BBC News reported on a controversial ad by Israeli telecommunications company Cellcom, which has been “derided by critics for trivializing the fraught issue of the separation barrier and portraying the Palestinians as an invisible other.”
The Cellcom advert, which first aired earlier in July, opens with a football landing on the bonnet of an Israeli military jeep patrolling along the West Bank separation barrier.
After initial apprehension, one of the soldiers kicks the ball back over the high wall and seconds later it comes flying over once again.
Seeing the opportunity for an impromptu kick-about, the troops call in reinforcements, more jeeps arrive and everyone enjoys themselves with an upbeat tune playing in the background.
“After all, what are we all after? Just a little fun,” says the voiceover.
In response, Palestinian activists have made their own video, depicting their actual attempts to play soccer with Israeli troops at the weekly nonviolent protests in Bi’lin. The footage, which is coupled with the same playful music on the Cellcom ad, shows their initial attempt at play being met with tear gas.
The BBC report hits on all the key points of the wall: its descruction of Palestinian life, its seperation of families, its taking of Palestinian land, and even its illegal status, as ruled by the International Court of Justice in 2004.
Although the Israeli military gets its say, claiming that the protesters often throw rocks and Molotov cocktails, we’ve heard on this blog from Anna Brown, who’s been with the Bi’lin protesters, that they are committed to nonviolence. If there are examples of violence—rock throwing is far more likely, as children are known to do it—then it is clearly an example of David vs. Goliath.
The BBC essentially notes this by saying that two protesters have been killed recently, as compared to the Israeli military’s complaint of damage to security infrastructure. Of course, any act of Palestinian violence should not be condoned, but neither should it be compared to the suffering inflicted upon them by the Israeli military and government.
Hopefully this Palestinian video response will continue to draw attention to their hard fought and overlooked attemps to use nonviolence as a means to end the occupation.