Encounter Point

Encounter Point takes a look at the growing grassroots peace movement among Israelis and Palestinians. Directors Ronit Avni, who is the founder and director of Just Vision, a non-profit organization devoted to encouraging grassroots peace organizations like those that are the focus of the film, and Julia Bacha, who co-wrote and edited Control Room, the acclaimed documentary about Al-Jazeera's coverage of the Iraq war, focus on several individuals who have responded to personal tragedies caused by the conflict by becoming activists for peace. The subjects include Ali Abu Awwad, a Palestinian who served several years in Israeli prisons for his participation as a teen in the first Intifada, and whose brother was killed by Israeli soldiers; Robi Damelin, whose son, an Israeli soldier, was killed by a Palestinian sniper; Sami Al Jundi, a Palestinian former militant who is now the supervisor of the Seeds of Peace center in Jerusalem; Tzvika Shahak, an Israeli whose teenage daughter was killed in a terrorist bombing in 1996; George Sa'adeh, a Palestinian whose own young daughter was killed by soldiers at a checkpoint when they mistakenly opened fire on his family's car; and Shlomo Zagman, a devoutly religious former settler who rejected his right-wing upbringing and left the territories in an effort to learn more about the conflict from the Palestinian side. The filmmakers profile these individuals and show them at work, trying to overcome the obstacles that the Israeli government, the media, and decades of ingrained antagonism have placed in their path.

Through the film the subjects are engaged in a process of empathic perspective-taking, learning to the step into the shoes of people who are their supposed ‘enemies’ and crossing the toxic ‘us’ versus ‘them’ divide.

Several of the individuals tracked in Encounter Point become members of the Parents Circle-Bereaved Families Forum, a grass-roots peace building organisation that works to create conversations and empathy between Israelis and Palestinians who have had family members killed in the conflict.

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Ronit Avni
Julia Bacha
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