About ten years ago, B’Tselem gave the first camera in our video camera distribution project to a young girl named Rajaa Abu ‘Ayeshah from Tel Rumeidah, Hebron. A few weeks later she sent us a tape. It contained the first footage B’Tselem would publish as part of this project. The clip shows a woman settler screaming abuse at Rajaa. The video quickly went viral, generating public debate over the consequences of the settlements in Hebron, and incurring domestic and international criticism.
A decade later, at a spot just fifty meters from Rajaa’s home, ‘Imad Abu Shamsiyeh filmed the recent footage that has Israel in an uproar (see below).
For those fighting to end the occupation these are not simple times, to put it mildly. Anti-democratic voices in Israel have never been so vociferous. A poll by Israel’s Channel 2 shows that most Israelis are fine with the extrajudicial killing of assailants who no longer pose a danger. More than ever before, now is the time to recall the hundreds of videos filmed by Palestinians which succeeded in bringing the injustices of the occupation into millions of living rooms in Israel and around the world, in spite of and to the chagrin of many. For these Palestinians and for B’Tselem, video cameras have become an unparalleled means to an end in the fight to protect human rights in the Occupied Territories. Footage such as the incident that ‘Imad captured in Hebron strikes a telling blow in the fight against attempts to silence the voices of Palestinians who live under occupation and the voices of the human rights community in Israel.
Over the past decade, Palestinian volunteers have filmed more than 4,000 hours of footage documenting the reality of living under Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza. Our volunteers and staff will go on filming the occupation and exposing its injustices – until the occupation comes to an end.
Video Department Director