“…a powerful portrait of the Palestinians … a very important film."

– The Los Angeles Times

LETTER FROM PALESTINE

This half-hour television documentary is a first-person account of a filmmaker's visit to Jerusalem and the Israeli-occupied territories in May, 1988. Steve York worked alone with no other crew, using an inexpensive home video camera to keep a journal as he accompanied a group of Palestinian doctors and medical volunteers traveling in the West Bank to treat villagers whose access to medical care had been interrupted during the first Palestinian Intifada.

With his small camera, York was able to record scenes that would have eluded a larger crew and bulky conventional equipment. The result is an intimate personal view of Palestinian life under Israeli occupation in which the filmmaker becomes a participant in the story. York's commentary is sometimes subjective, including his personal reactions and feelings to what he sees.

Although the program does not include scenes of violence, the effects of the uprising are shown: a boy who lost an eye to a rubber bullet, young men with serious gunshot injuries, and the often-neglected effects of the military occupation such as stress-induced complications in pregnancy. In one scene, the medical team is blocked by an Army patrol in a remote village where no one has seen a doctor for 43 days. After negotiations, the Army agrees to let the doctors treat the villagers in an empty house; in five hours they examine and treat 189 patients.

Aired on PBS in 1989.