27 Jan 2011

Israeli filmmaker receives death threats over Gaza report

Exclusive: A filmmaker has received death threats after a report on Channel 4 News showed Israeli soldiers claiming they had been told to “cleanse” Gaza during the 2008-9 conflict.

Israeli soldiers during the 2009 conflict in Gaza (Reuters)

Nurit Kedar spoke to Israeli soldiers about their experiences during the Gaza conflict.

In a report aired by Channel 4 News on Wednesday one claimed he had been ordered to “cleanse” Palestinian neighbourhoods.

Another said: “I knew it would be hard to keep some morality and I didn’t succeed. I killed people and that was wrong.”

Speaking to Channel 4 News Nurit said she had received threatening messages via the internet and her mobile: “I have had phone calls saying ‘you should be hanged’ and calling me a traitor.

“People have sent me messages calling for me to be expelled from Israel, saying I am a traitor to my mother and father.”

Watch the report: The story of Israeli troops told to 'cleanse' Gaza

Nurit said she had no messages of support from Israelis for making the film.

“If you touch the army you pay for it.” Nurit Kedar

Asked if she had any regrets her response was emphatic: “Never, no, no,no. I have made some very hard films in the past.

“I do it because society should be changed once and for all.

“It’s like a friend said to me: ‘What do you expect’? If you touch the army you pay for it.'”

Nurit said she wasn’t scared of the threats against her: “I don’t know what to say, I’m used to it. I don’t take them seriously”

The soldiers’ reaction

Nurit said she had spoken to the soldiers about the film after it was made.

One of the men told her it was “hard to watch but OK”. Another said “he was a little scared”.

The soldiers have been asked to do media interviews in Israel but Nurit has advised them not to: “Why should they be attacked? I refuse to be interviewed in Israel because no one would broadcast my film,” she said.

Israel’s response

Responding to the allegations made in the film an Israeli embassy spokesperson told Channel 4 News: “Unlike much of the region, the open society within Israel allows for all allegations such as these to be aired and investigated.

“Israel has already authorised over 100 separate investigations into the operation, five broader investigations, and close to 50 criminal investigations are also taking place.

“All this in the context of having to respond to over 12,000 missiles raining on our citizens – such an operation could unfortunately never be flawless given these circumstances.

“Our judicial process is renowned across the world for its independence. This is a country after all, which holds even the very top of society to account, as has been proven in recent days. This is Israel in the 21st Century, a flourishing democracy, thriving amongst a desert of tyranny in the Middle East.”