do have the commitment from your character to be filmed (or, as you
say, be the "frame" around which you build the rest of the story).
You'd feel really awful if you committed all this time, energy,
money, and work if your character doesn't sign off on being filmed.
Others here can offer far more cogent advice on many of your
technical issues. I'd be inclined to say trade in your 1-chip camera
for an upgrade to a 3-chip (it might even be cheaper for you to pay
the airfare, living, and food expenses of a hungry DP with his/her
own camera who'd love a chance to shoot gratis in Israel/Palestine
for a worthwhile project). Even if you end up shooting camera
yourself, the best investment you could make is for a soundperson --
hired locally. You will definitely need a local fixer/interpreter in
any case so you may want to start there. Queries here, ads in
Documentary magazine, or on Mandy or Shooting People websites would
be a good start.