Israel Palestine Conflict

Israeli co-director receives death threats after criticizing ‘Israel’s apartheid’

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Israeli co-director of the award-winning documentary “No Other Land” Yuval Abraham said he has been receiving “death threats” after he spoke against Israel’s “apartheid” in the occupied West Bank and called for a ceasefire in Gaza at the Berlinale International Film Festival.

The Palestinian-Israeli film which is directed by Abraham, Basel Adra, Hamdan Ballal, and Rachel Szor tells the story of Masafer Yatta, a group of villages in the West Bank that has witnessed demolition of homes and eviction of Palestinian residents by Israel.

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While receiving the award alongside Adra, a Palestinian, Abraham said that when they return home, they’d be returning “to a land where we are not equal.”

“I am living under a civilian law and Basel is under military law; we live thirty minutes from one another but I have voting rights and Basel [does not have] voting rights. I am free to move where I want in this land, and Basel, like millions of Palestinians, is locked in the occupied West Bank. This situation of apartheid between us, this inequality, it has to end,” he said.

Israeli media aired a segment from Abaraham’s speech labelling it “antisemitic,” Abraham said in a social media post.

“I’ve been receiving death threats since [making the speech],” he said on X, adding that he stands “behind every word.”

The documentary focuses on Palestinian activist Adra, who along with Abaraham, documented Israel’s demolition of houses in the West Bank’s Masafer Yatta.

The film festival had received several calls from artists and curators to issue an official statement calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, but Berlinale organizers rejected the requests.

The festival also saw anti-Israel protests, as some audience members reportedly held up “Free Gaza” signs at the opening gala. On February 18, a few dozen protestors unfurled a banner at the European Film Market that read “Lights, Camera, Genocide,” according to a report from The Times of Israel.

At the festival’s closing event, a number of artists spoke on the war in Gaza, denouncing it and calling for an immediate ceasefire.

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A group of Berlinale workers published an open letter on Instagram ahead of the festival, demanding a ceasefire in Gaza and asking the organizers to take a “stronger institutional stance.”

“An international platform such as the Berlinale and we, in our roles as programmers, consultants, moderators, facilitators, and space holders, alongside further Berlinale workers, can and should voice dissent at the current assault on Palestinian life. We join a global solidarity movement to demand an immediate ceasefire and call for the release of all hostages,” it said.

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