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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 June, 2005, 10:44 GMT 11:44 UK
Israel's Mr TV blasts occupation
Haim Yavin
Haim Yavin is Israel's top news anchorman
Israel's most respected television news presenter has condemned the occupation of Palestinian territory as "brutal" in a documentary aired on Tuesday.

Haim Yavin, known in Israel as Mr TV, has for decades avoided personal comment on the issue.

His documentary Diary of a Journey recounts Palestinian suffering at the hands of Israeli soldiers and settlers.

Settlers leaders have called for the 72-year-old broadcaster to be dismissed from state-owned Israel Television.

Mr Yavin is a founder of the state television channel and is revered in Israel.

He has spent over two years making the film during visits to the West Bank and Gaza.

He is the voice of Israel... and if he comes out with this, it means that apparently a lot of people feel the same
Tom Segev
One scene records Palestinian farmers being chased from olive groves by Jewish settlers, who accuse the Palestinians of planning violent attacks.

Commenting on long queues of Palestinians waiting at an Israeli army checkpoint, Mr Yavin says: "I cannot really do anything to relieve this misery other than document it."

Tom Segev, an Israeli author and social commentator, said Mr Yavin's reputation as a trustworthy broadcaster could influence some Israelis.

"He is Mr Israel, the voice of Israel, the soul of Israel, and if he comes out with this, it means that apparently a lot of people feel the same."

'Unacceptable'

Settlers leaders have been outraged by the broadcast.

Settlers Council representative Bentsi Lieberman has complained to the Israeli Broadcasting Authority.

"It is unacceptable that Haim Yavin will continue to anchor the news of the national station that professes to be objective."

The presenter is taking a stand at time when the Israeli government is preparing to implement its controversial plan to withdraw from Gaza.

Israel is planning to evacuate all its 21 settlements in the Gaza Strip and the troops who protect them as part of a unilateral disengagement plan.

It will maintain full control of the borders, airspace and coastline of Gaza, which is home to about 1.5m Palestinians.




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