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Ramallah scraps Lebanese film over Israel 'normalization'

Director Ziad Doueiri's new film "The Insult" opened to rave reviews at Venice Film Festival
Tiziana FABI (AFP)
Screening canceled after Palestinian activists call for boycott

A Palestinian city on Sunday cancelled the planned screening of a Lebanese film after activists called for a boycott over the director's "normalization" with Israel.

"The Insult", which deals with the Lebanese civil war, was scheduled to be screened Monday in Ramallah, in the West Bank, as part of the "Days of Cinema" festival.

But Ramallah's municipality decided on Sunday to cancel the showing at a city-run facility after pressure from Palestinian activists who accused French-Lebanese director Ziad Doueiri of promoting "normalization" with Israel.

Doueiri's 2012 film "The Attack", about an Israeli surgeon of Arab origin whose wife carries out a suicide attack, was partly filmed in Israel.

"The Attack" was banned in Lebanon and prompted authorities to detain Doueiri for questioning on his arrival in Lebanon last month.

Lebanon submitted "The Insult" as its official entry for the Oscars, in the foreign film category.

In Ramallah, activists had planned a protest against the screening and launched a social media campaign urging Palestinians to boycott it.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which campaigns for economic and cultural measures against Israel, had accused Doueiri of "defending normalization" with Israel and called for the screening to be cancelled.

Ramallah municipality director general Ahmad Abu Laban told AFP the screening was cancelled over "our responsibility to keep the peace".

He cited "safety concerns" and said the decision did not imply that the municipality was bowing to pressure from activists.



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