Last night an Israeli film director named Shai Carmeli-Pollak, along with residents of Bilin village, visited the Alternative Information Center in Beit Sahour for a screening of his film ‘Bilin Habibti’. This non-fictional film documents the struggle of one community in Palestine and their non-violent resistance to the Israeli Occupation. This community reflects thousands of others facing the same effects of state terrorism.Shai served his two years in the Israeli army without any level of political awareness almost 20 years ago. He is now an anarchist and is devoted to the rescue of Bilin village, a Palestinian farming community whose very existence is being threatened by the illegal construction of Israeli settlements and the apartheid Wall. Since 2005 weekly demonstrations have been held in the village, which has already lost over 50% of its agricultural land to the construction of the Wall.
During the making of the film, Shai joins the village’s struggle, focusing on two central figures: Mohamed, a member of the village’s local committee against the illegal Wall, and Wagee, farmer and father of ten, who is losing the majority of his land to the Wall and to the illegally built settlement of Modin Elite.
At the beginning of the film we witness Shai’s first encounter with Wagee, and the instant welcome he receives. As the non-violent resistance in the village gathers momentum, as does the unique relationship between the Israeli activists and the residents of Bilin.
Through ‘Bilin Habibti’, we gain an insight not only into the mindset of anarchism within Israel, but also those who serve the occupation in the Israeli army. While seeming to only scratch the surface of this Palestinian community, Shai presents a complex account of each individual the film encounters in a way in which a greater understanding of the social, emotional and agricultural effects of the Israeli occupation can be gained.