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Voices from Masafer Yatta: Unveiling the Struggle Through the Lens of ‘No Other Land

The documentary “No Other Land” about Palestinian hamlets won awards at the 74th Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale) last week, including Best Documentary and the Audience Award. This Palestinian-Israeli collaboration emerged as a significant work drawing attention to understanding the war in the Middle East.

The award ceremony and subsequent statements caused a great stir. Germany’s support for Israel was once again clearly articulated through politicians’ declarations. The documentary, a collaborative project that narrates the elimination of Palestinian villages, was jointly prepared by Palestinian director Basel Adra and Israeli journalist Yuval Abraham. The co-directors Adra and Abraham, who received significant applause at the award ceremony, made brief and effective calls to announce the tragedy occurring in Gaza.

Yuval Abraham, exhibiting an egalitarian stance, emphasized during his speech at the Berlinale stage that he would return to the lands where his Palestinian colleague faces systematic discrimination within days, insisting that “this apartheid, this inequality” must end. Adra mentioned that celebrating the documentary’s success was impossible “while people are being massacred in Gaza,” and called for Germany to stop arms sales to Israel. Abraham also highlighted that despite being only a 30-minute drive from his home to Adra’s, his friend was not allowed to vote, urging for a ceasefire and a “political solution to end the occupation.”

Basel Adra German Minister of Culture and Media Claudia Roth, although applauding the Israeli producer of the winning film, indicated that this applause did not extend to the Palestinian producer. Roth’s office clarified that the minister’s congratulations were a gesture of support for “Jewish-Israeli journalist and film producer Yuval Abraham,” discussing the importance of a political solution and peaceful coexistence in the region, showcasing how art is utilized in political contexts.

After the award ceremony, Abraham had to postpone his trip to Jerusalem due to receiving hundreds of death threats, wishing to return to his country. He criticized Germans for misusing the word “antisemitism,” thereby endangering Jews worldwide. He also noted that his Palestinian colleague faced even greater danger in Masafer Yatta.

Other controversies arose at the Berlinale. American filmmaker Ben Russell wore a keffiyeh while accepting his award, criticizing genocide and declaring solidarity for a ceasefire. Other award recipients wore messages on their backs calling for an immediate ceasefire.

GUILT AFTER THE HOLOCAUST

The occurrence of such events in a country claimed to be the locomotive of Europe’s liberal democracy and democracy raises questions. While support for Israel is generally widespread in Europe, countries like Belgium, France, Spain, and Ireland, considering their colonial experiences, harbor exceptional cases that question their own Zionist brutality. These countries assess their policies and actions towards Israel with a more critical perspective, particularly influenced by their colonial pasts and the impacts of these experiences.

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YUKSEL DURGUT
YUKSEL DURGUT
YÜKSEL DURGUT is a journalist with a primary focus on global politics and foreign affairs. He serves as the Foreign Relations Director of the International Journalists Association e.V. and holds the position of Editor-in-Chief at Journalist Post.
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