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Ramallah scraps screening of Lebanese film over director's visit to Israel

The Insult stars Kamal El-Basha (L), Adel Karam (2ndR) and Diamand Bou Abboud (R) [AFP]

Date of publication: 23 October, 2017

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The Palestinian city on Sunday cancelled a planned screening of the Lebanese film "The Insult" after activists called for a boycott over director Ziad Doueiri's promoting "normalisation" with Israel.
A planned screening of a Lebanese film in a Palestinian city was scrapped on Sunday after activists called for its boycott over the director's "normalisation" with Israel.

"The Insult", which deals with the Lebanese civil war, was scheduled to be screened on Monday in Ramallah, in the Israeli-occupied 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 "normalisation" 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 and used some Israeli actors.

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

In Ramallah, activists had planned a protest against screening Doueiri's latest production 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 normalisation" 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.

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

The film, starring Adel Karam, Rita Hayek, Camille Salameh, Diamand Bou Abboud and award-winning Palestinian actor Kamal el-Basha, was also screened in the main competition section of the 74th Venice Film Festival.

It is set during the Lebanese civil war and speaks of a confrontation between a Lebanese Christian and a Palestinian labourer that leads to violence, a court case and national attention.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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