10 Heart-wrenching Middle Eastern Films that Shed Light on the Israeli–Palestinian Conflict

The Israeli–Palestinian conflict has raged for years, despite efforts by governments around the world to help in a variety of ways. Many Palestinians who are subjected to the harsh occupation have seen their lives changed as a result of this conflict. This occupation has been shown in the media, particularly in films. This is due to the fact that movies are a powerful medium of art that has the ability to influence cultures and provide new ideas and perspectives that have never been told before. As a result, a lot of films have captured our attention and depicted this conflict in various forms. Not to be fooled, the genuine tale lives on in our minds, and those films are simply windows into the various stories that Palestinians have lived during this malevolent occupation.

Here are 10 films that told eye-opening stories of Palestinians through the lenses of brilliant directors!


This film is both a thriller and a romance, and it chronicles the story of three childhood friends who become caught up in a seemingly endless war. They are divided between their wants for a home, a girlfriend, and a family and their commitment to Palestine’s independence. Their best characteristics will be exploited against them in this environment, and their love for one another puts them open to betrayal. As the occupation wears them down, they create a strategy and feel compelled to do something to help in the struggle.

Via: IMDb

The Present

“A devastating look at life in Palestine” is what some movie critics described this film as. The film depicts Palestinians’ daily challenges, even in the most wearisome ways, and how exhausting a basic task can become. Thus, Yusuf and his daughter set out to buy his wife an anniversary gift, which turns out to be a quest that needs some degree of patience and negotiating abilities when you’re in the West Bank.

Via: IMDb

When I Saw You

The problems of becoming a refugee and living in a camp in a distant nation are extensively depicted in this masterpiece. As the main character, Tarek is separated from his beloved father in the chaos of the occupation and conflict in Palestine. Consequently, Tarek becomes unhappy in the refugee camp and decides to run. He ends himself in a guerrilla training camp, where he is adopted and trained to be a future fighter.

It Must Be Heaven

In this film, the director and main character, Elia Suleiman, takes us on a journey from Palestine to Paris and finally to New York to consult with producers about getting his film produced. However, his main goal here is to satirize the tyranny, security, and policing that occurs all around the world. Also, how non-Palestinians in the rich west take their freedom of movement for granted and having such luxury. Additionally, the movie has an exceptional way of portraying how Western communities view Palestinians and the ongoing conflict with so little knowledge.

Via: tiff

Born In Gaza

This documentary shot immediately after the 2014 Gaza conflict, looks at how violence has changed the lives of ten Palestinian children. Specifically, this film examines the numerous repercussions of the Israel-Palestine conflict on Palestinian throughout different communities.

Via: IMDb

Paradise Now

Paradise Now is a film about two Palestinian childhood friends who are recruited for a strike on Tel Aviv, and the plot revolves around their final days together. When they are separated near the Israeli border, a young woman uncovers their plot, which prompts them to question their decisions. The film provides a voice to Palestinians’ criticism of the use of violence.

Salt of This Sea

Soraya, a Palestinian-American from Brooklyn, comes to the homeland of her family and is met with suspicion, interrogation, and an invasive search. Despite the fact that she has a U.S. passport, the chances appear to be stacked against her, given her Arabic last name, Lebanon-born parents, and claimed intention to stay with a friend in Ramallah. This film examines how Palestinians who have spent their entire lives abroad are astonished to discover the other side of their identities when they return to their homeland in awe.

Via: NPR

A Bottle in the Gaza Sea

A Jerusalem teenager and a Palestinian from Gaza connect via bottled letters thrown into the water in this fascinating story. The film attempts to instill hope that one day, Israeli and Palestinian minds would come together.

The Attack

As a renowned surgeon, Amin Jaafari accepts a significant career accomplishment award in “The Attack.” The film then escalates when a terrorist attack kills 17 people, culminating in the unexpected revelation that Amin’s wife was the terrorist responsible for the suicide bombing. This film explores how people are drawn into the many political sides without realizing a purpose. They are thrown into a political whirlpool that consequently ends in disaster.

Eyes of a Thief

The plot centers around Tarek, who gets released from an Israeli prison 10 years after committing various murders. Tarek goes to his hometown of Nablus to look for his wife and daughter. The film then incorporates flashbacks to shift between 2002, at the peak of the second intifada, and the present, in which the main character is shown the current state of Palestinian society and the changes that have occurred since his incarceration.

Via: IMDb

We hope that more people are aware of the ongoing conflict as a result of this form of art and that more films are made to capture the various stories of Palestinians, who are among the world’s strongest people, to be able to stand their ground and become heroes of their stories.

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