The Israel-Palestine conflict is at the heart of politics not only in the Middle East, but in the United States. As the Israeli government led by Benjamin Netanyahu moves further to the hard right with the support of U.S. President Donald Trump, the plight of Palestinians is reaching a new level of urgency. Journalist and filmmaker Mariam Shahin, the daughter of Palestinians, has dedicated much of her life’s work to documenting Palestinians’ stories through film as well as in her book “Palestine: A Guide” (Interlink Books, 2006). Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer describes Shahin’s films as poignant portrayals of “the forgotten people of every intrusion, every war.”
“What I loved about your work,” Scheer tells Shahin in the latest installment of “Scheer Intelligence,” “is you capture … the ordinary person living in a place like Gaza. How they eat, how they survive. Male, female, children. These are not people who invented the situation. These are not people who have agency of any significance.”
While the situation in the Palestinian territories looks increasingly dire, Shahin has found reasons for hope. “I think as the world increasingly becomes more polarized, there's more people willing to listen to Palestinians,” the journalist tells the Truthdig Editor in Chief.
“We have an enormous number of, for example, film festivals which also show documentaries like the ones I make and many others across Europe, across Asia, across South America, in Africa and in the United States---in the land where some of the biggest opponents of a Palestinian identity and entity govern,” she continues.
Shahin believes that the future of the two peoples will depend on complex peace work, work in which, according to her, the onus should be placed on Israelis as they hold more power. The journalist, however, concedes that the only solution left going forward given current socio-political conditions is what’s known as the “One State Solution.” She insists that the work she carries out is in the interest of Israelis and Palestinians alike, given that establishing lasting peace between the two would solve the great majority of Israel’s current troubles.
“Because when the world around [Israel], those who are hostile to [them], recognize that [Israel is] actually a Democracy and a state which treats citizens and neighbors as equals, then half [the] problem is over,” asserts Shahin.
Listen to the full discussion about Israelis’ and Palestinians’ potential future and how it affects American politics.