Right of Entry to OPT for people in film industry sign now

Zippi Livni, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Fax 02 530 3367

Meir Sheetrit, Minister of the Interior
Fax 02 670 1628

Yuli Tamir, Minister of Education, Culture, and Sports
Fax 02 560 2223

Copies to the Ambassadors of the countries of which the persons below are citizens:
The Honorable
Jean Michel Casa, Ambassador of France
Sandro De Bernardin, Ambassador of Italy
Richard H. Jones, Ambassador of the United States

Israeli Committee for Right of Residency
הועד הישראלי לזכות תושבות

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Although Israel maintains control over entry to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, no precise criteria inform an individual of who may be allowed to enter, who not.

Thus the decision of whether to admit or deny entry appears often to be arbitrary. For example, one recent reason given for denying a film maker entry was you spend too much time here (Annemarie Jacir, no. 3, below). Yet no guidelines are available to indicate what too much time means in actual hours, weeks, months, years.

Among those who have been refused entry for no apparent reason are 3 individuals in the film industry.

None of the individuals understands why she has been denied entry. All three had legitimate plans to begin or complete film projects with Palestinians or to meet with Palestinians in the film industry. The work of these three women is strictly cultural. One of the three also has an aged ailing mother in the West Bank (Norma, below), which is decidedly a humanitarian concern that should work in favor of her being allowed to enter.

All have continued their efforts to enter the Occupied Palestinian Territory to no avail.

If Israel is sincere in a Palestinian state emerging, then Israel should encourage business ventures and also cultural projects as the ones these women are engaged in.

We, members of ICRR, and others undersigned below, request the Israeli government immediately to review each of these three cases, to allow these persons immediate entry, and to cease indiscriminately barring persons having legitimate reasons from entering the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

The stories of each of the three women

1. Norma Marcos Howard

Sent: Wednesday, February 20, 2008 9:34 AM
I am a French citizen of Palestinian origins and have been since 1989 coming back through Ben Gurion airport with no problem.

1. Norma Marcos Howard

Sent: Wednesday, February 20, 2008 9:34 AM
I am a French citizen of Palestinian origins and have been coming through Ben Gurion airport since 1989 with no problems.

In 2005 the Israeli Authorities decided that I cannot do so any more. I have been fighting this injustice through the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They are applying pressure without success, and tell me that it is not easy to deal with the Israeli Authorities because of many things the diplomats will never say clearly: the Israeli lobby, the holocaust, the Israeli obsession with security.

My mother is 87 years old and has had four strokes. I have not seen her for the last three years. My father died without my seeing him. I have a nightmare that my mother will also die without my seeing her.

I have a feature film to make in Jerusalem. I have applied for a grant from an Israeli organization to compete in a competition this coming March-April to make a film on Jerusalem. If I win the competition, I shall need to come soon, but my passport still says "Denial of entry.

I have done everything I can to fight against this illogical decision by the Israeli authorities to prevent people like me to coming home even for a visit, which is my case.

Bonne journйe and thanks if you can help
Norma Marcos


2. On 24 April, 2008, Italian citizen Anita Mosca (not of Palestinian descent), was denied entry at Allenby Bridge. Mosca, an actress, directress and playwright, was to meet with a delegation from Italy headed by Campanias regional Minister for Culture.

She writes:
I spent days of despair and demoralization in Amman after 24 April, due to my refusal of entry. Up till now, I am still trying to work out how to be able to return to Palestine. Before the first refusal I had worked with actors Palestinians three times. Intense relationships of friendship and work relations were born. I cannot understand what is my fault. Even though I am not Palestinian, I am living the drama of a forced exile. Please help me, I have called the Italian embassies in Amman and Tel Aviv, but they cannot tell me the reason, just that I must wait for the Israeli authorities.
I know I am asking a lot. but in the times in which we live, this attitude is too much. We can not wait indefinitely without doing anything. I ask only to go into the occupied Palestinian territories to promote cultural activities in schools and theatres.

