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Quit drama series in Jerusalem, PLO’s Ashrawi asks NBC

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Palestinian leader asked the NBC television network to pull out of filming a drama series in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, called for a halt to production of “Dig,” which is set to be filmed in the City of David national park located in the Silwan neighborhood of eastern Jerusalem, and in other areas of the Old City.

“Such a production will legitimize the annexation of Jerusalem and the destruction of the authenticity and character of the occupied city,” Ashrawi told the Ma’an Palestinian news agency.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat worked actively to bring the project to Jerusalem.

“It is evident that these efforts coincide with Israel’s intensive and accelerated efforts to annex and ethnically cleanse Jerusalem,” Ashrawi said, according to Ma’an. “The choice to film the series in Palestinian neighborhoods in Jerusalem is designed to endorse the occupation and the bitter reality experienced by Palestinian Jerusalemites.”

The series will be produced by Gideon Raff, screenwriter of the Israeli series “Hatufim,” which is aired in the United States as “Homeland” and co-written by “Heroes” writer Tim Kring, a co-creator of “Homeland.”

“Dig” deals with an American FBI agent stationed in Jerusalem who uncovers a conspiracy while investigating the murder of an American archaeologist. It is scheduled to be aired on the USA Network, an NBC subsidiary, at the end of next year.

Silwan has been a flashpoint in Israeli-Palestinian relations in Jerusalem, where 400 Jews live among 31,000 Palestinians.

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