In New Video, Filmmaker Reveals Palestinian Freedom of Movement Not Hindered by Israeli Checkpoints
A New York-based documentary filmmaker known for his controversial videos-gone-viral told The Algemeiner on Wednesday that he was surprised by what his newly released clip — “Palestinian Road Trip!” — revealed: that accusations against Israel about the “hours” it takes West Bank Arabs to travel from place to place as a result of Israeli roadblocks are highly exaggerated, if not outright false.
Ami Horowitz, producer of dozens of films — including: “U.N. Me,” “Hamas Is Fantastic,” “Berkeley Students React to ISIS Flag” and “Stockholm Syndrome” — said that the purpose of his latest project was to look into the both “disturbing and plausible” claims that residents of the Palestinian Authority are severely inconvenienced and humiliated by long waits at Israeli checkpoints.
“I’m Jewish and my mother is Israeli, but if we are systematically treating other people unfairly, I consider it my duty to expose that,” he said.
While acknowledging that he usually has a theory about a particular phenomenon at the outset of a project — and that his hypotheses often prove correct — “In this case, I genuinely wasn’t sure what to expect.”
Horowitz said, “I had been hearing the narrative about this particular aspect of Palestinian hardship — one I actually believed and accepted — and I wanted to investigate it.”
In order to receive the most accurate picture, he said, he hired a Palestinian driver and car with PA license plates.
In addition, he explained, he purposely selected a “normal time” — a period of relative quiet — “because it was important to find out about life for the Palestinians when there is no heightened terror alert or war going on.”
That period was after Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza in the summer of 2014, and before the start of the “lone-wolf intifada,” which began in September 2015.
Horowitz recounted driving “hundreds of miles, crisscrossing the West Bank back and forth several times,” and encountering no difficulty. He also conducted many interviews with Palestinians, all of whom said that it takes them 10 minutes at most to wait in line ahead of a checkpoint, barring traffic, and maybe a minute for the soldiers there to check his papers and let him proceed. This, he noted, is after hearing reports of “hours spent at Israeli checkpoints.”
Horowitz said that though not each interviewee made it into the short film, those who did were sufficiently representative. “Not a single Palestinian I spoke to said anything different from those you see on camera,” he said.
Asked how one can trust findings of any heavily edited video, Horowitz said he would not jeopardize his professional credibility by cutting a clip disingenuously.
“I’ve been doing this for years, and am well aware of the responsibility on my shoulders,” he said. “Furthermore, it’s very rare for somebody with my profile to skew material without getting caught. So far, nobody has proven that I have been unscrupulous.”
Horowitz said that the current five-minute clip is part of a full-length video in which he makes a point that he claimed most people do not consider.
“While there are a handful of checkpoints in the West Bank, a person in, say, Qalqilya, is not subject to them unless he travels to a different area or into Israel,” he said. “Israelis, on the other hand, are stopped at checkpoints multiple times a day — at the entrance to every supermarket, café, shopping mall, movie, etc. And when there are terror waves or alerts, it takes them longer to get through these inspections, too.”
In his speech on Mideast peace on December 28, US Secretary of State John Kerry said he had passed by “military checkpoints [in the West Bank] that can make even the most routine daily trips to work or school an ordeal.”
Watch “Palestinian Road Trip!” below: