Al Jazeera Close Up

Cycling Under Siege in Gaza | Close Up

Cycling Under Siege in Gaza is the story of a young Palestinian athlete who persevered through the trauma of losing his leg while facing the daily struggles of life under occupation. Alaa al-Dali, 23, lives in Gaza and was once one of the fastest Palestinian road cyclists.

Despite training up and down on that road every day for years, he was always refused permission to travel when selected to compete in international competitions.

The road where Alaa and his local team train is the longest of the besieged enclave. The 36km (22 miles) path is hemmed in by the Eretz wall in the north (Israeli border) and by Rafah crossing (Egypt border) in the south.

Alaa says he was shot while he was peacefully watching The Great March of Return protests close to the Israel-Gaza border fence when he was shot in his right leg by an Israeli sniper.

What followed was a journey of a young man trying to come to terms with a life-altering injury while keeping his lifelong ambition of representing Palestine on the world stage alive.

This documentary follows Alaa’s new struggle to be a para-cyclist under the crushing conditions of the Israeli blockade of Gaza and his determination to persevere and hope.


Filmmaker: Flavia Cappellini

Field Producer: Issam A Adwan

Second camera: Mohammed Abu Safia

Drone: Ain Media

Editor: Ala Alhussan, Flavia Cappellini

Producer: Ala Alhussan

Executive Producer: Andrew Phillips

Special thanks to the al-Dali and Adwan families, Said Temraz, the directeur sportif, and the athletes of the Gaza cycling team, Gaza Olympic Committee, the International Committee of the Red Cross, We Are Not Numbers, Gaza Freestyle Festival and the Italian center for cultural exchange – VIK (in memory of Vittorio Arrigoni).

To see more of their progress, visit The Gaza Paracycling Project.