The Heart of Jenin

Posted on July 27, 2009


‘Do you think the Israelis liked what I did? Some would have preferred it if I’d blown myself up’

The remarkable story of Ismail Khatib, a Palestinian father from the West Bank city of Jenin, continues. After his son Ahmed was shot by israeli soldiers in November 2005, the Khatib’s courageously donated their beloved 12 year-old’s organs to a number of recipients in israel, to both Arabs and Jews.

The story is the subject of the documentary film released last year, The Heart of Jenin, in which two directors, German Marcus Vetter and Israeli-American Leon Geller, accompanied Ismail for two years as he paid visits to the children who received his son’s organs.

Ahmed’s kidneys, liver, lungs and heart were transplanted to recipients ranging from a seven-month-old baby to a 58-year-old woman. Those who received organs included Arabs, Jews, and a Druze girl.

Despite having themselves suffered considerably under israeli occupation and despite the heart-wrenching circumstances in which 12 year old Ahmed died, his father also consents to one of his organs going to help a child from an illegal settler family, whose awful responses in the documentary are in stark contrast with Khatib’s dignity and humanity.

The Deutsche Welle ARTS.21 program speaks with the filmmakers and Ismail Khatib (opening clip above), followed here by a Radio Netherlands audio interview and the film’s trailer.

Heart of Jenin Excerpt (<3 minutes)