Palestinian Iyad Burnat from the West Bank, on His Brother’s Oscar-Nominated Documentary, “5 Broken Cameras”

by Peter B. Collins on January 22, 2013

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Iyad Burnat from the West Bank town of Bi’lin and Anna Rogers of Marin Peace and Justice Coalition talk about nonviolent resistance to Israeli expansion as recounted in the documentary, 5 Broken Cameras.This conversation is based on the documentary film 5 Broken Cameras, which was nominated for an Academy Award a few days after it was recorded.  The documentary was shot by Iyad’s brother, Emad Burnat, over a 7-year period.  It depicts how Israel first installed a fence, which was well beyond the recognized border, and proceeded to displace Palestinians from their land in order to build a massive settlement–which now has 50,000 Israelis.  The residents of Bi’lin launch a campaign of nonviolent protests, which are sometimes infiltrated by Israeli provocateurs, and repeatedly broken up by Israeli forces using live bullets, rubber bullets, tear gas and more.  As Israeli bulldozers uproot their ancient olive trees, the Palestinians try to install their own settlements on the disputed land, only to be driven out.  In our conversation, Iyad details the brutal tactics used on the peaceful Palestinians, the diversion of water to the settlements, leaving the Palestinians with only intermittent access; arbitrary arrests and “administrative detention” of Bi’lin residents, and many more aspects of the tragic story, including the impact on children.

My thanks to Peggy Day and the volunteer crew of the local news program Seriously Now, and to Tom McAfee for suggesting this interview.  Thanks also to the Marin Community Media Center.

The website for the film with a trailer and many details is here.

You can watch a 25-minute edit of the video interview here, starting about 4 minutes in.

And Annie Robbins at Mondoweiss published this unsolicited comment on this interview:

“In my estimation, this 25 minute interview is unprecedented in American television media by the range and scope of topics raised by Collins as he queries Burnat. Whether inquiring on the lives of Palestinian children growing up in Bil’in, water, roads, checkpoints, weapons made in the US used against demonstrators, apartheid, or Jimmy Carter’s visits, as well as reflecting on tactics in the ghettoization of Jews in various European cities during the Nazi era, Collins leaves few stones unturned. A viewer, previously knowing nothing about the village of Bil’in or life inside the occupation can learn almost as much information from Burnat in this 25 minute riveting interview as his brother’s footage affords in 5 Broken Cameras.

And Burnat’s responses are always measured, direct and revealing. He briefly introduces his village; the population, size, how much land Israel has confiscated, the prominence olive trees have in the lives and livelihood of Palestinians and how in 2004 life radically changed for the village of Bil’in. Then he speaks of 2005 when the villagers built the committee and started the demonstrations every Friday.”

 

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