July 2005

Maybe I should learn to be less sensitive but when director Eran Riklis arrived in Nazareth last month for the screening of his much-garlanded film “The Syrian Bride”, he got off on the wrong footing the moment he walked through the door. A handful of Nazerenes had been invited to a film studies workshop, keen to see an Israeli movie that has won universal praise, as well as more than a dozen awards, for its uplifting and supposedly non-partisan message: that we must never let go of our humanity or our dignity, even in the face of the brutalitising effects of the Middle East conflict.

The Israeli soldier who shot and killed Tom Hurndall, a 22-year-old British peace activist, in the Gaza Strip was convicted by an Israeli court of manslaughter this week. Despite more than 1,700 Palestinian civilians having been killed by the Israeli army in this intifada, few soldiers are ever brought to account. Here, journalist Jonathan Cook details an earlier incident in which the Israeli army killed a British UN worker that was covered up.