Shooting Back: The Israeli Human Rights Group B'Tselem Gives Palestinians Video Cameras to Document Life Under Occupation.
B'Tselem has given Palestinian families across the West Bank video cameras to document how they are treated by Israeli soldiers and settlers. Some of the videos depicting abuse by settlers sparked a national debate earlier this year after they were broadcast on Israeli television. We speak with Oren Yakobovich who coordinates B'Tselem's video department. [includes rush transcript] AMY GOODMAN: We turn now to a second round of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, which was stymied on Monday after Israel refused to halt its settlement activity. At the US-sponsored peace conference in Annapolis last month, Israel agreed to end settlement expansion. But the Israeli Construction Ministry unveiled a proposal Sunday to build 740 new homes on occupied Palestinian land near East Jerusalem.
The Israeli human rights group B'Tselem has given Palestinian families across the West Bank video cameras to document how they're treated by Israeli soldiers and settlers. The project is called "Shooting Back." Some of the videos depicting abuse by settlers sparked a national debate in Israel earlier this year after they were broadcast on Israeli television.
Oren Yakobovich coordinates B'Tselem's video department. He recently traveled to the United States, joined me here in the firehouse studio. I began by asking him to explain the project, "Shooting Back."
OREN YAKOBOVICH: "Shooting Back," it's basically giving a Palestinian that's living in high-risk areas that's probably going to suffer from human rights violation by the Israeli army and by settlers—we give them cameras, so they can film their life, and basically we can see the violation when it's occurred.
AMY GOODMAN: How did you come to do this?
OREN YAKOBOVICH: Right. B'Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights, is documenting violation since '89, and the aim is to bring to the Israeli public and to the public in the world and decision makers violation. And the aim is, of course, to advocate for the end of violation. I wish I would not be here speaking about violation, but it's happening all the time.
So, for many years, what we did, we did reports. We're still doing them. And it's a long-term report. We're investigating the situation in the field. We had field researchers in every big city in the West Bank that—taking testimonies, written testimonies. And we did some films about the reports that we were taking out, but there was kind of frustration that I felt all the time, or we felt in B'Tselem, because we know from written testimony that a lot of things are happening, and we don't really manage to see them. It was becoming hard, harder, more and more during the years, to bring new information or new visuals to the media and to grab public attention. And we looked for a different point of view, a new point of view, and this is how we decided to start giving cameras to these people that live in these places.
AMY GOODMAN: Where do you get the cameras?
OREN YAKOBOVICH: Where we get them from?
AMY GOODMAN: You just—you buy them and then give them to—?
OREN YAKOBOVICH: Yeah, we buy them.
AMY GOODMAN: And so, do you have support of people in Israel?
OREN YAKOBOVICH: We have support of people in Israel, also in the world. B'Tselem is an NGO, and we—fund by contributions. So we take—we raise money, and we buy the cameras and give them.
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