The 1984 documentary Gaza Ghetto portrays life for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip under Israeli occupation. Filmed before the rise of Hamas and the First Intifada uprising, it shows the squalid refugee camps, military repression and civil resistance of Gazans. Scenes document economic despair and dignified protests amidst chronic shortages and harsh crackdowns.
With its stark images of miserable conditions and nonviolent resistance, Gaza Ghetto foreshadowed the continuing plight of Gazans. Gaza has been under an Israeli blockade since 2007, described by the UN as “collective punishment”. Its 2.3 million residents suffer restricted access to electricity, water, medical care and other essentials. Nearly 80 per cent depend on humanitarian aid.
Recent Israeli bombing campaigns have killed thousands in Gaza, including many children. Gaza Ghetto‘s depiction of Israeli attacks on Palestinian civilians and their perseverance resonates strongly given current events. The film puts a human face on Gaza, countering the dehumanisation used to justify collective punishment. It remains powerfully relevant as a testament to decades of oppression and courageous struggle.