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Whose Land Is Israel/Palestine Anyway? This Bleakly Funny Cartoon Has Some Thoughts

Animator Nina Paley unveiled a new video this week called "This Land Is My Land," which breaks down the ancient dispute over who owns the areas currently known as Israel/Palestine. Warning: there will be cartoon blood.

A lot of people have a lot of feelings about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Not as many of those people, however, are aware of exactly how far back the dispute over that particular piece of land goes. A new animated video released this week details the conflict’s history, and all parties involved, with South Park-like gallows humor.

From the time the titles roll, it’s clear that animator Nina Paley (who directed the feature Sita Sings The Blues) is having a laugh with this subject; albeit a laugh of frustration. This Land Is My Land reduces a complex, multi-faceted issue down to a matter of who killed whom first. We start with a heavily-bearded olive-skinned dude who is meant to represent Early Man. He is not long for this world. After the erstwhile caveman is struck down by a Canaanite’s spear, that Canaanite is then done in by an Egyptian’s arrow. This goes on and on until we enter the time of tanks and terrorists and possibly worse.

Contrasting all the violence is the Pat Boone song "The Exodus Song (This Land Is Mine," coming via the golden pipes of the late Andy Williams (RIP). The lyrics are intentionally keyed in to the onscreen action at times, as when the line, "So take my hand," is immediately followed by a hand-amputation.

There’s a handy viewer’s guide on Paley’s blog, which is helpful, since sorting out who’s who seems like a task almost as daunting as trying to solve the current Israeli-Palistinian crisis amicably.