ThePalestinian-Israeli clashes date back to the mid 20th century. Afterthe declaration of Israeli as an independent state in 1948, war brokeout with the Arabs protesting for an independent Palestine state. Fordecades, there has been much effort to resolve the ongoing conflictsbetween the two countries with no significant achievements. Theconflict is wide-ranging, catching the interest of many peopleincluding film makes. Two of the documentaries based thePalestinian-Israeli conflict are PLOHistory of a Revolutionby Aljazeera and Theother Sonby Lorraine Levy. This paper aims to discuss the Palestinian-Israelpolitics as depicted in the two documentaries and how the conflicthas created deep divisions between the two societies and among thePalestinian people themselves.
Thefilm, “theother son’ tellsa story of two young men from two different cultures who discoverafter 18 years that they were switched at birth (Scott, par 1). Thedocumentary starts with one of the sons, Joseph Silberg learningafter a test to join the military that he is not the biological sonto his Israeli parents. After a thorough investigation, it isdiscovered that there was a mix-up at birth, and the two newbornslanded in the hands of the wrong mothers. Joseph has been brought upby a father, who was high-ranking Israeli officer and this explainswhy it is obligatory for him to join the military. On the other hand,the other son, Yacine has been brought up by a Palestinian familyliving in the West Bank.
Throughoutthe film, Levy reveals the various religious and political issuesthat ensue after the revelation of such devastating truth. The twoboys along with their parents find it challenging to accept thereality because of the deep division that has long existed betweenthe two societies. The physical wall that divides the two states setsup the story line of this film and helps in revealing the differencesthat exist between Palestinians and Israelites. The wall which wasconstructed to prevent suicide bombers does not only represent aphysical barrier between the two societies but most significantlydescribes the socio-cultural, political and religious differencesbetween them.
Eachof the two conflicting families is left in a dilemma of whether ornot to accept its lost son. The fathers are in denial, but themothers in one way or another find a way to accept and love both oftheir sons (Scott, par 5). Mahmud Shalaby, the elder biologicalbrother to Joseph, hates the Jews and hence finds it almostimpossible to accept the fact a man that has been brought up as anIsraelite is his blood brother. The two sons out f curiosity come toknow and understand each other. “Ishmael and Isaac,” Yassin tellshis brother Joseph while in front of a mirror after bonding. By theend of the movie, the three brothers reconcile their differences andcome together showing that there is some hope that one day, thePalestinian-Israeli conflicts will be resolved.
Theother documentary “PLOHistory of a Revolution”is a six-part series which reveals the story of the PalestineLiberation Organization (PLO) and its struggle to control Palestine.The series features significant interviews with some leaders who havebeen directly involved in the Palestinian-Israeli conflicts. The lateYasser Arafat`s interview reveals the history of the PLO includingits great achievements and failures. By 1974, Arafat had become ahero and received a standing applause at the General Assembly beingthe leader of the organization that was acknowledged as the lawfulrepresentative of the Palestinian people. By 1987, national unity hadbecome a song to many individuals who believed that the conflictbetween the two societies was about to come to an end.
However,in December the same year, an Israeli driver killed four Palestiniansand wounded nine others in a car accident. The accident sparkedPalestinian protests because they believed it was a deliberatemurder. The clashes intensified giving birth to intifada or theuprising. In the Gulf War in 1991, there was a promise of a new worldand peace talks resumed between the two nations, which saw PLOleadership return to its homeland. However, the nation-buildingprocess was faced with significant challenges with new politicalforces being formed within the Palestinian society. Up to date, thetwo political groups, Hamas, and Fatah are still in conflict over theleadership of their nation.
Thetwo documentaries touch on same issues, (the factors that led to theongoing Palestine-Israeli conflicts and the clashes existing betweenPalestinian political factions). Just like Levy reveals in herdocumentary, “theother son,"the movie of PLOhistory of revolutionshows that for the conflict to be resolved, there is the need forreconciliation to start at the family level. The Aljazeeradocumentary reveals that, unless the Palestinian people make peaceamongst themselves, the struggle will continue. On the other hand,Levy’s movie depicts the socio-cultural, religious and politicalfactors causing the Palestinian-Israeli divide. However, thedocumentary ‘theother son”shows that if the members of the families and society learn toresolve their differences, the long-lasting Palestinian-Israeliconflicts will get a resolution.
PLO:History of a Revolution:Chronicling the PLO.Aljazeera News, Aug 31st,2009. Retrievedfrom: http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/plohistoryofrevolution/2009/07/200974 133438561995.html
ScootOliver A.ParentsWho Are Left Holding the Truth, Palestinian or Israeli ‘The OtherSon,’ About the Palestinian-Israeli Divide.New York Times, Oct 25th, 2012. Retrieved from:http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/26/movies/the- other-son-about-the-palestinian-israeli-divide.html?_r=0