No Other Land reviewNO OTHER LAND. Directors: Yuval Abraham, Basel Adra and Hamda Ballal.Writers: Yuval Abraham, Basel Adra, Hamda Ballal. Encounters documentary film festival.


Every inch of this piercing film is totally painful. I saw it two days ago and wasn’t sure I would ever find the words to say anything about it, but I must.

Presented as part of the Encounters Film Festival’s films that focus on Palestine, No Other Land is an unrelenting look at Masafer Yatta, a village on the West Bank of occupied Palestine, and the Israeli efforts to destroy, demolish, erase the people, houses, and lives of the villagers and then build settlements on the land. It is told through the relationship between Basel, a Palestinian living in Masafer Yatta, and Yuval, an Israeli journalist documenting the story.

Violence and horror

This film is brutal, poignant, emotionally draining. It was completed in October 2023. It does not even mention Gaza. But it is the perfect entry point into understanding (if that is possible) the savagery, the longevity, the planned evil of what the Israelis have intended to do: Wipe the Palestinians out and get them off their land; what little there is left of it.

To understand (it is impossible) what the villagers of Masefer Yatta endure and have endured, is to understand and tolerate brutal occupation, daily violence, murder, imprisonment, the abuse of women and children and the systematic manipulation of the law in order to get away with it.

The violence and horror of this film is unbearable. It is non-stop. It is all real and true.

The people who need to see this film won’t

There are two moments for me that I will never be able to erase from my mind. One is when the water well is filled with concrete. Concrete is poured into the well. By the IOF. By Israelis. By people. On purpose. The pipes are cut.

The other is when children are rushed out of the school building, and they watch as it is bulldozed. Can you imagine?

These are two moments that are not worse than the hundred others, the shooting that left a young man totally paralysed, the bulldozing of a chicken coop, the armed settlers who attack the village and the soldiers who stand by, but they made me sick because of what it said about the specific perpetrators. I saw these soldiers enjoying what they were doing. They want to hurt children. They want to watch while lives are destroyed. These are the monsters we are dealing with. There is no reasoning with them.

I know that the people who need to see this film won’t. This film tells the story of every single day of the occupation before October 7. This film lays it bare. This film reflects the brutal reality of what it means to be Palestinian. There is no hope.

Screening and ticket info: Encounters SA International Documentary Fil Festival