Published under docs, equitable, politics, travel, on Saturday 18, 2004

CTV documentary, trailer coming soon

The Holy Land. Lynch pin for a planet forever on the brink of total war, strategic key to the vast oil fields that determine world power. Home to two peoples split by misunderstanding, kept apart by 450 miles of concrete and electrified razor wire.

In THE FENCE, Alexandre Trudeau immerses himself in the lives of regular people on both sides of the “security fence” that separates Israel from the West Bank.

First, he spends months working on a family farm in the fecund Yisreel Valley – the land “Planted by God,” where Israelis live their dream in a modern land carved out of the desert. For them, the fence provides relief from the random and destructive terror of the four-year Intifada. And life is good. Businesses that might have been bombed now boom. Children play without fear.

But on the other side, the West Bank city of Jenin is a cauldron brewing monsters for the Intifada.  Monsters to Israelis, freedom fighters for many Palestinians, who see their fenced-in land as a political prison.

Trudeau heads for Jenin, checkpoints turning a short trek into a treacherous all-day journey. Stores that once served Arab and Jew lay empty, boarded windows now postered shrines to fallen “martyrs.” While the old reminisce about better times, the young hustle to make ends meet. At the Arab-American University to the south, students debate the ethics of suicide bombings: “our freedom might cost us our lives.”

On both sides of the fence, opposites want the same things – safety, prosperity, to watch their children play. But as long as darkness grows on one side, a bright future will be denied the other. As the war in Lebanon and the growing Iranian nuclear threat prove, there’s no barrier high enough to guarantee Israel security. Only lasting peace and justice can end the nightmare.

THE FENCE premiered primetime Saturday, September 18th 2004 on CTV’s W-Five, Canada’s longest-running and most-watched news program. Booker served as a research consultant and consulting producer as part of JuJu Films.

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