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The Guardian JULY 30, 2014 - by Ben Beaumont-Thomas
CRUZ, BARDEM AND ALMODOÓVAR DENOUNCE ISRAEL OVER GAZA
In an open letter, some of Spain's biggest film personalities call on EU to condemn Israel's military actions against Gaza.
A group of Spain's biggest film personalities, including Penélope Cruz, Pedro Almodóvar and Javier Bardem, have written an open letter in a Spanish newspaper denouncing Israel's bombing of Gaza.
The letter calls for the EU to "condemn the bombing by land, sea and air against the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip... Gaza is living through horror these days, besieged and attacked by land, sea and air. Palestinians' homes are being destroyed, they are being denied water, electricity [and] free movement to their hospitals, schools and fields while the international community does nothing."
They lamented the "physical, moral, psychological" effect that the attacks are having on the people of Gaza, and also called for an end to the Israeli blockade that restricts what can be taken across the Gaza border.
It's one of the most strident messages from any global cultural figure regarding the current conflict. During the Jerusalem film festival, a group of Israeli film-makers recently wrote a statement that was actually less partisan than the Spanish collective, saying: "A dialogue must be established, an acknowledgment of the suffering of the other. Today, we want to direct those cameras to the suffering of Gaza residents, men, women and children killed during the last few days."
Javier Bardem, who is married to Cruz, has been outspoken elsewhere in the Spanish media about the conflict. In an op-ed for the newspaper El Diario, he characterised the war as one of "occupation and extermination against a people without means, confined to a minimum of land, without water and where hospitals, ambulances and children are targets and alleged terrorists... In the horror happening right now in Gaza there is no place for distance or neutrality... I cannot understand this barbarism, even more brutal and incomprehensible considering all of the horrible things the Jewish people have gone through in the past."
Aside from the various (often hastily deleted) #FreePalestine tweets from cultural figures, a group including Ken Loach, Mike Leigh, Aki Kaurismäki, John Berger, Brian Eno, Roger Waters, Liz Lochhead, Michael Ondaatje and Caryl Churchill recently joined lawyers, politicians and others in calling for "a comprehensive and legally binding military embargo on Israel, similar to that imposed on South Africa during apartheid."