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Acclaimed animator tackles Gaza

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Extract of Yoni Goodman's Closed Zone

One of the creators of Oscar-nominated animation Waltz With Bashir has made a short film to alter Israeli perceptions of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

A 90-second film Closed Zone has been launched online in support of the human rights group Gisha, which advocates freedom of movement for Palestinians.

It shows a Palestinian boy chasing a bird but having his path blocked.

About 1.5 million Palestinians live in Gaza, which has been under a tight Israeli blockade since July 2007.

I hope that when people watch the short, they will be able to detach themselves from their automatic associations of good and evil
Yoni Goodman
Yoni Goodman was animation director of the critically acclaimed and award winning Waltz With Bashir which explores the memories of a veteran of Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon.

Goodman says the central character in Closed Zone was conceived as a human figure to whom everyone can relate.

"I hope that when people watch the short, they will be able to detach themselves from their automatic associations of good and evil," he added.

Work on the film began before the start of Israel's recent military offensive in Gaza, in which about 1,300 Palestinians died including more than 400 children, but the violence has given the film added impact.

"The unusual choice of animation as a medium is intended to help viewers understand who the real victims of the closure policy are - 1.5 million people who just want to live their lives," said Gisha Director Sari Bashi.

Gaza's closed borders are a major issue in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and proposals to reconstruct Gaza.

Palestinians and international aid groups say the blockade must be lifted to allow in much-needed supplies.

Israeli officials frequently defend the military blockade of Gaza, saying it is necessary to prevent arms flowing to the militant Hamas movement which leads a breakaway Palestinian administration there.

Closed Zone has been released on the website www.closedzone.com and on the video sharing website YouTube.

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