Palestinian activists seek to derail major Jerusalem film

Fri Apr 19, 2013 1:25pm EDT
 
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By Crispian Balmer

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Palestinian activists tried to derail an ambitious European documentary shot in Jerusalem this week, complaining that the film would reinforce an image of Israeli sovereignty over the deeply divided city.

Producers of the Franco-German "24h Jerusalem", which sets out to depict a day-in-the-life of the troubled city, said on Friday that their plans had been badly disrupted by a last minute campaign of "intimidation and harassment".

"We very much regret what has happened, but we are still here and we will carry on shooting," said producer Thomas Kufus, hoping to recapture the success of his ground-breaking 2008 project - the day-long "24h Berlin" film.

One of the co-producers, Germany's Bayerischer Rundfunk, said their staff had faced an "onslaught of menacing calls" and threats to "inflict bodily harm", accusing Palestinian activists of trying to prevent Arabs from telling their stories.

With some 70 camera crews working across the city from 6.00 a.m. on Thursday to 6.00 a.m. on Friday, the project is one of the most ambitious documentaries ever shot in Jerusalem and had the blessing of the local Israeli authorities.

However, some Palestinian politicians and militants accused the filmmakers of failing to coordinate properly with their own authorities and said the film would present a united Jerusalem under full Israeli control.

Israelis seized East Jerusalem in the 1967 war, later annexing the land and pronouncing the city as their undivided capital in a move that has never been internationally endorsed.

Palestinians want to establish a capital of their own in East Jerusalem, including the Old City and its holy shrines.   Continued...