Israel has long been at the epicenter of photojournalism datelines. Today, even during a period of relative calm, the major Western wires—AP, Reuters, AFP, EPA—all have permanent bureaus in the country (population: 7.7 million) and the Palestinian territories. Add in newspapers and broadcast networks, not to mention news services from the Middle East, China, and Russia, and you have a media apparatus for images that rivals any other conflict on the planet.
In the absence of any sustained conflict, packs of photojournalists and freelance photographers have taken to covering the so-called “Friday demonstrations” staged weekly by Palestinians in East Jerusalem and the West Bank against settlements and the Israeli West Bank barrier. Each Friday, Israeli Defence Forces and border police routinely trade tear gas for stones with Palestinian youth, thereby presenting photographers with opportunities for dramatic images. Easily accessible by taxi and safer than an actual conflict zone, these demonstrations have become training grounds (some might say battling grounds) for young conflict photographers. Documentary filmmaker Andrew Lampard is preparing an hour-long film on the subject. This video piece, excerpted from the longer documentary, examines the issues that arise when “the pack” visits these demonstrations.