Thursday, August 31, 2006

Anti-Wall demonstration at Bil'in, West Bank

These photos were taken at Bil'in a village in the West bank where the current 'security wall' is being built. Every Friday a deomonstration is organised that marches to the edge of the village to show the opposition to the building of the wall. More often than not these demonstrations are completely peaceful. On this particular day the deomstration was peacful but for some unknown reason the border police reacted violently which led to a number of people being wounded with rubber bullets, inlcuding the man in the picture who later slipped into a coma (He was hit three times in the head and neck area. It should aslo be noted that he was an Israeli from Tel Aviv demonstrating against the wall). The use of rubber bullets seemed to me heavy handed. And watching the video from the incident found at this link I still think that to be the case. But you should watch it yourselves and make up your own mind. The photos from the day weren't great mainly because I was worried about taking a round in the face or head, hencing me working behind the soldiers! The photographs are published in the order they happened so you can see that the soldiers fired on the protesters with rubber bullets and stun grenades before closing in to confront them.

Katyusha damage in Kyrat Shmona

These are two shots of thae aftermath of Katyusha rounds. The bottom photo was the rear inside end of a van that had been completely devastated in the blast, and you can see in the pavement where the katyusha landed. The top picture was of a crater just outside a family home. We actually took shelter in the bunker you can see in the right of the photo, and the family from the house were still there , living in their bunker rather than their house. You can see why that was a sensible idea.

Of Love and War...

These two pictures may need an explanation. These was shot by the photographer Dexter Troy and were taken during a katyusha attack on Kyrat Shmona, Northern Israel. The guy on the far right was an American journalist and Vietnam Vet, and he didn't like taking crap from anyone. The woman in the middle is unkown...what is known is that she wasn't to happy about something and tried to take it out on the journalist with her 'claw hand'. The chump on the left trying to look like he's not actually there and wishing that the earth would swallow him (whilst withdrawing cash from an ATM) is me. Notice the way the birdie is followed by a reaction from the 'claw'.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Shooting in a bunker

I took these photos of soldiers sheltering during an katyusha raid on the Israeli/Lebanon border. I'd jumped into the bunker to take cover myself and found 5 reservist soldiers who seemed pretty suprised to find this youngish looking english kid join them. They were in pretty good spirits, offering me food and drink, although they generally had little wish to be involved in the war. The soldier photographed at the top was a teacher with a family of his own to think about, and most of them had been in Lebanon during the war in the 1980's. They seemed a little less enthusiastic about the whole thing than their younger colleagues in the IDF.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Air raid in Kyrat Shmona

This was from a series of shots I took whilst running for cover in Kyrat Shmona. On that day they had about 200 or so Katyushas (which are the nasty russian made missiles full of ball bearings) rain down on a town smaller than Wimborne (i.e not too big!). On the same a Katyusha landed in a Kibbutz just up the road killing ten reservist soldiers who were sunbathing. As you can imagine its kind of nice to be back in the relative safety of Tel Aviv.

IDF troops going over the border

These are shots I took last week of preperations for cross border operations. Found out today though that Israel is probably about to launch an even bigger operation into Lebanon which is kind of frustrating because i've headed back to Tel Aviv!

Friday, August 04, 2006

To the war and back

Well its been a manic week to say the least. After arriving in Israel we shot up to Metulla and back in one evening. Metulla is the northern-most Israeli town before Lebanon and the experience was pretty interesting. After this brief glimpse of the current war we were back to Jerusalem for a few days of research and prep work. Next stop was Haifa and the day we arrived we experienced our first air raid and a silent frightened city. But no sooner than we had arrived a ceasefire of sorts had begun. Teaming up with another photographer and an American journalist we decided to head up to where the action was, taking us back to Kiryat Shemona and Metulla in the North. Kiryat Shemona was taking heavy hits with the record being 200 katyushas landing in one day. With a bit of luck and a bit of blagging we made it up to the front and were able to shoot the troops moving into Lebanon and the artillery and mortar support that they were getting. Apart from a couple of hairy moments with incoming bombardments all went really well. Hopefully the images will be up in the next few weeks. For the time being I'm back in Tel Aviv-but who knows for how long.
I'm no wordsmith and I wish I had more time to right this in more detail-so many funny stories to tell but for the time being to check out what else has been going on see:
Hope everyone is well and thanks for your messages of encouragement!