Naila and the Uprising

Julia Bacha

The story of the first Palestinian intifada, and the key role women played in it. Central to the story is activist and feminist Naila Ayesh, who was imprisoned twice for her resistance to the Israeli rule of the occupied Palestinian territories. The women’s struggle to be free from occupation paralleled their fight against male domination.

The first Palestinian intifada, which began in December 1987, was a spontaneous popular uprising against the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. It focused the attention of the world on the plight of the Palestinians in the occupied territories, and eventually led to hopeful US-led peace negotiations in the early 1990’s. As many Palestinian men were arrested or forced into exile, women stepped up to take leadership positions in the non-violent struggle.

During the intifada, Naila Ayesh becomes one of the leading figures in an underground women’s network which leads the resistance and – for all intents and purposes – keeps Palestinian society running. While her husband Jamal is forced into exile, she stays behind with their infant son. She is imprisoned twice, but never gives up hope. A gripping recount of this important piece of Middle Eastern history, with archive footage and interviews integrated with animated scenes.

Naila and the Uprising has been selected for the Activist competition.


Julia Bacha
Country of production
Palestine, United States
76 minutes
Spoken language
Arabic, English, Hebrew
Production company
Just Vision Film