As Israel’s war continues to rage in the Gaza Strip, displacing more than a million and killing 27,000, pro-Palestine protests around the world have waned.
In a corner of Paris, however, a cinema keeps the conversation alive. Espace Saint-Michel, in the heart of the French capital, has a history of showing films that some might call “leftist”.
It is here that French filmmaker Roland Nurier’s documentary Yallah Gaza is screening.
Its first airing in France was scheduled for 4 October in Lyon, just three days before Hamas attacked southern Israel.
Many wondered whether it would be allowed to screen at all, given the unprecedented levels of support for Israel’s right to self-defence in European capitals, where governments label the Hamas attack as terrorism. Only Turkey seems to dissent.
Concerns that the documentary might be banned emerged against a backdrop of rising antisemitism and anti-Jewish sentiment, the former prohibited by law in some countries.
Supporters of Palestinian rights fear that this could extend to an outright denial of anything that opposed Israeli aggression.
History of support
Nurier has long been a staunch defender of the Palestinian cause and was welcomed into the Espace Saint-Michel for his latest film.
In 2019, he made another, titled The Tank and the Olive Tree, following his tour of the occupied West Bank, Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip from 2014-17.
Since Nurier was barred from entering Gaza, the filming of Yallah Gaza ('Now Gaza') was delegated to Palestinian director Iyad Alasttal.