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14 years ago|3.4K views

GAZA STRIP 1 OF 4

Laissez-Faire Social Club
GAZA STRIP PART 1 OF 4

"GAZA STRIP" was filmed during the first four months of 2001, a period that covers the election of Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon and extends to the first major armed incursion into "Area A" by the Israeli military.

It was my first trip to the Middle East; all of my previous international filmmaking experience took place in Russia. The idea to make a documentary about Palestinians inside the Gaza Strip was mainly a reaction to what I perceived as a lack of good media coverage of that area: it was difficult for me to find intimate material of the Palestinian struggle in the mainstream US media.

More than anything, it was a desire to satisfy my own curiosity about what was really taking place inside the Occupied Territories that induced me to take matters into my own hands and produce the project.

At first it was daunting, to say the least. I didn't speak Arabic, I had no contacts on the ground. I had never even met a Palestinian in my life. The current intifada had been underway for five months and hundreds of people -- mostly Palestinian civilians -- had already been killed in the violence.

After a number of dire warnings from Israelis about the likelihood of my being attacked by angry Palestinian mobs, it was with much trepidation that I crossed alone through the Erez Crossing checkpoint into the Gaza Strip one rainy day in January.

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