The Israeli army still administers a large part of the West Bank – the section called Area C. Conditions are particularly difficult in the area of the southern Hebron Hills where there are approximately 60 Palestinian families who live in tents and caves. It is shocking to see that in this day and age they have no running water and no electricity. All requests for building permits are denied by the Israeli army. The local school is many kilometers away. This is the area of Susiya, which includes a nearby Jewish settlement and an ancient historical site.
In the documentary film, The Human Turbine, skillfully directed by Danny Verete, we meet some of the people who live here: Nasser, 24 years old, wanted to become a vet. Instead, he takes care of the sheep. Another young man learns English literature at Al Quds but he can't study at night because there isn't any electricity in their tent. One young woman dreams of opening a bridal salon. An older woman is attacked and beaten by settlers and hospitalized in Beersheba.
With the help of a small number of Israeli Jews who decide that they want to help to make a difference, they put up a system of solar panels and turbines which will provide each family with light and enough electricity to run a television for an evening. There is no running water, so they clean out the junk from an old water cistern and put it to use again. The Israelis help them obtain a car and pay for gasoline so that they can drive their children to school every morning and they help them to establish a summer day camp.
This film is the beautiful story of the encounter between the Palestinians of this area with these Israelis. In addition to the help that is provided, they discover that the human encounter has been life-transforming for all involved.
The documentary film, The Human Turbine (2010, 54 minutes), is available from Ruth Diskin Films