A Film by: Chaim Yavin
(Israel, 2005, 5 parts - 275 Minutes, Color, Hebrew, English subtitles)
The Land of the Settlers is the most encompassing and thorough account of the no. 1 problem in the Middle East.
Produced and directed by Chaim Yavin, Israel foremost television personality since the beginning of television in Israel, the documentary is a personal travelogue through the occupied territories, filmed by Yavin in the West Bank and Gaza during the last Intifa.
Shooting all of the footage by himself, with a small DV hand-held camera, the “Settlers” was a first daring undertaking and not only because of the personal risk involved, Yavin, known in Israel as Mr. Television, the evening news most celebrated anchorman, took a stand against the settlers, exposing himself to some ferocious criticism which accused him of losing his objectivity. People called for his resignation. This has not come about. On the contrary, the series has been widely applauded as an eye opener, not only in Israel but throughout the world, especially in the USA and in the Arab countries.
Although the format is a personal travelogue, The Land of the Settlers gives an all-encompassing picture of the tragedy. It shows the history in brief, but concentrates mainly on the plight of the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza: roadblocks, villages under curfew, medical needs, the suffering of women and children, all these as compared to the zealous settlers with their belief that the land of Israel was given to the people of Israel, and that they will never evacuate it. The result of this is a war that has already killed more than 1000 Israelis and over 3000 Palestinians.
The second episode centers around Hebron, a city at war. We see the daily conflict between Jews and Arabs in the holy city of the patriarchs. Actions of brutality against Palestinians are a daily occurrence - 700 settlers in conflict with 150,000 Palestinians. The camera and Yavin move to the pastures of southern Hebron where the settlers try to drive the Palestinian farmers away in daily skirmishes.
The third episode deals with the barrier between Israel and the West Bank. Yavin gives the Israeli government no quarter showing quite specifically the mistakes created in building the separation barrier at the expense of the Palestinians, often stealing their land. In establishing the barrier the government has succeeded only in escalating the conflict for both Israelis and Palestinians.
The 4th and 5th episodes deal with Gaza and with the drama that preceded the disengagement of Israel from the Gaza region. - the plight and tragedy of both Israeli and Palestinians widows and bereaved parents who lost their beloved ones in this terrible tragedy between the two peoples of the Middle East.
AWARDS, FESTIVALS & SCREENINGS
• Toronto Jewish Film Festival
• Jewish Film Week Vienna