Citizen Action Monitor

Controversial documentary gives a voice to seldom heard people in Palestine and Israel

John Pilger’s film Palestine is Still the Issue tries to discover why peace is so elusive.

No 1630 Posted by fw, March 30, 2016

“In 1977, the award-winning journalist and filmmaker, John Pilger, made a documentary called “Palestine Is Still The Issue.” He told how almost a million Palestinians had been forced off their land in 1948, and again in 1967. In this [2002 update]in-depth documentary, he has returned to the West Bank of the Jordan and Gaza, and to Israel, to ask why the Palestinians, whose right of return was affirmed by the United Nations more than half a century ago, are still caught in a terrible limbo — refugees in their own land, controlled by Israel in the longest military occupation in modern times.”Real Stories

Watch Pilger’s embedded video below. Following the video is an excerpt from the Wikipedia entry about the film, including, Synopsis, Reception, and Awards and festival screenings. And don’t miss the link at the bottom of the post to Pilger’s 2002 article in The Guardian in which he recounts the reaction triggered by the showing of his updated 2002 film on ITV in the UK.


Palestine is Still the Issue, Video 53 minutes, written and presented by John Pilger, published in 2002 by Carlton Television (Released on You Tube by Real Stories, November 21, 2015)

Palestine is Still the Issue, by Wikipedia

A 2002 Carlton Television documentary, written and presented by John Pilger, and directed by Tony Stark, inspired by the book Drinking The Sea at Gaza by Amira Haas. Pilger visits the Middle East and tries to discover why peace is elusive.


Pilger returns to the Occupied Territories of the West Bank and Gaza where he filmed a documentary with the same title in 1977. He believes the basic problems are unchanged: a desperate, destitute people whose homeland is illegally occupied by the world’s 19th largest military power. The majority of the film is dedicated to interviewing Israelis, some of them settlers or advisers for the government, some of them Israelis who are critical towards the politics of their government. However, the film also takes time to speak with many Palestinians and goes into depth as to explain to Western audiences why the Palestinians feel that they have to keep resisting the occupation of the “territories” and fight back against the blockade of the Gaza Strip.


The film was criticized by Michael Green, chairman of Carlton Communications, the company that made the film, as being inaccurate and biased. The next day, under the headline ‘Carlton rebukes own chairman for attacking documentary’, the Independent published a statement by Carlton’s Director of Factual Programmes, Richard Clemmow, and Executive Producer Polly Bide. “Carlton stands by John Pilger’s programme and its accuracy” it read. “The film went through the normal channels of editorial scrutiny prior to completion and senior executives at both Carlton and the ITV Network Centre approved its transmission. Michael Green’s opinion is his own. He had no involvement in the programme or its transmission. The film sought to give a voice to people in the Palestinian and Israeli communities who are seldom heard”

Awards and festival screenings


John Pilger: Why my film is under fire by John Pilger, The Guardian, September 23, 2002 — An unforeseen threat to freedom of speech in British broadcasting emerged last week. It was triggered by the showing of my documentary, Palestine is Still the Issue, on ITV. The film told a basic truth that is routinely relegated, even suppressed – that a historic injustice has been done to the Palestinian people, and until Israel’s illegal and brutal occupation ends, there will be no peace for anyone, Israelis included. To continue reading, click on the above linked title…

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