An Audio-Visual Archive as a Source of Evidence of Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Case Study of the Video Archive of B’Tselem (in the image of [God])

by Richard Bucket

Abstract: The Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories – B’Tselem (literally ‘in the image of’ in Hebrew) is an independent NGO founded in 1989 and based in Jerusalem. The name comes from Genesis 1:27: ‘And God created humans in his image. In the image of God did He create him’ and was given as a synonym for human dignity; it expresses the moral need to respect and protect the human rights of all people equally. The organisation’s mission is to document human rights abuses in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) in order to fight ‘the phenomenon of denial prevalent among the Israeli public’ and to improve Israeli policy in Palestinian Territories.

In 2005, B’Tselem established its video department and in 2007 launched its citizen journalism endeavour: Camera Project. Video footage and online presence quickly became central elements of the organisation’s efforts to pursue its mission. B’Tselem’s activities, alongside the video archive practice, prioritize goals that are achievable within the Israeli institutional framework, in which their effectiveness is often put to the test.
The video archive’s workflow, from acquisition of materials to their publicizing and distribution, will be discussed together with chosen illustrative cases.

Richard Bucket is an Independent Researcher.