'PARADISE NOW' Victims' kin protest Oscar nomination
JERUSALEM (AP) -- Families of Israelis killed in Palestinian suicide bombings have collected 32,000 signatures on a petition to kick "Paradise Now" out of Sunday's Oscar competition, saying the film glorifies terrorism.
"Paradise Now" tells the fictional story of two young mechanics from the West Bank town of Nablus sent to carry out a double suicide bombing in Tel Aviv. The film won a Golden Globe award in January and is nominated for an Oscar for best foreign film.
But relatives of teenagers killed in a bus bombing in the northern city of Haifa three years ago Sunday -- the day of the Oscars -- say the film disregards the suffering experienced by the bombers' victims, and will encourage more terrorist attacks all over the world.
Seventeen people died in that attack by the militant Hamas group, which recently won Palestinian parliamentary elections.
A Palestinian peace activist planned to deliver the signatures, which were collected on a Web site, to the Academy of Motion Pictures today, said Yossi Zur, a petition organizer. Zur's 16-year-old son, Asaf, died in the Haifa bus bombing.
Since the film began playing at the Cinematheque theater in Tel Aviv, nearly every showing has been sold out, said administrator Igal Chaim. He said it was important, though difficult, for Israelis to see the film and understand its point of view.
Director Hany Abu-Assad is an Arab born in Israel who considers himself a Palestinian. Israeli Amir Harel produced the film. Both Palestinians and Israelis acted in the movie, which was filmed in the West Bank and Israel.
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