Palestinian women passing by as Israeli soldiers take position during clashes in the West Bank city of Hebron. The oppression of the Palestinians must be stopped. EPA PIC

CITIZENS International protests and condemns the banning of the film, Radiance of Resistance, by the Singapore government.

The documentary tells the story of 9-year-old Janna Ayyad and 14-year-old Ahed Tamimi, who live under military occupation in Nabi Saleh, Palestine.

The film has been screened around the world, winning the Best Documentary award at the Respect Human Rights Film Festival in Belfast, Ireland.

Ayyad has been called the youngest journalist in Palestine. Tamimi won the Handala Courage Award from Turkey when she was 13 and met then prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The film takes an intimate look at their everyday lives and their importance as the new generation of Palestinian non-violent resistance.

The reason for the ban given by Singapore’s Media Development Authority (MDA) is ridiculous and immoral.

It says the documentary “explores the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through the eyes of the two young protagonists, without a counterbalance” and “the skewed narrative of the film is inflammatory and has the potential to cause disharmony among the different races and religions in Singapore”.

The Palestinians are resisting, by peaceful means, the Israeli apartheid regime that has repeatedly violated international law, the United Nations Charter and all civilised conduct. What “counterbalance” does MDA require? Does it want equivalence between the one who stole someone’s land and the victim; between justice and injustice?

How did MDA come to its finding that the film had a “skewed narrative”, was “inflammatory”, and could cause “disharmony amongst the different races and religions in Singapore”? Can anyone believe that the story of two Palestinian teenagers resisting Israeli soldiers, armed to their teeth, can create disharmony among the Chinese, Indians and Malays living in Singapore?

MDA should stop treating Singaporeans like immature and violent children.

The Israeli embassy must have lobbied the Singaporean government to ban the film because it exposes the violence and brutality of apartheid Israel.

Singapore has close economic, military and diplomatic relations with Israel. Israeli military advisers helped developed the Singapore armed forces.

Singapore should align its foreign policy on Israel with its immediate neighbours, Indonesia and Malaysia, based on international law and the UN Charter.

It was encouraging to see Singapore among 128 countries which voted in the UN General Assembly last month to reject United States President Donald Trump’s Dec 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Singapore should work with UN and its member states to end the oppression of the Palestinians, and theft of their land and resources by the Israeli regime.

Last year, the Israeli army detained 6,742 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank, including 1,467 children, 156 women, 14 Palestinian Legislative Council members and 25 journalists.

There are 6,950 Palestinian prisoners, including 359 children, 22 journalists and 10 members of parliament, in Israeli prisons.

Israel has seized around 1,012ha of Palestinian land, destroyed 500 buildings and constructed eight Jewish settlement units last year, according to Palestine’s Land Research Centre.

We call on the Singaporean government to lift the ban on the screening of Radiance of Resistance and work for the dismantlement of the Israeli apartheid regime.

S.M. Mohamed Idris, Chairman, Citizens International, Penang

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