UNITED NATIONS (Aug. 29)
The controversial United Nations-produced film on the Palestine Liberation Organization, “The Palestinians Do Have Human Rights, “was screened here last night for reporters and diplomats and the reaction by both Arabs and Israelis was less than enthusiastic.
“It is a one-sided film which distorts the basic facts of the Arab-Israeli conflict,” said Nachman Shai, the Israeli spokesman at the UN. “The film,” he continued, “tries very hard to appear objective and even-handed, but everybody who is familiar with the facts can tell it is only a PLO propaganda piece.”
Lebanese Ambassador Ghassam Tueni found the film “disappointing.” He said the film failed to underline that the Palestinian problem started with the beginning of Zionism and not with the creation of the State of Israel. Hassan Abdel Rahman, of the PLO, simply described the film as “bland.”
The 55-minute, $80,000 film was produced at the request of the 23-member Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People — a committee which Israel charges supported the PLO plan to destroy Israel in stages. The film was completed last year but at the last moment the PLO and its supporters expressed displeasure with the final product as not being “pro-Palestinian” enough: Israel also requested, and was granted, the deletion of a part showing Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan addressing the General Assembly.
ISRAEL BLAMED FOR PLIGHT
The present version of the film depicts the plight of the Palestinian people as being the result of Israel’s aggression and continuing policy of expansion. In an attempt at objectivity, the film admits the PLO resorted to acts of violence and terrorism. Yasir Arafat, the PLO leader, in an interview during the film, asserts, however that “we are against violence” and that the violence of his organization should be examined as one aspect of the whole conflict.
Throughout the film, the narrator and various PLO spokesmen say that as long as the Palestinians are not treated as humans — namely, granted statehood — they cannot be expected to follow standard behavior.
The film will be distributed soon to more than 120 libraries around the world. According to sources here, the UN will also offer the film for commercial use, including major U.S. TV stations.