The Kite that Caught a Mountain, directed by Alexander Gaisie-Walker and James Altham, is a uniquely stylized portrayal of the literal machine of Israeli occupation and exploitation of Palestinian land. The short is specific to Israel’s practice of quarrying on Palestinian land but can be viewed as a metaphor of its colonization practices as a whole.
In the short, a silhouetted father and son are pushed off of their land by armed soldiers who shoot down the boy’s kite. The family’s property is destroyed and their land quarried. However, the machine of occupation is met with resistance and the short ends with a hopeful vision for the future of Palestine.
The short animation is a School of Architecture Student Project at Oxford Brookes University and is accompanied by an original, striking soundtrack by Philip Glass, one of the most influential composers living today.
Israel’s quarries on occupied land
Last year the Israeli high court issued a decision to allow Israeli companies to quarry and mine in the occupied West Bank, in violation of international law which forbids an occupying power from exploiting the natural resources of the land.
The Electronic Intifada reported in February 2012:
“On its face, the new rule allows the occupier to make endless use of the variety of objects found in the occupied territory,” the Israeli human rights group Yesh Din stated. “To pump its water sources, to transfer its archaeological artifacts to elsewhere outside the territory, to use areas within it for garbage disposal, to sell public real estate, and more.”
The rights group added that the high court ruling created “a license for pillage” in the West Bank.
The February 2012 report adds:
Israeli quarry operations in the West Bank began in the mid-1970s. It is estimated that there are ten Israeli-owned quarries in the West Bank, of which eight are operational. These facilities produce approximately 12 million tons of mined material annually, and the vast majority of these materials — up to 94 percent in some quarries — are transferred for use in the Israeli construction market.
A September 2011 report released by the Palestinian Ministry of National Economy and the Applied Research Institute in Jerusalem found that the total costs imposed on the Palestinian economy as a result of the Israeli occupation amounted to $6.9 billion in 2010, or approximately 85 percent of the total Palestinian GDP.