DESPITE strong protests from Israel, Netflix has begun streaming a movie depicting the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians during the Nakba in 1948.

The narrative film Farha, directed by Jordanian director Darin J. Sallam is based on the story of a Palestinian girl locked in a dark room by her father to protect her during an assault by the Israel Defense Forces on her village.

The movie drew condemnation from Israeli politicians as it included a scene in which soldiers are shown murdering an entire Palestinian family, including a baby, Al Jazeera has reported.

Every year on May 15, Palestinians around the world mark the Nakba, or catastrophe, referring to the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948.

According to Al Jazeera, it refers to the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine as the British Mandate expired, which triggered the first Arab-Israeli war.

Israel’s Culture Minister, Chili Tropper, said the movie depicted “lies and libels,” and called its screening in a theatre in Jaffa “a disgrace”.

The country’s outgoing finance minister, Avigdor Lieberman, suggested that the state’s funding for the Al-Saraya theatre in Jaffa should be withdrawn.

Amid the backlash, Netflix Israel said it was looking into the matter, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

Commenting on Israel’s reaction to the movie, journalist Ahmed Ahmed Shihab-Eldin said the film has been winning awards for its “heartbreaking and powerful” storytelling.

“Israel has attempted to suppress censor and erase the truth about the formation of Israel as a state,” he said, adding that there haven’t been many movies on the events of the Nakba.

The film, which has been shown at several international festivals, was picked up by Netflix after it was featured at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival. The developments came a day after the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to commemorate the Nakba.

According to a press statement by the UN, a “high-level event” will be organised at the General Assembly Hall to commemorate the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Nakba on May 15.The resolution was sponsored by Egypt, Jordan, Senegal, Tunisia, Yemen and Palestine and passed by a vote of 90-30, with 47 abstentions.

Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2022

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