Sunday 8 March 2009

Closed Zone

One of the creators of the successful Israeli movie Waltz with Bashir has produced a new animated film to highlight the continued blockade of the Gaza Strip and its 1.5 million Palestinian residents.

Yoni Goodman, who was director of animation for the Golden Globe-winning movie, said he was motivated to take part in the project by the recent war in Gaza. His 90-second animation, Closed Zone, follows a young boy chasing a bird through the Gaza Strip who finds his way out blocked at every turn.

The film was produced for a leading Israeli human rights group, Gisha, which has long campaigned against the blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Since Israel withdrew its soldiers and settlers from Gaza in mid-2005 the territory has come under increasing Israeli pressure. Israel has declared the overcrowded strip of land a "hostile entity" and for more than a year and a half it has prevented all imports, save for a limited list of humanitarian goods, and banned all exports.

At the same time, Egypt has kept its Rafah crossing largely closed. The result has been a collapse of private industry in Gaza, a deep economic crisis and mounting poverty levels.

The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, has described it as "collective punishment".

Israel has argued that the blockade should stay in place until militants stop firing rockets into southern Israel and has recently also said the crossings will not be reopened until Hamas releases Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier captured near Gaza nearly three years ago.

Sari Bashi, director of Gisha, said the point of the video was for people to understand the "humanity of the residents of Gaza.

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