The documentary called “Promise” is about the lives of seven children. Some of them are Palestinian and the others are Israelis. They live in a small territory but they are torn by politically induced hatred. B.Z., the director of the film talked to all of them to hear their points of view. It was interesting to see the perspective of children on politics and religion.
All of the children talk about issues that are inappropriate for their age. It is the result of having been born and raised in a war inflicted country. The country was divided between the Palestinians and the Israelis, but now all of it belongs to the Israeli, the Jews, and the Muslims mostly live in refugee camps. In order to get to Jerusalem, they have to pass a checkpoint.
Al Aqsa mosque is one of the most prominent landmarks of Jerusalem, together with the Western Wall. Both of these places are sacred, the mosque for the Muslims and the Wall for the Jews. They are located in the old city of Jerusalem. That is the neighborhood where one of the boys, Shlomo, lives and like he says, he feels protected there because that is the holy place which nobody would dare to destroy. It is not a place for fight, but for pray.
The other two boys, interviewed in the movie are twins, Yarko and Daniel. They live in west Jerusalem. They are secular Jews and their grandfather is a Holocaust survivor. Daniel and Yarko are more interested in living normal lives than constantly worrying about conflicts. However, in this country, conflicts are inevitable.
There are also settlements, such as Beit-El, where Moishe lives. Such settlements are not so secure and they are protected by Israeli military. Arabs are all around and they are unhappy because they were expelled from their homes. Most of the Palestinians live in refugee camps.
Sanabel and Faraj live in Deheishe camp. They look like normal children, but they are not. They know a lot about politics and religion. It is sad that they don’t have a normal childhood. They practice sports and they even compete, but they know that they cannot cross the border. Most of them support Hamas because they are angry at Israelis for banishing them from their homes.
Sanabel’s father is a political prisoner because he was an influential journalist who interfered in politics. He was imprisoned without trial as he was considered to be dangerous.
Mahmoud lives in Palestinian quarter in East Jerusalem. He seems to hate Israelis but he is not so convinced after he finds out that B.Z. is also Israeli.
The most powerful part of the movie is the meeting between Yarko and Daniel and Faraj and Sanabel. Faraj turned out to be the most emotional and he continued calling the twins on the phone. However, the boys didn’t see the point in that since they couldn’t see each other.
Shlomo, the son of an influential American rabbi is convinced that there should be a dialogu between Palestinians and Israelis, but he doesn’t believe in them being friends. There are also secular Jews. In this movie, those are the director, B.Z. and Daniel and Yarko.
All of them believe in peace and they wish for the situation to calm down. The Arabs seem to be more open to friendship than the Israelis. It is natural because they don’t trust each other, and the Israelis are the dominant nation. It is obvious that the Jews rule this land and they want to keep it that way. The problem is how to bring back the Palestinian families to the land that belonged to them before the conflicts. It is a matter of trust between humans.
Children of Israel-Palestine Promises, Dir. Carlos Bolado, B.Z. Goldberg, Justine Shapiro. Cowboy Pictures, 2001. Film.