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A new feature documentary by Göran Hugo Olsson on Israel Palestine


There is no other search entry that gives an equal amount of hits when searching the SVT archives as "Israel/Palestine". No other specific topic has been given a comparable amount of resources to be followed and reported on. Swedish director Göran Hugo Olsson have gotten unique access to a treasure and the 4th of October his new feature documentary Israel Palestine on Swedish TV 1958-1989 will premiere in Swedish cinemas.

SVT reporter Vanna Bäckman and Ghassan Kanafani, PFLP. Photo SVT 900x600
SVT reporter Vanna Bäckman and Ghassan Kanafani, PFLP. Photo SVT 900x600 SVT

By looking back in history, we are trying to understand one of the worst conflicts of our time. During the years 1958 to 1989 there was a public-service monopoly in Sweden, and the public broadcaster SVT’s reporting from Israel and Palestine was unique. Their reporters were constantly present in the war-affected region, documenting everything from everyday life to international crises.

This extensive footage treasure makes up the material for the archive film maestro Göran Hugo Olsson’s (The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975, Concerning Violence) new film, where footage of the rise of the Israeli state is interwoven with the Palestinian struggle for independence.

SVT follow Prime Minister Tage Erlander and his younger colleague Olof Palme on an official visit to Israel in 1963, a country they see as a social democratic ideal society. David Ben Gurion and Golda Meir receive them. The world-famous Israeli leaders show off their modest homes with impressive book collections. Strong ties are bound between Sweden and Israel, and to a large extent this is through the Swedish Social Democrats and the Israeli Labor Party. 

Especially Gold Meir enters the consciousness of the Swedes and becomes a role model. Tage Erlander shows himself off and swims in the Red Sea. Sweden will soon pay the Israelis back with large banquets at the Stockholm city hall and a visit to the Swedish king's summer residence. 

The children's programs also created ties between the two countries. And through television, a new concept was introduced to the Swedes: from now until the 80s and even later, tens of thousands of Swedish youths will go to Israel to work and live as volunteers on kibbutz. It's also a way to get out and experience the world. But it is also now, in the debate show Duellen, that – for the first time on Swedish television –the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who have become refugees since the creation of the state of Israel are being discussed.

Reportages with Yasser Arafat and interviews with Israeli foreign minister Abba Eban during a visit to Sweden are parts of an exclusive archive material that has not been shown since first broadcast. Combined, they tell the story of a changed media landscape and give us tools to understand a conflict that has affected our time like few others. Touching and heartbreakingly timely.

- People ask me if the project or I changed after October 7. But it hasn’t. I still dislike both Hamas and Netanyahu as much as I did a year ago, says Göran Hugo Olsson.

The film is a co-production between Story, SVT, Film i Väst, Tekele and Ström Pictures. Premiere fall 2024. 


SVT reporter Vanna Bäckman and Ghassan Kanafani, PFLP. Photo SVT 900x600
SVT reporter Vanna Bäckman and Ghassan Kanafani, PFLP. Photo SVT 900x600
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