1) Internationals at Nabi Saleh Demonstration. When I filmed in the West Bank, I was always more interested in Palestinians and internationals than soldiers or settlers.
This is a video from my first Nabi Saleh demonstration, when I ended up behind the village's petrol station with a group of internationals who had just run away the tear gas. I decided to keep the camera rolling because the image of Westerners against the backdrop of a demonstration was really intriguing to me.
1) Palestinian Children Talk About the Occupation. I spent some of my weekend days/nights in the village of Bil'in, which has gotten a lot of media attention for its weekly demonstrations against the Wall. One night, I handed my camera to my friend's niece, Tutu, and she started interviewing her cousin Yazid. I showed the video to their uncle and he said, "we have to translate this!" After I published it, I showed it to their parents, who were amazed at their impromptu interview. This is a kindergartener and a first-grader.
One thing I found really fascinating was that some people on YouTube found the video anti-Semitic. I didn't do something that a lot of filmmakers do, which is change the Arabic word for "Jews" to "Israelis" or "soldiers" or "settlers" or "Zionists." The word yehud means Jews, and I translated it directly. That little kids are saying things like "why do the Jews come to watch us?" shouldn't be seen as anti-Semitic, it should be seen as a very alarming reality for these kids, that their peoples' oppressors are, indeed, Jews. Many believe that they should learn to differentiate Zionists from Jews, as there are SO many Jewish supporters of Bilin's struggle, and it would challenge Israel's attempt to synonymize Zionism with Judaism. The video got a lot of views and comments, and shortly after I posted it, Rabbi Rosen shared it in his blog, Shalom Rav. He called it an astonishing clip.
3) Israeli Civil Administration Delivers 17 Demolition Orders to Al Aqaba Village. One day, while I was living in Al Aqaba, an Israeli civilian car showed up with a military jeep and started leaving papers next to several homes and structures. Somehow I worked up the nerve to approach their car and film their faces and conduct a short interview. All my instincts told me not to do it, but I think this is the only video of the CA delivering demolition orders to a village.
4) International Protests Against Operation Pillar of Cloud. This is a slideshow of some of the demonstrations that took place worldwide in November 2012, when Israel launched Operation Pillar of Cloud against the Gaza Strip. I was in DC on speaking tour, and I felt so utterly helpless. This is what came out of it. I still get kinda verklempt seeing how much love and solidarity poured in from all over the world...
5) Marda Permaculture Farm. I tagged along with my friend Sammy to a volunteer weekend at the Marda Permaculture Farm, and had an amazing day with Palestinian, Israeli and international alums from the Arava Institute. They'd all graduated from the environmental studies program, and were doing a West Bank solidarity project together for the first time. I got to meet Murad, the director, and offer my services as a promo-video maker.
6) Christmas in Palestine. These are clips I put together from my two Christmases in the West Bank.
My first experience with Palestinian Christians was on the second night of my visit to the West Bank. I walked into a Latin church in a village near Ramallah, called Taybeh, and heard a church choir singing a familiar song. I was surprised at how at home I felt there.
7) Volleyball on the Mount of Olives. I loved my Lutheran community in Jerusalem/Bethlehem/Ramallah. They hosted a volleyball/potluck night every Wednesday on the Mount of Olives. We played volleyball with a great view of Jerusalem. Rather, they played, I filmed. I'm not....good.
8) Interview with Ian, another English teacher in Al Aqaba. We had seven visitors in the village that day, from France, Pakistan, Australia and Jerusalem...
9) Palestine 5K Run/Walk. This took place in the village of Birzeit, home to Birzeit University. So many internationals and Palestinians came together for this event. This was not an easy course...so. hilly. But at one point I could see the Mediterranean Sea across Israel, which so many West Bank Palestinians can't access. I started composing... "and on a clear day, I can see the sea...but can I go? No, no, no..."
10) Palm Sunday on the Mount of Olives. I joined members of my congregation in Jerusalem in the Palm Sunday march! I was expecting a small, pious crowd. I wasn't expecting this volume, diversity, and boisterousness.
11) Olive Harvest in Loban Asharqia. I met Nancy, a university student at the Palestine vs. Japan women's soccer match in Nablus, and ending up going home to her village and staying with her family that night! I spent the next day harvesting olives. It was an amazing experience.
The village is surrounded by settlements that were partially built on its land. I was shocked at how in-your-face the lights of Eli and the other nearby settlement are. They're like nighttime prison floodlights.
12) What He Work. Haj Sami, the mayor of Al Aqaba, regularly said "what he work" instead of "what he's doing." The verbs in Arabic are the same. So I adopted it to mean "the awesome productive things that are going on." This is a little 80's montage I made to announce that internet had come to the village.