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Chronique d'un siège - Ramallah, avril 2002
© The Factory Productions / L'Yeux ouverts

Samir Abdallah


France 3, France 2, The Factory Productions, L' Yeux ouverts, The Discovery Channel (Europe)


M5 distribution, La Maison du doc

ISAN : non renseigné - en savoir plus

Le 31 mars 2002, le cinéaste Samir Addallah a rejoint le QG de Yasser Arafat assiégé par l'armée israélienne. Il est entré à la Moqata avec une mission civile pour la protection du peuple palestinien et pensait, comme la plupart de ses compagnons, n'y faire qu'un court séjour de quelques heures. Mais il y est resté plus d'un mois, jusqu'à la levée du siège, partageant avec la garde rapprochée du président de l'Autorité Nationale Palestinienne, 200 de ses fidèles et les membres de la mission civile, des conditions de vie précaires, le manque de nourriture, d'électricité, la tension des explosions, des intimidations d'un face à face militaire et psychologique inégal.

The filmmaker Samir Abdallah was received by Yasser Arafat in the Moquata’a, Arafat’s HQ, held under siege by the Israeli Army. He went into the Moquata’a on a Palestinian civilian aid mission. Like most of his colleagues, he expected the assignment to take no more than a few hours, but he was to stay there for over a month, until the siege was lifted. He shared with Yasser Arafat’s closest bodyguards, Palestinian fighters and members of the civilian mission, very difficult living conditions, food and electricity shortages, the tension caused by bombings and the intimidation of an eye-ball to eye-ball, military and psychological, confrontation.
The filmmaker, being the only one on the scene, is able to provide us with an exclusive eyewitness account. Thanks to him, its possible to understand clearly, and in concrete terms, the war of nerves between the two sides in this part of the world. In this "Chronicle of a siege", we look at the everyday life of the besieged and the reactions of Yasser Arafat and his entourage to the situation.
We follow the international negotiations, the arrival of a European delegation or that of the more influential American Colin Powell. The trial of PFLP commandos accused of killing the Israeli minister of tourism was also held at this time inside the Moquata’a. However “Arafat under Siege” regularly escapes from behind the closed doors. The besieged church of the Nativity at Bethlehem, the military operation led against Jenine by the Israelis, the situation at Naplouse – these news events have great impact on those inside the besieged HQ, and they enable the film-maker to establish a link between the inside and the outside world.
And so, the siege of the Moquata’a, which is the central pillar of Samir Abdalha’s film, acts as a metaphor for the Middle-East situation. With tension between Israel and Palestine at its maximum is Yasser Arafat’s political leadership entering its final phase ? "Arafat under siege" will be, without doubt, its final testimony.