A brilliant new documentary film is being produced in Palestine, focusing on a story that took place during the first intifada in the late 1980s in Beit Sahour near Bethlehem. As Palestinians rebelled against lethal Israeli policies across the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the Israeli military attempted to quash popular uprisings through unmitigated violence, repression and long-term curfews. But Palestinian resistance back then took many different and unique forms, as it still does today even after the formal intifadas have simmered.
The Wanted 18 — which is partly animated with exquisite claymation — follows a group of residents who came up with an idea to buy a small herd of cows, so that people could distribute fresh milk to the local community during spates of Israeli-enforced curfews. Shortly after learning about this plan, the Israeli military engaged in a hunt to find and destroy the cows. For four years. Residents hid the cows in various locations peppered throughout the city, and milk continued to be distributed to the community. Israel’s relentless search and destroy mission against a herd of dairy cows of course seems absurd, but as the film trailer tells us, “the cows meant Palestinian independence, and Israel could not tolerate that.”
“[The Israeli soldiers] couldn’t handle psychologically what [was happening] in Beit Sahour,” says a member of the volunteer group who is interviewed in the film. “It wasn’t part of their education. It wasn’t part of what they had been taught about Arabs.”
“The intifada was the expression by which we were able to gain back our lost dignity and pride,” he continues. “We didn’t need to have major artillery, nor tanks, nor [an] air force … it was much more than that.”
As Israeli policies of colonization and apartheid attempt to dismantle the culture of resistance in Palestine, from 1948 to 1987 to 2011, stories and film projects like these have tremendous power to inspire and fight back.
The filmmakers have produced an 8-minute-long trailer for The Wanted 18:
More information on the film can be found on the website for Intuitive Pictures: http://intuitivepictures.ca/work/the-wanted-18.