Independent journalists Max Blumenthal and Dan Cohen documented the assault on Gaza during the war and chronicled its horrific aftermath. As they waded through the rubble of Gaza’s destroyed border regions, they turned a camera onto the survivors of the slaughter and let them speak for themselves.
Dan returned, week after week, to capture on film the daily struggles of the people of Gaza as they suffered through one of the worst winters in recorded history, and then weathered the sweltering summer heat without electricity and — in many cases — without homes.
While giving voice to the pain of a people under siege, we also highlight their inspiring acts of creative resistance, from painting to break-dancing to literature, that allow them maintain their humanity in the face of deprivation and war.
Killing Gaza is much more than a documentary about Palestinian resilience and suffering. It is a chilling visual document of war crimes committed by the Israeli military featuring direct testimony and evidence from the survivors, delivered to them often just days after escaping indiscriminate shelling, bombings and summary executions.
MEET THE PEOPLE
Sabha Mahmoud Khalil Shamaly
Seated in the rubble of her home, Sabha Mahmoud Khalil Shamaly tells us the gripping story of her escape under heavy artillery and missile fire — including a strike on the top floor of her home as she prepared coffee for her son — from the neighborhood of Shujaiya with nothing more than her life and her grandchildren slung over her back.
Waseem Shamaly is the younger brother of one of the Israeli assault on Gaza’s most high profile victims. At age 15, Waseem was devastated when he viewed cellphone camera footage of his older brother, Salem, getting gunned down, execution style, by an Israeli sniper. We meet Waseem soon after the incident and follow him as he struggles to cope with the heart-rending loss, eventually deciding to become a resistance fighter.
In the dilapidated seaside refugee camp of Shati, we meet Hosni Ibrahim. A fisherman by trade, he tells how the siege of Gaza slowly destroyed his life, driving him into poverty, ruining his marriage and forcing him to ration food to his children. As a hard rain pours on his rickety home, (name) reveals to us his wish to commit suicide, an increasingly common epidemic across Gaza, and how he only remains alive to feed his young sons.
At the Beesan Zoo and Family Amusement Park, Ali Qasem, a volunteer zookeeper, tells us how the animals he tended to had become like his family and how crushing it was to lose them when Israel obliterated the zoo with a missile strike. At Beesan, which has been since dismantled, we filmed the few surviving animals, documenting them as they acted out a state of madness after 51 days of war.
At age 15, Malak Mattar has taught herself how to paint. Her wildly colorful paintings demonstrate an unusually mature level of abstraction yet they remain clearly grounded in the reality of Gaza. Filmed in a bedroom she has transformed into an art studio, Malak presents an inspiring example of creativity amidst an often suffocating atmosphere of conflict.
At the Islamic University of Gaza, we filmed Refaat Alareer, a professor of English literature, as he describes for his students his first encounter with the outside world and how it transformed his understanding of an occupation that had limited his intellectual output. We see Alareer as he engages his students on sensitive issues like anti-Semitism and violent resistance, using texts like Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice to challenge their preconceptions.