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Palestinian Oscar nominee briefly detained in Los Angeles
Published Thursday 21/02/2013 (updated) 14/03/2013 17:03
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Guy Davidi (L) and Emad Burnat arrive at Oscar Celebrates: Docs at the
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills, California,
Feb. 20. (Reuters/Jonathan Alcorn)

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian Oscar nominee who was briefly detained and threatened with deportation in Los Angeles says the experience is a "daily occurrence" for Palestinians in the West Bank.

Emad Burnat, whose "5 Broken Cameras" is competing for an Oscar in the Best Documentary Feature category, said US immigration officials took him, his wife and 8-year-old son aside when they arrived in Los Angeles International Airport from Turkey on Tuesday evening.

"Immigration officials asked for proof that I was nominated for an Academy Award ... and they told me that if I couldn't prove the reason for my visit, my wife Soraya, my son Gibreel and I would be sent back to Turkey on the same day," Burnat said in a statement.

"Although this was an unpleasant experience, this is a daily occurrence for Palestinians, every single day, throughout the West Bank. There are more than 500 Israeli checkpoints, roadblocks, and other barriers to movement across our land, and not a single one of us has been spared the experience that my family and I experienced yesterday," he added.

"Ours was a very minor example of what my people face every day."

Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, said in a series of Twitter messages that he stepped in to help resolve the situation.

"Although he (Burnat) produced the Oscar invite nominees receive, that wasn't good enough & he was threatened with being sent back to Palestine. ... Apparently the Immigration & Customs officers couldn't understand how a Palestinian could be an Oscar nominee. Emad texted me for help ... I called Academy officials who called lawyers. I told Emad to give the officers my phone # and to say my name a couple of times," Moore tweeted on Tuesday evening.

Burnat said he and his family were detained for about an hour.

US officials declined to comment on the incident, citing privacy laws.

"Travelers may be referred for further inspection for a variety of reasons to include identity verification, intent of travel, and confirmation of admissibility," US Customs and Border Protection said in a statement. "The United States has been, and continues to be, a welcoming nation."

Burnat, a farmer, is the amateur filmmaker behind "5 Broken Cameras," which documents about five years of protests against land seizures by Israeli forces and Jewish settlers in his village of Bilin in the occupied West Bank. It was co-directed by Israeli activist and filmmaker Guy Davidi.

It is the first Palestinian film to be nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the Oscars, according to representatives for the film.

"5 Broken Cameras" is one of five films nominated for an Oscar in the documentary category. One of its competitors is Israeli film "The Gatekeepers," which looks at the decades-old Middle East conflict through the eyes of six top former Israeli intelligence bosses.

The Oscars, the highest awards in the movie industry, will be presented on Sunday in Hollywood.
21/02/2013 10:52

2 ) xavier / sidon
21/02/2013 11:53
viva iyad

3 ) samir / haifa
21/02/2013 11:56
his brother even

4 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
21/02/2013 12:21
Palestinians are not so special. The US immigration officers are nasty to everybody. They seem to be trained to be rude, use offensive language and treat any non-American as a criminal (israelis included). The U.S. is NOT a "welcoming nation" - most of us foreigners know that. While all nations must protect themselves against Islamic terrorists (since they constitute the vast majority of organized terror), harassing innocent people is just that - harassment, and America is the leader.

5 ) shirleyS / Australia
21/02/2013 12:45
typical US racist hypocrisy against MUSLIMS and more apt Palestinians cant stand for the truth to be out and humiliate the dictator OBOMBER who is running apolice state and does not back the STATE OF PALKESTINE does not never did was the isreali quetioned asked to prove he was aoscar nomminee and even if this palestine family not oscar nominee why single out shame on US who want to humiliate well known this man nominated

6 ) Zainab / UK
21/02/2013 13:10
...."Although this was an unpleasant experience, this is a daily occurrence for Palestinians, every single day, throughout the West Bank" - This incident has brought to the world stage, the constant discrimination the Palestinan people face. However, it also shows how much solidarity there is with Palestine. May Allah (God) bless Emad Burnat, his family, the people of Palestine, Guy Davidi, Michael Moore & the AMPAS who have all contributed to a Palestinian film being Oscar nominated. Be proud!!

7 ) Mel / USA
21/02/2013 16:23
'Welcome' to USA! ShameFUL & IGNORANT of our USA,which once claimed 2B the greatest democracy& protector of all underdogs,victims,"tired","huddled masses"fleeing persecution,bigotry,racism&promising"Equal Justice Under Law"yet proving that its DEEDS nullify its WORDS,since USG began protecting the 1st recognized"terrorists"(1937)of modern history Holy Land,i.e.the ZIONIST Irgun,Stern,Likud bus&market bombers,"bone-breakers"who started the terrorist-'ball'rolling,YET ARE WELCOMED AS'CELEBRITIES'!

8 ) Mel / USA
21/02/2013 19:22
& p.s.WHY should anyone EXCUSE criminal Zionism,arrogant,brutal Israel,or our USG,for blind PATRONAGE of Zionist Israel,after what's it's DONE to wonderful,LIFE-LOVING,brave Palestinians,from 1935-TODAY?This film should also enrage our USG-if they haveHEART&SOUL!Made in 2012!http://rt.com/shows/documentary/good-garbage-israel-palestina/
Israel,don't expect us 2 DEFEND YOUR CRIMES?Coz Zionism is BAD"Garbage"!Bravo RT for airing it 2 USA!

9 ) Geert Wilders / Holland
21/02/2013 22:12
If you have seen '5 broken cameras' you will know the meaning of occupation and terrorism.

10 ) Robert / US
22/02/2013 00:45
@ #4 Brian I wonder where they learned it from ?.
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