Daily Israel Report

PLO to NBC: Stop Production of Series in Eastern Jerusalem

PLO calls to halt production of a drama series to be filmed in eastern Jerusalem, says allowing it will "legitimize the occupation."
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 12/11/2013, 4:16 AM

PLO official Hanan Ashrawi
PLO official Hanan Ashrawi
Flash 90

PLO official Hanan Ashrawi on Tuesday called on the NBC network to halt production of a drama series due to be filmed in eastern Jerusalem, the Ma’an news agency reports.

The upcoming drama, “DIG”, is an action-adventure series set to be filmed entirely in Jerusalem. It was developed by the Israeli Keshet Media Group and will consist of six episodes due to be aired in 2014.

However, according to Ashrawi, "Such a production will legitimize the annexation of Jerusalem and the destruction of the authenticity and character of the occupied city.”

"Any business or organization that deals with Israel in Occupied Palestine is in flagrant breach of international law, conventions, and consensus, respectively," she claimed, according to Ma’an.

Most of the series will be filmed in the City of David national park and the project has the full support of Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, who has promised to facilitate access to the Old City and other landmarks, according to the report.

"It is evident that these efforts coincide with Israel's intensive and accelerated efforts to annex and ethnically cleanse Jerusalem. The choice to film the series in Palestinian neighborhoods in Jerusalem is designed to endorse the occupation and the bitter reality experienced by Palestinian Jerusalemites," Ashrawi claimed.

The senior PLO official called on NBC Universal Cable Entertainment and chief content officer, Jeff Wachtel, to withdraw support for the production due to legal and ethical considerations, stressing that involvement in such projects amounts to "complicity" in Israel's “illegal occupation and branding of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.”

"It is of the utmost importance that we act now to preserve Jerusalem’s Palestinian historical and cultural identity and heritage before it is too late," Ashrawi said.

Israel liberated eastern Jerusalem during the 1967 Six Day War and annexed it, a move that was not recognized by most world countries.

The Palestinian Authority, which wants to see eastern Jerusalem as part of a future Palestinian state, consistently slams Israel over what it claims are its attempts to “Judaize” the city.

The PLO often calls for boycotts of activities taking place in eastern Jerusalem. Earlier this year, for example, it called for runners and sponsors to boycott the Jerusalem Marathon, claiming involvement in it implies acceptance of Israel's “illegal annexation” of eastern Jerusalem.

Several months ago, Canada’s Foreign Minister, John Baird, met Israel’s Justice Minister Tzipi Livni in her eastern Jerusalem, sparking outrage by the PA.

Baird responded to the criticism by declaring that where he has coffee with someone is “irrelevant” to the larger discussion of Middle East peace and does not signal a shift in Canadian foreign policy.

“I’m just not interested in getting into the semantic argument about whether you have a meeting with one person on one side of the street [and] it’s OK, and you have a meeting on the other side of street and it’s not,” he said.

“We’re focused on trying to have an impact on the difficult and serious challenges, that being security for Israelis, an end to the conflict and the legitimate aspirations for a state from those in the Palestinian side,” added Baird.