Tags: Terror, Israel Under Fire, Land and Nature, Zionism, Soldiers and Defense, Living Israel, Advocacy, United Nations, Resources

ACTIVITY by Forest Rain Marcia

Do you see what is behind the smoke screen?

In this important film, Pierre Rehov goes behind the scenes of the Gaza riots to give us perspective about the “March of Return” the mainstream media is not sharing.

This movie was originally shared on social media in two parts. We bring to you here the complete film, along with questions to facilitate discussion about this important content.

Even if you have previously watched this, have you really SEEN it?

This activity was designed to:

--- hone critical thinking skills,
--- shine light on the discrepancies between media reporting and the larger picture
--- facilitate discussion on Gaza and the conflict with Israel

This activity is appropriate for teenagers (14+) and older, one on one or group settings.
This is not appropriate for young children.

Although this movie was made in response to the riots of 2018, unfortunately this content is timeless - it is relevant to previous events and sadly, is likely to be relevant to future events as well. Circumstances change but the tactics being used remain the same. It is up to us to be able to recognize what is happening. When we unveil what is hiding “behind the smokescreen” there is hope for change.


Ask yourself:

1) What do you know Gaza?

2) What do you know about the Gaza riots aka March of Return?
Why is the movie called Behind the Smokescreen? What is the smokescreen and what is happening behind it?

What message does the imagery you have seen regarding Gaza portray?

  • Do you believe you are seeing accurate reporting about Gaza?
  • Are you given a complete picture, with background, context and facts?
  • Or are reports emotion based, promoting a certain side? If so, which side or party is being upheld? Why?
  • Is the imagery you have seen journalism or propaganda? What is the difference between the two?

Before sitting down to watch this film, prepare writing materials and instruct viewers to write down points that stood out to them as worth noting or questioning during the viewing.


  • Review the pre-film discussion questions
  • Watch the entire film
  • Discuss points that stood out to viewers
  • Review the film again, stopping and starting them according to the timeline below and raise the questions detailed at each point
  • Conclude the activity per the final discussion questions

Option 2:
* This option is shorter and provides a less in-depth discussion. Its benefit is in giving you the opportunity to highlight the individual topics that are most relevant to the participants and spend less time in discussion.

  • Review the pre-film discussion questions
  • Watch the entire film
  • Discuss points that stood out to viewers. Choose the issues you wish to highlight from the timeline questions. If necessary you can repeat that specific part of the film.
  • Conclude the activity per the final discussion questions

Behind the smokescreeen ( Full movie ) from Pierre Rehov on Vimeo.


