Gaza Strip, ein Dokumentarfilm von James Longley
Die Geschichte des Films

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Die Geschichte des Films "Gaza Strip" ist insorfern ein spannendes Zeitdokument, weil sie das Verhalten der israelischen Armee beschreibt, als Gaza noch von Israelis besiedelt war. Damals hatte gerade die 2. Intifada begonnen. Überall in den Medien wurde vom Wiederaufflammen des palästinensischen Terrorismus berichtet. Noch war nicht die Rede von der Kontrolle des Gazastreifens durch die "Terrororganisation" Hamas. Keiner konnte verstehen, warum die Palästinenser nicht bereit waren, in Frieden mit den Israelis zu leben. Am wenigsten die Israelis, so berichtete die Presse.

Seither hat sich die Lage der Bevölkerung in Gaza nicht verbessert. Ob Waffenstillstand oder nicht, die Dörfer und Städte werden regelmäßig beschossen, aus Hubschraubern oder Flugzeugen, von Schiffen, aus Panzern. Meist die ganze Nacht durch. Die UNO berichtet, dass die Kinder in Gaza von diesem ständigen Beschuß extrem traumatisiert sind.

Jetzt wird Gaza vom israelischen Militär gezielt zerstört. Begründet werden die Angriffe auf zivile Einrichtungen mit der Hamasregierung im Gaza und den Qassamraketen. Vom Kräfteverhältnis ist das wie wenn ein starker Mann ein Kind erst ständig knufft und dann grün und blau schlägt, weil es ihm irgendwann auf die Zehen steigt. Na ja, so was soll vorkommen. Ich weiß nicht, ob wir dafür Verständnis haben müssen.

Lesen Sie den Bericht unten. Vielleicht verstehen Sie einiges besser. Suchen Sie selbst nach ähnlichen Quellen - oder bestellen Sie den Film, wenn Sie starke Nerven haben.

"GAZA STRIP  was filmed during the first four months of 2001, a period that covers the election of Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon and extends to the first major armed incursion into "Area A" by the Israeli military. It was my first trip to the Middle East; all of my previous international filmmaking experience took place in Russia. The idea to make a documentary about Palestinians inside the Gaza Strip was mainly a reaction to what I perceived as a lack of good media coverage of that area: it was difficult for me to find intimate material of the Palestinian struggle in the mainstream US media. More than anything, it was a desire to satisfy my own curiosity about what was really taking place inside the Occupied Territories that induced me to take matters into my own hands and produce the project.

At first it was daunting, to say the least. I didn't speak Arabic, I had no contacts on the ground. I had never even met a Palestinian in my life. The current intifada had been underway for five months and hundreds of people -- mostly Palestinian civilians -- had already been killed in the violence. After a number of dire warnings from Israelis about the likelihood of my being attacked by angry Palestinian mobs, it was with much trepidation that I crossed alone through the Erez Crossing checkpoint into the Gaza Strip one rainy day in January.

To my great relief, the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip turned out to be people like everyone else. It is the situation they find themselves in that is extraordinary: The Gaza Strip is essentially an open-air prison for Palestinian refugees, guarded on all sides by the Israeli military. Barely 28 miles long and 4 miles wide, it contains more than 1,200,000 Palestinians -- over one third of them living in squalid refugee camps built in 1948 to hold the people forced out of their homes by the creation of modern-day Israel. It is one of the most densely populated places on the planet. Nobody can pass through its borders without the permission of the Israeli soldiers. Like the West Bank, the Gaza Strip has been under Israeli military occupation since 1967. Most people living in the Gaza Strip have never known a single day of real freedom.

My plan was to find a main character to follow -- probably a stone-throwing kid or an ambulance driver -- who would be able to give a narration and framework to the events taking place. I knew from the start that I didn't want to write a narration for the film; I wanted the characters I filmed to speak for themselves and tell their own stories.

sinee7.jpgI found the film's principal voice in the person of Mohammed Hejazi, a 13-year-old paper boy in Gaza City. He was the first person I filmed inside the Gaza Strip. One afternoon early in my stay I walked out to Karni Crossing, a place in east Gaza where many children have been killed and wounded by Israeli soldiers while throwing stones at tanks, and the kids there pushed him in front of the camera as their spokesperson. It was no accident: Mohammed could talk the ears off a donkey, and he has a great deal to say. I followed him for several weeks, recording hours of interviews and verite material.

rafahman.jpgThe situation in the Gaza Strip worsened noticeably during my stay. Sharon was elected prime minister and immediately began a campaign to demolish the infrastructure of the Palestinian Authority. I eventually branched out from Gaza City and moved to the refugee camp of Khan Younis in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, where things were made particularly tense by the proximity of a large Jewish settlement that virtually surrounds the western edge of the camp. Khan Younis came under constant attack from the Israeli military while I lived there -- particularly at night. The Israeli machine-gunners would usually start around 10 pm, firing into the city. Most of the time it seemed as if the IDF soldiers were shooting out of boredom. They would tap out little tunes with their armor-piercing ammunition, like fans clapping at a hockey match. Most nights, the bombardment would last until morning. Families living on the perimeter of the camp gradually evacuated their homes and moved in with relatives. After about a week in Khan Younis, I became accustomed to the Israeli gunfire and tank shells. I moved my bed to the balcony of the apartment I shared with two French journalists, letting the sound of the machine-guns lull me to sleep. A quiet night was a fitful night.

oldman.jpgI fell into a routine of filming every day, all kinds of subjects. I filmed women in tents whose houses had been bulldozed. Children dodging machine-gun fire on their way home from school. Rock-throwing demonstrations. Patients suffering in the hospitals from a gas attack. An old couple in Rafah whose small villa was gradually being destroyed. A boy whose friend was blown up by an Israeli booby-trapped device. Palestinians circumventing a roadblock by driving along the beach. Assassinations carried out with Apache helicopters. Funerals. Lots of funerals. It ran together in my camera like a kaleidoscope of slow suffocation punctuated by moments of extreme terror. All in all, I filmed more than 75 hours of material. For every minute in the finished film there is an entire hour of material that I had to leave out.

oldwoman.jpgMy idea of a good documentary is a film that captures the most essential aspects of its subject, a film that shows rather than tells. I wanted to make a film that would convey not only the hard facts of life inside the Gaza Strip, but also the emotions, sensations and driving desires of the people I filmed. I made the film to fill a gap in our knowledge and a blind spot in our thinking about this conflict, but more than anything this film is an attempt to record the humanity of the people I met there, the thing that is impossible to tell in words."
-- Director / Producer, James Longley

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Gaza Strip, ein Dokumentarfilm



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