“Budrus” is a 2010 documentary film directed by Julia Bacha. The film follows the reaction of the residents of the small Palestinian town of Budrus regarding the proposed construction of the Israeli West Bank Barrier. The town of Budrus found itself in a difficult situation when the Israeli government began to build the barrier in 2003 to guard against suicide-bomber incursions and any threats to Israeli national security and sovereignty. The economic livelihood of the residents in the town depended entirely on the cultivation of olives from the surrounding trees, which were uprooted by the Israeli military to clear the path for the wall. Additionally, the route of the wall was set in such a way that it cut off the communities near Budrus from each other and make the efforts of the residents to carry on with their normal lives all but impossible.
In response to the proposed building of the wall and its negative impact on his community, Palestinian community activist Ayed Morrar unites all Palestinian political factions, in addition to sympathetic Israeli citizens and international activists, to protest the building of the wall through non-violent action. The non-violent actions of the protesters are shown to come under strain when the Israeli military confronts the protesters in several occasions. Even though the protesters faced incredible odds, they ultimately succeed in convincing the Israeli government to abandon the route through the town of Budrus and instead move it back to the unsettled areas far away from the town. Morrar’s 15-year-old daughter Iltezam is one of the key contributors to the protester’s victory due to her creation of a women’s contingent that quickly moves to the frontline of the protests. Additionally, the actions of Morrar and Iltezam sparked an inspiring movement in within the Occupied Palestinian Territories that is still gaining strength and growing levels of support today.
The message of non-violent resistance is a key theme in “Budrus.” The idea of nonviolent action and protest is shown as being a force for positive change within a society characterized by increasing levels of violent extremism and radicalization. Additionally, the fact that Ayed Morrar put aside his personal feelings regarding Palestinian organizations such as Hamas and attitudes regarding Israelis and invited them into the protests shows that people of different backgrounds and political persuasions can often come together to work to achieve mutually beneficial goals. Moreover, the importance of women in fostering political change is illustrated in Budrus through Iltezam’s efforts in leading the protests against the Israeli border wall and empowering the women within her community to make a positive change. Overall, “Budrus” highlights the fact that grassroots political change and unity in the face of overwhelming odds is a useful tool to promote peaceful political change.