With Israel receiving three billion dollars in aid annually from the United States of America, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an issue that is relevant to life in the U.S. However, to many it is no more than a distant battle fought in a land few will ever see. The documentary film Death in Gaza attempts to humanize the conflict through the everyday lives and voices of young children living in the war-stricken area. While the documentary is relatively one-sided, showing only the Palestinian viewpoint, it does serve the purpose of shedding light and interest on an issue that is unimaginable to those not living in the region, yet is fought and survived by people no different than ourselves.
The documentary begins by showing the director, James Miller, who was killed while filming in Gaza. This serves the purpose of not only paying tribute, but capturing the interest of those otherwise unaffected by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It makes the viewer, especially one who may be uninformed of the conflict, interested in a cause that was so important to a husband and father of two young children that he was willing to risk, and ultimately lose, his life to show it to the rest of the world.
The story is further deepened when the film proceeds to follow the conflict through the eyes of Palestinian children, the oldest being only sixteen. The generation these children are a part of is described by many, including the narrator, to be those who decide to make peace, or continue what seems to be a never-ending war. When the film begins, the children, despite being surrounded by tanks and guns, ruin and debris, seem to be no different than the children around the world. They play games similar to those in the U.S., although instead of “Cops and Robbers” they choose to call it “Jews and Arabs”. They kick soccer balls, think of excuses to tell their teachers when they are late to class, and want nothing more than to play and spend time with their friends.
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