Synopsis by Mark Deming
In June 2007, Israel declared the Gaza Strip enemy territory and as their military laid siege to the area, most journalists and aid workers were banned from Gaza. One of the few international aid groups allowed into the Gaza Strip during the siege has been the International Solidarity Movement, and filmmaker Alberto Arce joined an ISM team as they arrived in Gaza on December 25, 2008 to document their work. Two days later, the Israeli military launched Operation Cast Lead, an aggressive offensive against the Palestinians in Gaza, and Arce was one of only three reporters on hand to witness the fighting. To Shoot An Elephant is a documentary which follows the ISM volunteers as they try to care for the Palestinians wounded in the wake of battle and discover that Israeli soldiers do not consider them neutral parties and fire on them in violation of the Geneva Convention. Arce also profiles the Palestinians he meets in Gaza and offers a troubling look at the consequences of Israel's presence in Gaza. Named for a story by George Orwell on India during British rule, To Shoot An Elephant was an official selection at the 2009 Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival.