Saturday, June 25, 2011

Human Rights Watch Film Festival 2011: This Is My Land...Hebron

"We killed Jesus—we're proud of it!" a yarmulke-wearing teenager taunts a Christian peacemaker in Giulia Amati and Stephen Natanson's “This Is My Land...Hebron,” a startling glimpse into life at ground zero of the Israeli occupation. The doc begins with a pace-setting, arresting opening that swiftly crosscuts between images of daily life, from soldiers to street markets, while anonymous voiceovers stubbornly insist on the right of Jews to settle in Hebron. This contested territory is home to 160,000 resentful Palestinians, 600 hardcore Israelis who've plopped themselves down in the city center, and 2,000 Israeli soldiers, many not too keen on having to defend fellow Jews who order them around as if they were their own private security force. One “Ha'aretz” journalist says he hates going to Hebron above every other occupied city since it's the most brutal. Indeed, but even the physical violence pales in comparison to the psychological torture inflicted on the city's residents every day. The stones young Jewish kids throw at their Arab neighbors while their approving parents watch might not always make it through the wire fences the Palestinians are forced to live behind for their own safety, but the emotional blows delivered are as heavy as a boulder. Both sides live in a city in which hate is nurtured right along with the olive trees.

To read the rest of my review visit The House Next Door at Slant Magazine.

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