<p>Through a clever mix of stop motion animation and interviews, <em>The Wanted 18</em> recreates an astonishing true story: the Israeli army's pursuit of 18 cows.</p>
Through a clever mix of stop motion animation and interviews, The Wanted 18 recreates an astonishing true story: the Israeli army's pursuit of 18 cows, whose independent milk production on a Palestinian collective farm was declared "a threat to the national security of the state of Israel." In response to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, a group of people from the town of Beit Sahour decide to buy 18 cows and produce their own milk as a co-operative. Their venture is so successful that the collective farm becomes a landmark, and the cows local celebrities—until the Israeli army takes note and declares that the farm is an illegal security threat. Consequently, the dairy is forced to go underground, the cows continuing to produce their "Intifada milk" with the Israeli army in relentless pursuit. Recreating the story of the "wanted 18" from the perspectives of the Beit Sahour activists, Israeli military officials, and the cows, Palestinian artist Amer Shomali and veteran Canadian director Paul Cowan create an enchanting, inspirational tribute to the ingenuity and power of grassroots activism.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been so violent that observers often forget the history of Palestinian non-violent protest against Israel's occupation policies. Human Rights Watch has researched numerous cases where Israeli forces, acting on military orders that make any Palestinian protest virtually illegal, have used excessive force to suppress peaceful demonstrations against unlawful confiscation of land for settlements, and jailed protest leaders and human rights defenders. In a context of widespread rights abuses, Palestinians have been squeezed from all sides: by the Israeli army, as well as by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas that have also suppressed their right to peaceful assembly and free expression.