Anger over West Bank football advert

By Jessica Elgot, July 13, 2009
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The commercial involves a game of football across the West Bank barrier

The commercial involves a game of football across the West Bank barrier

An advert for an Israeli mobile phone company which shows soldiers playing football across the West Bank barrier has been slammed by Palestinian leaders.

The advert for Cellcom shows a ball falling on an Israeli army jeep from behind the controversial barrier in the West Bank but a match between the Israelis and unseen Palestinians ensues, including a call for reinforcements and ending with the slogan "After all, what are we all after? Just a little fun".

The advert coincided with the fifth anniversary of the World Court ruling that Israel's walls and fences in the West Bank were illegal.
Although the advert was only shown on Israeli television, many liberal Israelis have supported the Palestinian leaders call for a ban.

Ahmed Tibi, an Arab member of Israel's parliament, said he had written to Cellcom demanding it pull the “racist” ad: "The barrier separates families and prevents children from reaching schools and clinics. Yet the advertisement presents the barrier as though it were just a garden fence in Tel Aviv."

Israeli journalist Dimi Reider said the advert was a “great contender for the 'creepiest ads of all time'” and Israeli blogger Ami Kaufman said: " the most grotesque, most disturbing part of this ad is the fact that the Palestinians basically aren't seen ... They're like monsters or aliens ... This is the alienation that Israeli society feels toward the Palestinian people."

A statement from Cellcom said its "core value is communication between people" regardless of "religion, race or gender."

What do you think of the commercial? Watch it here.

Last updated: 4:05pm, July 22 2009

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