Sunday, August 06, 2006

5 Days

The removal of the Israeli Jews from the fortified settlements built in the Gaza strip took 5 days. 5 days of intense, papparazzi like, media attention. The question was "how serious was the Israeli government?". Given that the IDF was doing the moving you can argue that the answer was never in doubt; no sane Israeli politician (especially not an ex-general like Sharon) would use the IDF as a political fall-guy. But given Sharon's previous attitude to the settlements perhaps some people believed he could change his mind again at the last minute.

This documentary followed three converging players: the general in charge of moving the settlers, a protest organiser outside the settlements and a couple of almost hippy-like settlers who believe Gaza is God's gift to them. In the bit parts are 8,000 settlers, 40,000 soldiers and police and hundreds (possibly thousands) of protesters. In the audience are the media, and through them 'The World'. On the fringes are the Palestinians of Gaza.

One thing that should strike you is what you don't see. Guns. There is an assault rifle leaning up in the corner of the general's office and other assault rifles pointed at the Palestinians by the soldiers guarding the settlements (not part of the 40,000 who move the settlers), but rest of this documentary is a gun-free zone. But the strangest thing is that the gun-free nature of the process is not discussed or mentioned!

There is lots of potential for clashes between the various factions to derail the process but in fact the biggest hold-ups and potential hold-ups come from within the army. Some of the commanders who report to the general find all sorts of ways to avoid or slow down the implementation of orders. One officer in particular gets close to insubordination / incompetence.

The film provides a partial insight into the Alice-in-Wonderland nature of Israeli politics.

Ian’s Rating: 2.5/5
Anne’s Rating: 3/5

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