An extraordinary series of short videos were launched onto the web last week revealing, side by side, glimpses into the life of Israelis and Palestinians living within twenty miles of one another. The series, Gaza: Sderot: Life In Spite of Everything features new films daily from the Palestinian territory of Gaza and the Israeli town of Sderot, just over the border. Each two-minute film in the series (in Hebrew and Arabic, with English subtitles) features profiles of residents who, despite being the target of bombings and rocket attacks, “never stop working, loving and dreaming,” in the words of the filmmakers.

The show originated with ARTE television in France, and was produced in cooperation with Israeli and Palestinian filmmakers. The website encourages virtual interaction between Israelis and Palestinians as well as the general public. On October 25, the series was awarded the Prix Europa for Emerging Media.

The point of the series is to offer a glimpse to non-Middle Easterners of how the routine elements of life continue, even amidst the heavy stresses of conflict. But the audience is also those in the region: “We wanted to offer a chance for reflection and engagement between those who are the ‘other’ to each other,” one of the producers, Alex Szalat, commented to the French website “We evoke a difficult situation, but also the reality of Israelis and Palestinians who never rub shoulders but who live almost side by side.”

A recent video from Gaza:

And one from Sderot:

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Mark Schapiro specializes in international and environmental stories. His award-winning work appears in all media: in publications such as Harpers, The Atlantic, Mother Jones and Yale 360; on television, including PBS FRONTLINE/World and KQED; on public radio including Marketplace; and on the web. He is currently writing a book for Wiley & Co. investigating the backstory to our carbon footprints. His previous book, "EXPOSED: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What’s at Stake for American Power," reveals the health and economic implications of the tightening of environmental standards by the European Union.