What drives a young Westerner to volunteer as a peace activist in the Middle East? Visit Palestine follows Caiomhe Butterly—a young woman from Dublin, Ireland; who is one of a growing number of volunteers who risk their own lives to intervene in the long-running and bloody conflict of the occupation of Palestine. In this film, Butterly describes witnessing the aftermath of the attack on Jenin in April 2002, as we travel though communities at risk and see personal stories of those affected. Despite being threatened, shot in the leg and deported later that year, Butterly is determined to go back.
In the interim, she brings her story back to her native Ireland at public meetings, receives a Time Magazine “European Hero Award”, and travels to post-war Iraq to visit the Palestinian refugee camps. She arrives back in Jenin, shortly before a young woman from that community, Hanadi Jaradat, blows herself up in a suicide bombing in Haifa.
Activists such as Butterly are usually stereotyped as lunatics, meddlers or saints. This film offers an insight into a brave, honest, determined yet self-critical woman who takes direct action to the limit, with no quest for glory. She also serves as a conduit into the everyday lives of Palestinians, who are also usually presented in a one-dimensional way as fighters or victims, heroes or fanatics. The film gives us a rare chance to see what she calls “the spaces of beauty and joy” created by a people under occupation.