do not support what Israel has done or continues to do. Supportive Governments of Israel can no longer hide.

  9. Vera Gottlieb
    July 20, 2016, 2:25 pm

    Why don’t we call it by what it really is: ethnical cleansing. This thing about being “politically correct” has gone too far.

  10. Vera Gottlieb
    July 20, 2016, 2:46 pm

    And I continue being utterly ashamed of my Jewish background. Not in my name!!!

  11. iResistDe4iAm
    July 21, 2016, 12:26 am

    Here’s a short video animation (1m 48s) that shows Israel’s “mowing the lawn” massacres in context…

  12. Talkback
    July 22, 2016, 7:00 am

    Where are all the Zionist commenters? LOL.

    • inbound39
      July 22, 2016, 11:36 pm

      They lack the ability to defend the indefensible and their problem will worsen in the months ahead. Israel and its Occupation and land theft is finished and Israeli’s are viewed as Pariahs.

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