Gaza film wins top documentary at Paris foreign press awards
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Gaza film wins top documentary at Paris foreign press awards

Partly animated ‘Samouni Road’ tells story of a family killed by Israeli troops during 2009 fighting; Gaza short wins Spain’s Goya award, director slams ‘Zionist terror’

An image from 'Samouni Road,' a film about the 2009 Zeitoun incident in Gaza (screenshot)
An image from 'Samouni Road,' a film about the 2009 Zeitoun incident in Gaza (screenshot)

A documentary about a Palestinian family in the Gaza Strip that had many of its members killed by Israeli soldiers in an incident during the 2009 war in the territory, won best documentary at the Paris foreign press film awards late Monday.

“Samouni Road,” a partly animated film by Italian Stefano Savona, examines the so-called Zeitoun incident, which came during an Israeli ground offensive aimed at stopping Hamas rocket fire.

Savona spent nine years trying to piece together what happened when a farming community in the north of the Gaza Strip was razed by Israeli special forces, killing 29 civilians mostly huddled together in one house.

Last year the film earned stellar reviews at the Cannes Film Festival.

Savona has said his film is not “reportage or propaganda” but an examination of “the pain and resilience of these people” trying to rebuild their lives.

On Saturday at Spain’s national Goya Awards, another film, “Gaza,” won best short documentary.

The 18-minute movies reflects on the hardships of Palestinians living in the coastal enclave and depicts destruction in the Strip following the 2014 Hamas-Israel war. It largely serves as an indictment of Israeli actions and policies.

After winning the prize, director Julio Perez del Campo dedicated it to “those taken by Zionist terrorism” and called for resistance against “Israeli apartheid” and a boycott of the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv.

Since Israel evacuated its settlements from Gaza in 2005, and Hamas seized control in 2007, Hamas and the IDF have fought three devastating wars, in 2008-2009, 2012 and 2014. Hamas, an Islamist terror group, avowedly seeks to destroy Israel. While Israel has stressed it seeks only to target terrorists and armed groups, many hundreds of civilians have been killed as well.

Palestinians have repeatedly accused Israel of war crimes, while Jerusalem has said its forces do their best to avoid harm to civilians while defending Israeli communities, which have seen thousands of rockets fired at them since the 2005 Disengagement from Gaza.

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