Many battles have been fought over Megiddo, but this has to be the strangest of all.
Megiddo, a three-part TV documentary which follows the tense reality of the lives of Palestinian inmates in the Megiddo security prison, has outraged Culture Minister Miri Regev, who has demanded information on the approval process for its funding, the first step in getting government control of critical films.
Megiddo depicts the daily lives of some 1,000 Hamas, Fatah and Palestinian Liberation Front (PLF) members at Megiddo security prison. The right wing organization, Im Tizru wrote a letter, published in the media, which falsely used the good name of the Parents Circle, an organization of bereaved Palestinian and Israeli families, who have spent the past 20 years working for reconciliation to criticize the documentary. Every word in the letter was against everything for which we stand. In the letter, Im Tirzu claims that the Parents Circle was angry and hurt that the media would showcase the prisoners and their lives.
Having watched the series, unlike its fervent critics, we could not help but feel some empathy for the prisoners; in some cases they have been in jail for more than 30 years. ּBut even more than that, we realize that one day they will be released and that it would be infinitely better for them come out of jail with less hatred than when they were incarcerated. We watched the children and wives who visited and once again realized their humanity. No matter how you experience this series, brilliantly directed by Itzik Lerner, you will have a much better understanding of what it is like to live in prison and how the confines of small cells with no privacy must destroy any vestige of dignity. We also realized that some of the 300 jailers understood that a dialogue should be established and were willing to listen to the leaders of the three factions. It is an honest and clear portrayal of their daily interactions.
We, the families of the dead, who have suffered most, understand that in order for there to be a lasting peace we will have to give up on revenge. Northern Ireland is a perfect example of the critical role which the prisoners from both sides of the conflict played in the Good Friday Peace Agreement. Prisoners are as much a bargaining chip in negotiations as any piece of land in the occupied territories. One might also learn from Nelson Mandela who was in jail for more than 27 years and yet was able to come out and save South Africa from a blood-bath.
In order to end this conflict, the sooner we all understand that the prisoners are an important part of the peace equation and will have to be released, the better, and no amount of revenge will bring our loved ones back.
This story "Megiddo Documentary in Israel Palestine" was written by Robi Damelin.