0:33 What do you know about the attack tunnels?
0:45 • When a leader stands in front of posters of Dr Martin Luther King Jr, Mahatma Ghandi and Nelson Mandela, declaring the intention to hold peaceful demonstrations what message are they sending?
• Who is the message for? Is it for their own people or is it perhaps intended for the international audience?
• When said leader is from Hamas, what does the message mean? What do they think of the viewers, the people they are presenting the message to?
1:38 We see people being bused to the demonstration.
• Who paid for the busses? With what money?
1:44 Did you notice the map of Israel on the front of the bus?
• What borders does the map indicate? Is it reflective of the desire for a two-state solution?
1:56 Hamas dubbed their demonstrations the “March of Return”
• Where do they want to return to?
• What will happen if they do manage to “return”?
2:16 We see people coming to the demonstration with their children.
• Would you bring your children to a demonstration on a border with a hostile army?
• Do you think the people who brought their children believed the demonstration would be peaceful? Why?
2:28 • What are we seeing here?? Have you ever seen anything like this before? Why not?
2:43 • The woman is putting masks on the mouths of the children. Why?
• If she knew that there would be fumes that are poisonous for the children to breathe, why did she bring them to the demonstration?
3:30 On the tent is a different map of Israel. Does this map indicate the desire for a two-state solution?
3:58 The children are told that one day “they will all return” and that “Jews stole many lands in 1948”.
• Do you think this lesson teaches the girls to search for a peaceful solution to live with their Jewish neighbors?
• Do the lessons Jewish kids receive sound like this?
4:20 We see a large crew of medics preparing before the demonstration.
• What are they preparing for?
• If the demonstration was intended to be peaceful why would so many medics need to be there?
4:45 Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar tells protestors: “We will take down the border with Israel and tear out their hearts from their bodies”
• Have you heard anywhere that this was the message given to protestors? If not, why not?
• If you were an Israeli and you learned that this was the message protestors were given, what would you think?
• If you were the IDF Chief of Staff or Prime Minister what instructions would you give the IDF?
4:54 Hamas co-founder Mahmoud al-Zahar explains: “We are saying that all the land is ours. Lieberman came from Russia and he can go back to Russia. Netanyahu came from America and he can go back to America because this is the land that our ancestors infused with their blood and we continue to sacrifice the blood of our children.”
• How many things can you find wrong with this statement? Jews came from Judea and Arabs came from Arabia. Where did Palestinians come from? When?
• Why did Lieberman come to Israel from Russia? Where was Netanyahu born?
• Why, instead of agreeing to any one of the many peace deals Israel attempted to make do Hamas continue to “sacrifice the blood of their children”? Do you think sacrificing the blood of children is something to be proud of?
“There is no such thing as East Jerusalem and West Jerusalem, there is only Jerusalem, our capital. We don’t accept Palestine in the borders of ‘48 or ’67. There is only one Palestine and it is all of Palestine”
• Are these the words of a leader who wants to make peace with Israel?
6:41 • What do you think about the burning of tires?
• Have you heard any ecologists protesting about this?
• Why are the protesters burning tires?
• Did you notice that while they were burning tires and trying to cut the fence, the many of the protesters were carrying brand new flags? Who was meant to see the flags?
9:43 • Why did no one remove the bullet proof vest from the injured reporter?
• Was he a reporter?
10:25 • Have you ever heard of “peaceful protestors” who beat and burned a donkey alive?
• If these people could do this to an animal, what do you think they would do to people they view as their enemy?
10:51 • When you see a Nazi flag in the middle of the Gaza protest, what do you think? What does it mean?
11:06 In the middle of the men preparing tires to burn is a man wearing a press vest.
• Do you think he was a reporter? If he is, do you think he will report objectively?
11:16 Note the sign the men are holding. It has the map of Israel covered in the colors of the Palestinian flag and the number 70 where the 0 is shaped like a key. Below are silhouettes of people walking with bags and packages.
• What does this imagery mean?
11:36 The Palestinian Ambassador to the UN condemns Israeli use of massive firepower against peaceful demonstrators.
• What does a peaceful demonstration look like?
• Are the Gaza demonstrations peaceful?
11:41 People surrounding Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh shouting “Khaybar, khaybar, oh Jews. The army of Muhammad has begun to return”.
• What does that mean? (Read about Khaybar here)
12:27 “I ask every Muslim not to stand idly by while those dirty Jews are corrupting the land”
• Which land does this man mean? Israel’s 67 borders? Or Israel’s 48 borders?
• Why do we never see statements like this in English, on English news sites?
• When he speaks about exterminating Jews, and “carry out glorious deeds against them” what do you think he means?
12:48 Do these people look like peaceful protestors?
13:32 “My blood, OUR blood is the price to pay to control all our land.”
• Is this the statement of a peaceful protestor?
• Why spill blood? Over and over Israelis have tried to negotiate peace….
13:34 The UN security council held a minute of silence for the Gazans killed on May 14th
• How do you think these countries would have responded had their borders been attacked in the same manner as Israel’s was?
• Have you ever heard of the UN dedicating a moment of silence to Israeli victims of Hamas terrorism?
13:54 Hamas instructions posted on their Facebook explicitly instructed protestors to bring a weapon, a knife, hide it under their clothes [breach the border and then], kidnap Israeli civilians and transfer them immediately to Hamas.
• What do you think about the difference between the messages being sent in English, in the media, by the Palestinian Ambassador to the UN and the messages to protestors in Arabic? How do you reconcile the discrepancy between the two?
14:57 We see the use of kites as firebombs as well thought out weapons against Israel. Enormous damage has been done to Israeli farmland, nature reserves and wildlife by these kites.
• How has this been covered on the news?
• Do you think this threat is being taken seriously? If not, why not?
16:25 We see multiple attempts and successes in breaching the fence, Gaza’s border with Israel.
• What do you think would have happened had IDF soldiers not stopped those who stormed the border?
16:52 • What do you think about what this Gazan told IDF about Hamas?
• “You are a woman, go forward, the army does not shoot women. They tell the children to go forward the IDF does not shoot at children.”
Hamas knows this and uses their own people as human shields to hide behind when attacking Israel. How come Hamas knows this and the rest of the world does not?
17:58 After these Gazans succeeded in breaching the border, they enter Israel and begin to shout, waving machetes: “Khaybar, oh Jews! Today we are coming to slaughter you!”
• What do you think would have happened had the IDF allowed these people to reach one of the Israeli communities (which are walking distance from the fence)?
19:46 Does this look like a civilian funeral to you?
20:40 The girl says: “The map shows our entire land from the river to the sea. We will get it”
• What impetus does this girl have to live peacefully, side by side, with her Jewish neighbors?


Considering everything we have seen in this movie; do you think Israel can live in peace with Hamas on her border?

The people of Israel have not given up hope for peace, even under fire – from missiles and firebombs. As long as Arab children are raised to believe, like the girl in the movie said: ““The map shows our entire land from the river to the sea. We will get it” do you think peace is possible? What do you think would be the right way to strive towards peace? Does peace come from meeting people with these beliefs “half way”?

Let’s consider the people of Gaza – does their leadership have the best interest of Gazans in mind or something else? Do the people around the world who condemn Israel have the best interest of Gazans in mind, or something else?

Why do you think on of the most popular cries in Israel, now and during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza 2014 was #FreeGazaFromHamas? What does this say about the Israeli people?

The most powerful thing you can say to someone in distress is: "You are not alone."

Send your thoughts in a letter or drawing. We are stronger, together.

➥ Back to TheBlog@IsraelForever ➥

Tags: Terror, Israel Under Fire, Land and Nature, Zionism, Soldiers and Defense, Living Israel, Advocacy, United Nations, Resources