In 2007, B'Tselem’s Video Department launched its camera project, in which the organization distributes video cameras to Palestinians living in areas in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip where clashes are commonplace. The cameras enable them to present the reality of their lives to the Israeli and international public, thereby encouraging action to improve the situation. The project is unique in that it enables Palestinians themselves to document the infringement of their rights and to present their daily lives, their anger, pain, joy, and hope to Israelis who live so close and yet so far away from them.
The hundreds of volunteers film a reality that the Israeli public is usually unaware of. The video footage, together with the footage of security cameras set up at locations where violence is common, provides additional documentation. The unlawful shooting of a bound and blindfolded Palestinian demonstrator, daily harassment by settlers in Hebron, attacks on Palestinian farmers in the southern Hebron hills, and army incursions into Qalqiliya are just some of the events that have already been filmed and distributed thanks to the project. Footage taken by the volunteers is frequently broadcast by Israeli and international media, exposing to a large audience incidents that previously remained concealed.
B'Tselem uses the footage as a basis for its complaints to the army and the police following suspected breaches of the law by security forces. In some cases, the footage provides vital evidence in legal proceedings. In a few cases, broadcast of the footage has contributed to genuine policy changes.