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WATCH: Palestinian short film tackles emotional impact of conscription

A just-released short film, titled “Project-X,” tackles a politically charged issue — conscription by the Israeli military — through an emotional appeal to Palestinian youth.

“We wanted this time to make a different kind of video,” said Nadim Nashif, director of Baladna — the Association for Arab Youth, which co-sponsored production of the film. “We wanted to treat the issue in a cinematic way… [to show] what it produces by way of impact on the self.”

Nashif’s comments, which are translated above from Arabic, are included in the description to the “Project-X” video, which can be found here. (The video can be viewed with English subtitles by selecting the captions option.)

Directed by Nadim Hamed, the six-minute film was produced by the Arab Center for Social Media Advancement, or Hamleh, in cooperation with Baladna. It comes as part of an awareness campaign titled “I am an Arab; I will not serve,” which is geared toward Palestinian youth who are at risk of conscription.

In the film, the 18-year-old Palestinian protagonist is approached by an apparent Israeli recruiter, identifiable by his belabored use of the letter R, which is “rolled” in Arabic. The recruiter tries to entice him with an offer of land and an opportunity that “can open a million doors.”

The young man clearly struggles (“But I don’t want to hurt anyone,” he responds). The film then cuts to a dark operating room, where Hebrew-speaking doctors are evaluating the Palestinian’s “programming.”

“There is resistance in his heart,” one of the doctors says. “What should we do?”

“Erase her,” replies the other doctor.

The “her” is a Palestinian woman about whom the young man dreams while on the operating table. “This is not the way for us,” she pleads with him.

“You’re afraid I’ll give up on you?” he asks.

“I’m afraid you’ll give up on yourself,” the woman responds.

Equal parts harrowing and visually stunning, the film, which was posted on June 8, has already garnered nearly 4,000 views. It’s well worth a look.

This post has been updated to refer to the attempted military conscription of Palestinian youths in Israel.

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    1. Rab

      Can’t wait for the sequel, where the Palestinian kill the person suspected of collaboration without any shame. Wonder what kind of “impact on the self” being murdered by Hamas has on supposed collaborators.

      Reply to Comment
      • Philos


        Reply to Comment
      • Philos

        Ah troll-level 5 move with the deflect maneuver about Hamas, which isn’t related to the film or the topic at all.

        However, I think I’ve told you before about he who throws stones in glass houses.

        You want to talk about collaboration and the fate meted out to collaborators in Palestine? Ok. So, when the Shin Bet blackmails a Palestinian gay man that if he doesn’t collaborate they’ll out him (and hence precipitate his death) and he’s found out to be collaborating and killed – what’s the moral culpability of the Israeli state in that?

        What about a Palestinian who is waiting in trepidation by a hospital bed watching over a sick loved one, and along comes a Shin Bet official and promises better health care, the state will cover the costs, in exchange for collaboration? And anyway, if you refuse who can guarantee the hospital bed?

        These are two repeatedly documented incidents of Shin Bet coercion. It is sickening and reprehensible.

        But you’ll say, “that doesn’t justify the way they’re killed!” And you’re right. But let’s not go pointing fingers. The state archives still won’t reveal how many Jews were murdered by Lehi and others during the Mandate for not only suspected collaboration but also for forming romantic relationships with those British Gentiles. Gevalt.

        So stop being a total explicative unmentionable, as Hemingway might have written

        Reply to Comment
    2. Lisa Goldman

      The film is targeted at Palestinian citizens of Israel who might be amongst those receiving “voluntary” conscription notices from the IDF. The film was produced by a Palestinian-Israeli youth group. The comment about Hamas makes no sense.

      Reply to Comment
      • Rab

        I commented on a different article than this. Some changes have been made?

        Reply to Comment
    3. Lisa Goldman

      The change is noted at the bottom. That doesn’t change the fact that you simply rushed to comment on a video that you did not understand, despite the subtitles, because you don’t know the context and didn’t bother to find out.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        Lisa Goldman, it appears that there is more to the “context” you yourself don’t understand and, as a result, may be making a helluva bad assumptions. No doubt who the targets (plural!) of the “film” are – i.e. (a) Muslims-Arabs with Israeli passports and (b) the Jewish State! For said Arabs, the Jewish State means Al-Nakba they can never reconcile themselves with. The Jewish State is the enemy that must be gotten rid of at the earliest opportune moment (in their dreams, that is). As such, they refuse to serve in the Army and consider anyone from amongst them who serves a collaborator/traitor! Now, Lisa Goldman, is there any difference between the underlying ideology and message of this “film” (featuring two dirty ugly men) and the ideology and message of Hamas? If yes, what is it? If no, why do you claim that “the reference to Hamas makes no sense”?

        Reply to Comment
      • Rab

        Would you mind posting the original text? I’m a little surprised by how deeply I misread this. Wasn’t there language about collaboration?

        Reply to Comment
    4. Bar

      I was right. It was about collaboration. I found a blog compilation site that picked up the original language of this piece and there was no discussion of conscription but rather of collaboration. Here:

      Original title:

      WATCH: Palestinian short film tackles emotional impact of ‘collaboration’

      Original body:

      A just-released short film, titled “Project-X,” tackles a politically charged issue — the lure of becoming a collaborator — through an emotional appeal to Palestinian youth.

      This was a piece about collaboration and somebody picked up on what that would mean in this context and “adjusted” the language.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Bar

      Here, you can find the original link to the original text here:


      It’s okay if you’ve banned me for being right. The shame is all yours. You remember that you threatened me last time with banning if I was wrong about something. Well, turns out I was so on target, you guys decided to change the article.

      Reply to Comment
    6. You misunderstand. While it’s obvious to readers who understand the issues that the makers of the video are Palestinian Israelis who regard volunteering for the IDF as collaboration, readers like you — who speak neither Arabic nor Hebrew — missed the nuances. So the text was edited to make things absolutely clear, and the fact that the text has been edited is noted at the bottom, in italics. So there’s no conspiracy theory and you needn’t feel ashamed, although you could just acknowledge that you didn’t understand the video and offered an uninformed analysis.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        You see, Lisa Goldman, the animosity inherent in your posts is very palpable. That’s inexplicable, but does explain the irrational aggression and the ad hominem attacks against Bar. Regardless, the “nuance” you claim is only a mirage. In reality said “nuance” is non-existent. Indeed, “while it’s obvious that the makers of the video are Palestinian Israelis who regard volunteering for the IDF as collaboration”, it is equally obvious to anyone “who understand the issues” that those same “Palestinian Israelis” and Hamas see themselves as ONE People that share the same ideology, goals and objectives when it comes to the Jewish State and the IDF. The message of the video reflects exactly the message of Hamas (et al.). As such, anyone who refuses to see your false “nuance” and makes the right connection misunderstands NOTHING. On the contrary, the ones who go to great lengths (posting, editing and reposting) to create- and sale a false “nuance” are being dishonest!

        Reply to Comment
      • Bar

        I don’t speak Arabic but why do you assume I don’t speak Hebrew.

        You may not like my comment, but the original article explicitly spoke of collaboration. Now, it could just be my bias, but it seems to me that the use of the term collaboration has a very distinct meaning in Palestinian society. We could argue that Arab Israelis aren’t Palestinians in the way that Gazans are and therefore my suggestion that the use of the term “collaboration” isn’t actually an implicit threat, but we could also argue the opposite.

        Either way, I think you’ll agree, now that you’ve seen the language to which I originally responded, that even if you disagree with what I wrote, it was related to the article.

        Reply to Comment