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The Daily Star | August 2, 2006

Greece pulls out of Israeli film festival

ATHENS: Greece's governing body for film has decided to pull out of Israel's autumn Haifa film festival in protest over the Lebanon crisis, a representative said on Tuesday. "We're going to be pulling out at least two films, there may have been more but our full movie list had not been finalized," a Greek film center (EKK) spokesperson said.

In a written statement, the state-run EKK said it was pulling out of the October festival because "under the current circumstances of raw violence from all involved parties, this particular cultural event has lost its meaning."

"Artists cannot remain inactive in the face of such distressing developments," the statement said.

The ongoing violence in Lebanon has caused widespread indignation in Greece, with media coverage predominantly targeting Israel for launching air attacks that have caused heavy civilian casualties.

Hundreds of people have participated in weekly demonstrations organized by left-wing groups and unions in Greeces two main cities, Athens and Salonika, to demand an immediate halt to the hostilities.

Greece has evacuated more than 2,000 people from Lebanon, including some 500 Greeks, and sent at least 22 tons of medical and humanitarian aid to the country.

Dozens of refugees have been given shelter by relief agencies at hotels at Athens main port of Piraeus.

Greek officials have sharpened criticism against Israel this week, urging an immediate cease-fire.

"Greeks, in shock, are watching this undeclared war in Lebanon ... Every child and civilian killed, and every new refugee is a weight on the conscience of the international community," President Karolos Papoulias said last week.

Posted on 02-08-2006

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