3. Less than a week later, on 30 April, Palestinian-American filmmaker, Annemarie Jacir, traveling to the West Bank for the world premiere of her feature film "Salt of the Sea," was also denied entry at Allenby. Jacir's film, is slated for the Cannes Film Festival 2008 as an Official Selection,
The film was to be screened in al-Ama'ri refugee camp at the invitation of the French Consulate in Jerusalem, which supported production of the film, and the International Art Academy in Ramallah, which was co-sponsoring the screening. Jacir has been barred from entering the OPT for the past 9 months. As a result, shooting for one of the main scenes of the film had to be relocated to Marseilles, France. Jacir was held at Allenby Bridge for 6 hours and repeatedly interrogated before she was escorted by two of the agents out of the terminal and onto a bus back to Jordan. Jacir was informed that the Israeli Ministry of Interior had denied her entry
because "you spend too much time here."
[the undersigned]
Israeli Committee for Right of Residency

הועד הישראלי לזכות התושבות



ציפי לבני, שרת החוץ
פקס 02 530 3367

מאיר שטרית, שר הפנים
פקס 02 670 1628

יולי תמיר, שרת החינוך, התרבות והספורט
פקס 02 560 2223

השגרירים של המדינות אשר פנייה זו דנה באזרחיותיהן:
ז'אן מישל קאזה, שגריר צרפת
סנדרו דה ברנרדין, שגריר איטליה
ריצ'ארד ג'ונס, שגריר ארה"ב

שרים/ות ושגרירים נכבדים,

למרות שישראל שולטת בכניסה לשטחים הפלשתינים הכבושים, אין קריטריונים ברורים ומדויקים לפיהם ניתן לדעת למי תאושר כניסה וממי היא תימנע. לאור זאת, החלטות לגבי מתן או מניעת אישור כניסה נראות לעיתים קרובות כשרירותיות. לדוגמה, הסבר שניתן לאחרונה לבימאית סרטים אמריקאית (אן-מרי ג'זיר, עדות מספר שלוש המצורפת למכתב זה) היה שהיא "שוהה פה זמן רב מדי", ללא כל הגדרה מדויקת של מהו "זמן רב מדי".

בנוסף לאן-מרי ג'זיר, אנו מצרפים עוד שתי עדויות של נשים העובדות בתעשיית הסרטים ושנמנעה מהן כניסה לשטחים ללא הסבר ברור ומוצדק. לאף אחת מן השלוש לא ברור מדוע נאסרה כניסתה. לכולן היו תכניות לגיטימיות להתחיל או לסיים פרויקט קולנועי בשיתוף פלשתינאים או לפגוש פלשתינאים מתעשיית הסרטים. בנוסף, לאחת מהשלוש (נורמה מרכוס האורד) יש אם קשישה שאינה בקו הבריאות, כך שנוסף שיקול הומניטארי שאמור היה לפעול לזכותה. כל השלוש המשיכו בניסיונותיהן לקבל אישור כניסה, אך ללא כל הצלחה.

אם ישראל כנה בשאיפתה שתוקם מדינה פלשתינאית משגשגת לצידה, הרי שראוי שתעודד יוזמות של פרויקטים כלכליים ותרבותיים כדוגמת אלו בהן שותפות הנשים שאת עדויותיהן אני מביאים כאן, ולא שתפגע בפרויקטים מסוג זה.

אנו, חברי הוועד הישראלי לזכות התושבות ואחרים החתומים מטה, מבקשים שמדינת ישראל תאשר לאלתר את כניסתן של הנשים שעדויותיהם מובאות לעיל, ושתימנע בעתיד מאי מתן אישורי כניסה לאנשים עם סיבות לגיטימיות (שלא לומר מועילות) להיכנס לשטחים.

העדויות מצורפות כלשונן (באנגלית).

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