|Sherine Tadros in The War Around Us.|
By Ed Rampell
One of the hardest hitting documentaries I’ve seen in years, Abdallah Omeish’s The War Around Us deserves not only distribution so audiences can see it, but also an Oscar nomination.
The War Around Us is the true story of the only two international journalists reporting from the war zone, as Israel bombarded and invaded Gaza in late 2008. Al Jazeera’s Cairo-born, Arab-American Ayman Mohyeldin and Arab-British Sherine Tadros were on the ground in Gaza City during the Israeli military operation that resulted, according to this gripping documentary, in the highest number of Palestinians killed in a single day since 1948.
The dynamic duo of Mohyeldin and Tadros does yeoman work reporting on the war’s consequences on a largely civilian population for the Arab network, and provide a window on the conflict to the outside world. The doc alleges that the Israeli Defense Forces committed war crimes against noncombatants, including unarmed women, children and elders, including the use of white phosphorus, which an Israeli spokesman denies, although eyewitnesses, including human rights activists, confirm it. During the conflagration, as hospitals are filled beyond the bursting point and basics such as electricity, water and even cheeseburgers, are cut off, a U.N. compound is bombarded by the IDF.
The War Around Us is a gripping reminder that war is hell, and of a specific conflict most of us have forgotten about. Of course, the poor Palestinians remember it, but this doc would have benefitted from providing more context as to why the Israelis did what they did, and the roles that the change in U.S. administrations (from the Bush to the Obama regime) and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s alleged corruption played in this devastation -- so heroically chronicled by Mohyeldin and Tadros.