The Gaza Strip has been a flashpoint between Israelis and Palestinian Arabs for many years — but especially since 2005, when Israel unilaterally withdrew its military and civilians from the territory it had conquered in the Six-Day War. The Israeli withdrawal — calculated at once to divest Israel of the headache of ruling a tinderbox and as an earnest gesture of goodwill — actually proved a fillip for Hamas, the radical Islamic movement that is committed in its charter to destroy Israel, and murder the country’s Jews.
As a history lesson, it’s important to know that since its founding in 1988, Hamas has been a challenger to Fatah — a party founded by Yasser Arafat, and the dominant power within the Palestinian Authority. Indeed, in 2007, Hamas seized control of Gaza, ejecting Fatah forces and throwing their officials and loyalists from the tops of buildings. After the coup, rocket fire into Israel increased exponentially, leading to three major Israeli military incursions into Gaza since then. The latest, the Gaza War of 2014 and the issues arising from it, are the subject of a new documentary produced by Robert Magid.
Eyeless in Gaza investigates how the outside world and mainstream media outlets arrive at the popular perceptions that have prevailed over the Gaza conflict. At its basic core, the prevalent international perception of Gaza is of a dominant Israeli power, unwilling to grant independence to stateless Palestinian Arabs, who have taken up arms as a result. As a corollary, there is much sympathy for the residents of Gaza, who have found themselves in the midst of Israeli-Palestinian firefights. There is also much anger against any Israeli military action, which results in dead and shattered Gazan lives. It is the contention of Eyeless in Gaza that this version of events is the product, in large part, of profoundly and systemically flawed international reportage and media bias.
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