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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 March 2006, 10:23 GMT
Israeli families in Oscar appeal
Paradise Now
Paradise Now has been a hit on the international film festival circuit
Israeli parents whose children were killed by Palestinian suicide bombers have called on Oscar organisers to disqualify film nominee Paradise Now.

The Palestinian-produced drama is nominated in the best foreign language film category.

It follows two friends who volunteer to blow themselves up in Tel Aviv.

But a group of Israeli bereaved parents say more than 32,000 people have signed a petition against the nomination. This year's Oscars take place on Sunday.

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has declined to comment on the petition. Voting for the Oscars closed on Tuesday.

(L to R) Ali Suleiman, Hanny Abu-Assad, Lubna Azabal and Qais Nashef

The signatures were collected by the relatives of teenagers killed in a bus bombing in the northern city of Haifa three years ago, in which 17 people were killed.

They believe the film disregards the suffering experienced by the bombers' victims, and will encourage more attacks.

Paradise Now, directed by Hany Abu-Assad, has already won the Golden Globe award for best foreign film. He used the talents of little-known Palestinian actors to make the film.

Abu-Assad has said the prize was recognition "that the Palestinians deserve their liberty and equality".

But petition organiser Yossi Zur, whose teenage son Asaf was killed in the Haifa bus bomb, said: "What they call 'Paradise Now' we call 'hell now', each and every day.

Oscars disagreement

"It is a mission of the free world not to give such movies a prize."

A Palestinian peace activist will deliver the petition to the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences on Friday.

The film also prompted some Jewish groups in the US to lobby the academy to not describe the film as coming from "Palestine".

Some Israeli officials and Jewish groups have said that it does not formally exist as a state, so "the Palestinian Authority" would be a more accurate title.

Paradise Now was categorised as being from "the Palestinian Authority" when the Oscar nominations were announced on 31 January, but is listed as from "Palestine" on the academy's official website.

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