In the spring of 2002, the Israeli army surrounded and attacked the Balata refugee camp. The camera follows residents living in a state of terror and records their lives and feelings. The desperate situation in the Jenin refugee camp after the death and destruction of Israel’s violent attack is also depicted, conveying the reality of “occupation.” Meanwhile, former Israeli officers and soldiers in a group called Breaking the Silence testify to the numbing of their sense of morality and ethics during service in the occupied territories, and the dread they feel over the loss of their humanity. They speak out from concern that the moral foundations of Israeli society and the state are at risk. The soldiers’ testimony and the ambivalence of their families reveal the deep shadows that the occupation has cast on Israeli society.
Journalist Doi Toshikuni was born in 1953 in Saga Prefecture, Japan. He first became involved with the Palestine-Israel problem in 1985. He has been filming in Palestine and Israel for 17 years, and, working with the Palestinian Documentary Society, completed the four-part Unheard Voices: Palestinians, Israelis, and the Occupation in 2009. Breaking the Silence is Part 4 of this series of films.
Doi has produced numerous documentary programs for NHK and commercial television in Japan, including “Fallujah, April 2004.” His many books (all in Japanese) include Palestine: Occupation and the People; The Jews of America; Palestine and the “Peace Agreement;” Palestinian Voices, Israeli Voices; and Breaking the Silence: Former Israeli Soldiers Discuss “Occupation.”
Breaking the Silence is Part 4 of the four-part feature documentary series “Unheard Voices: Palestinians, Israelis, and the Occupation.” The series has been edited from hundreds of hours of footage that Doi Toshikuni has shot in that region in the 17 years since 1993.
Part 1: Gaza
A family in the Jabalia refugee camp, the largest in the Gaza Strip, is followed over the course of 6 years to depict how and why the 1993 “Peace Accords” did not bring true peace to Palestinian residents.
Part 2: Encroachment
Homes are demolished and the residency rights of Palestinians in Jerusalem are usurped, while elsewhere the “separation wall” encroaches on land and resources, depriving Palestinians of the foundation for building an independent state.
Part 3: Shalom, Salaam
As Israelis and Palestinians initiate a dialogue, the gulf between their visions of peace is explored through the family of a young Palestinian terrorist, the parents of an Israeli girl killed in a suicide bombing, and a female soldier injured in an attack and her family.
The reality of the occupation is depicted in the first three parts of the series. The impact of that occupation on the occupiers—the youth and society of Israel—is the subject of this film, Breaking the Silence.