Weekend Warm-Up: ‘Resistance Climbing’ in Palestine

Here on day 48 of the Israel-Hamas war, it’s as hard as ever to visualize peace. And as the tragic circumstances drag on in Gaza, certain elements of the recent past in the area take on a different light.

One of those is Resistance Climbing, Andrew Bisharat’s documentary about the state of the sport in his ancestral homeland.

Tensions run very high in the film (full version available via Reel Rock). The subjects are highly capable at judging their proximity to gunfire, and invasive shakedowns occur during the footage.

Comparing the threat Bisharat’s subjects faced in early 2023 to the shocking violence of the current situation is sobering. The world of Resistance Climbing explores a thin veneer of social tolerance that’s just enough to maintain a fragile balance. Yet the ongoing turmoil had not caused death on the scale of this year’s war for decades.

The veil has been ripped away.

Palestinian athlete and refugee camp resident Faris Abu Gosh is named after a young boy who became a martyr when he died from gunfire in 2000, famously fighting Israeli tanks by throwing rocks at them.

“I can’t always be fighting,” Abu Gosh says in Resistance Climbing. “I want to live as well. I want to climb and dance.”

A full review of Resistance Climbing, published months before the Israel-Hamas war of 2023, is available on GearJunkie.

Sam Anderson

Sam Anderson takes any writing assignments he can talk his way into while intermittently traveling the American West and Mexico in search of margaritas — er, adventure. He parlayed a decade of roving trade work into a life of fair-weather rock climbing and truck dwelling before (to his parents’ evident relief) finding a way to put his BA in English to use. Sam loves animals, sleeping outdoors, campfire refreshments and a good story.