Archive for publications, 2002

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[eccr] New Pilger film: PALESTINE IS STILL THE ISSUE

Fri Sep 13 15:50:11 GMT 2002



PALESTINE IS STILL THE ISSUE ­ A Special Report by John Pilger

Monday 16 September 2002 11.05 pm to 12.05 am ITV1
***** New ***** New ***** New ***** New *****

Twenty-five years ago, the award-winning journalist and film-maker, John
Pilger, made a documentary about Palestine.  

He told how hundreds of thousands of Palestinians had been forced off their land in 1948, and, following the Six Day War, in 1967.

In PALESTINE IS STILL THE ISSUE ­ A Special Report by John Pilger, he returns to the West Bank of the Jordan and Gaza, and Israel, to ask why the Palestinians, whose right of return was affirmed by the United Nations more than half a century ago, are still caught in a terrible limbo - refugees in their own land, controlled by Israel in one of the longest military occupations in modern times.

Says Pilger:  "This occupation is condemned by the United Nations and almost every country in the world, including Britain.  But Israel is backed by a very powerful friend, the United States.  So in 25 years, if we¹re to speak of the great injustice here, nothing has changed."

"What has changed is that the Palestinians have fought back.  Stateless and humiliated for so long, they¹ve risen up against Israel¹s huge military machine, although they themselves have no army ­ no tanks, no American planes and gunships or missiles.  Some have committed desperate acts of terror, like suicide bombing.

"But for Palestinians, the overriding, routine terror, day after day, has been the ruthless control of almost every aspect of their lives, as if they live in an open prison.  This film is about the Palestinians and a group of courageous Israelis united in the oldest human struggle ­ to be free."

The struggle of the Palestinians for overdue recognition of their basic human rights is also central to whether the region, and the wider world, is plunged into war.  

In a series of extraordinary interviews with both Palestinians and Israelis, John Pilger weaves together the 'issue' of Palestine. He speaks to the families of suicide bombers and the father of a victim; he sees the humiliations imposed on Palestinians at myriad checkpoints and with a permit system not dissimilar to apartheid South Africa's infamous 'pass laws'.  He also interviews Prime Minister Sharon¹s senior advisor.  

He goes into the refugee camps and meets children who, he says, "no longer dream like other children, or if they do, it is about death".  He asks, each time, for the solution, and is left in little doubt what that is.

Says Palestinian Lama Hourani:  "You feel all your life that you are humiliated.  Our destiny is not in our hands; it¹s in the hands of others who decide how we would live, how we even get married.  To come and live with my husband in this country, I had to have the permission of the Israelis.

"It¹s not enough that they took our land and they are not allowing us to have our own state, but also they¹re controlling every detail of our life."

"Some Israelis have spoken out," says Pilger.  "More than 500 soldiers have refused to serve in the Occupied Territories.  ŒWe are,¹ they¹ve said, Œlike the Chinese student who stood in front of the tank in Tiananment Square.  We are the conscience of our country.¹"

Former Israeli soldier Ishay Rosen-Zvi is one of them.  He says:  "I cannot forget this picture ­ it¹s five o¹clock in the morning and there¹s a line of hundreds of people waiting to pass the checkpoint.  And you see in their eyes the humiliation, the frustration, the hatred.

"You (the Israelis) have all the power, and they have no power.  You can, at any second, take their ID and then they have nothing.  Because without identification, any soldier can arrest them.  You are the man that stands there and keeps them without rights, without freedom."

PALESTINE IS STILL THE ISSUE ­ A Special Report by John Pilger will be screened ahead of transmission at the ICA in London on Monday 9 September at 7pm in Cinema One.

It is a Carlton production.  The producer is Christopher Martin.  The director is Tony Stark. The presenter, reporter and writer is John Pilger.  The executive producer is Polly Bide.  The website address is

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